Winged visitors

Streaked Weaver (P. MANYAR)

Widely distributed, but more a bird of reed beds or tall, rank vegetation in swampy ground. The nest is swampy ground. The nest is differently constructed, as instead of being supported from one point on a bough, the top is attached to many plant stems with arch over, and give a more bunched and untidy appearance. Breeding takes place during the rains, as it does with all weavers. The length of the streaked weaver is 14cm.

Tawny Eagle (AQUILA RAPAX)

The drier plains of northern and central India are the home of this common and heavily- built eagle. Usually seen perched in a bush or tree, it is a fine flier, soaring round in wide circles. Although often feeding on carrion, it readily kills small mammals and birds, and robs other birds of prey. Closely related is the Steppe Eagle, A. nipalensis, a winter visitor to the Himalayas and northern India, often seen in the immature plumage shown. The length of the tawny eagle is 70cm.

Common Myna (A. TRISTIS)

Perhaps the most widely known and abundant bird throughout the area, and especially familiar as it is so closely associated with the man, whether in remote hill - villages, or in large towns. It has characteristics in common with the House Sparrow such as adaptability, opportunism and a lack of specialisation which enable it to be highly successful. Often seen hopping or running about on lawns or paths, the big white wing patches are suddenly prominent as it flies off. The untidy nest may be placed in any hole or ledge an masonry or trees, up to three broods being raised. The myna is 22cm in length.

Golden Oriole (O. ORIOLUS)

A common bird in Kashmir, it also breeds across northern India, wintering in the south and Sri Lanka. A somewhat active and restless bird, though when hunting through the foliage of large trees it is inconspicuous. However, it has a lovely fluty whistle which betrays its presence. The bird has a length of 25cm.


The familiar and cheeky town dweller needs little introduction, being a common parasite on man throughout the area. It roosts commonly in noisy chattering flocks in thick bushes or trees, and the untidy, shapeless nest is very often placed in a building. The large flocks which sometime gather to raid crops or fruit can do considerable damage, and despite their familiarity with man, sparrows are always very wary and alert. The length of the house sparrow is 15cm.

Grey - Headed Flycatcher- Warbler (SEICERCUS XANTHOSCHISTOS)

Common in woodland and gardens in the Himalayas. It hunts actively through the foliage, now and then fluttering out after an insect, or hovering to pick at a leaf. Often a member of mixed hunting parties. This warbler is 11cm in length.

White-Browed Fantail (RHIPIDURA AUREOLA)

Fantails are a delight to watch as they flit and posture restlessly in the undergrowth, flitting the tail, and chasing the flies, or pirouetting up a tree trunk. Widespread in scrub and woodland, this Fantail is 16cm in length.

Golden- Backed Woodpecker (DINOPIUM BENGHALENSE)

Perhaps the commonest of the woodpeckers, it occurs throughout the area including in countries like, Sri Lanka, where the local race has a scarlet rather than gold back. not unduly shy, it may be watched as it hitches up a tree-trunk, tapping here and there for grubs, or calling with a loud cackle to its mate a few trees away. Sometimes flies down to the ground to rummage about for ants, on which it often feeds. Found in most types of wooded country. The length of the golden - backed woodpecker is 27cm.

Indian Eagle- Owl (BUBO BUBO)

A powerful and impressive bird, frequenting rocky, broken country with ravines, scrub, groves and light woodland. Not in Sri Lanka, but widespread elsewhere, being more common in north. It may sometimes be seen in day-time, when, it is liable to be mobbed by other birds. Best known for its deep, sonorous double hoot. The length of the Indian eagle owl is 60cm.


A familiar scavenger by harbours, rivers, lakes or jheels, it is very widely distributed in southern Asia. Although not such an adroit flier as the long-tailed Pariah Kite, it can nevertheless snatch fish from the surface of the water, and catch large insects in flight. The brahminy Kite has a length of 48cm.


As it feeds on the ground- often around houses or on cultivated areas- and is tame, it is a familiar bird. The long, curved bill is used for probing in dung-heaps or in the turf for beetles and grubs; the crest is usually only erected when the bird is uneasy, or on alighting. It takes its name from the distinctive hollow, hooting call, and is widely distributed in open or cultivated country. The hoopoe is 30cm in length.

Green Barbet (M. ZEYLANICA)

Very common throughout the lowlands, its loud two-note call echoes the countryside. It is found in all well-timbered areas, gardens or avenues n towns, and like other barbets hack its nest-hole out of a tree, often in decaying wood. The bill is even more powerful chisel than that of a woodpecker. Green Barbet has a length of 25cm.


More of a thick woodland and jungle dweller than the Spotted Owlet, it occurs from the Himalayas south to Sri Lanka, though not in the north-west. The length of the Jungle Owlet is 20cm.


A plain bird, found throughout most of the area except Sri Lanka, the north-east and Bangladesh, in open, often dry country with scattered bushes and trees. Hops about under hedges in parties, and has a laboured flight. The Common Babbler is 23cm in length.

Magpie-Robin (C. SAULARIS)

A common resident, widely distributed in hills and plains except in parts of Pakistan. Its favourite habitat of light woodland renders it a familiar garden bird, where it is the more welcome as it is a fine songster. The long tail is often held cocked up as it hops about on the ground, where it feeds on insects and beetles. The Magpie Robin has a length of 20cm.

White-Breasted Kingfisher (HALCYON SMYRNENSIS)

Found throughout the area, this conspicuous bird of open forest, marshes, cultivation or gardens feeds on frogs, lizards, beetles or other small animals, and watches for these from a perch on a post or dead tree. Its loud, cackling scream is often uttered from a tree-top. Nest is a hole in a dry earth bank. The Kingfisher is 27cm in length.


Also known as the Crow-Pheasant, this is a heavily-built and un-graceful bird, and frequents tangled undergrowth or rank grassy areas and scrub, often near water and is found throughout the area. Creeping or clambering through the vegetation, it is often mistaken for a gamebird, but has a distinctive hollow or booming note. It feeds on small animals or snakes, and is very destructive to baby birds and eggs. Unlike most of its relatives it builds its own nest- a domed affair of twigs, grasses or vines, well concealed in thick herbage. Coucals are unique in the cuckoo family in having a long straight claw on the hind toe. The coucal is 47cm in length.


Common throughout the area, on short grass, cultivated or fallow land. Generally in pairs or small parties, it runs quickly over the grass to snap at a small moth or beetle, then stretches upright to survey the surroundings. Has a thin, double call-note. The length of the Indian Pipit is 15cm.

Blue-Throated Barbet (M. ASIATICA)

A common bird of wooded country in the Himalayas, N.E. India and Bangladesh. It has a distinctive rolling three-note call, very familiar around hill villages, although the bird itself often remains concealed near the top of a tree. While individual birds constantly reply to each other's calls, barbets seem to be rather solitary, except when gathering at a fruiting tree, when they have to share the feast with several other species. Blue- Throated Barbet is 22cm.

White-Backed Munia (L. STRIATA)

Found in the Himalayan foothills south to Bangladesh and N.E. India, and in Peninsular India and Sri Lanka. It is common in grassy areas in open forest. Usually seen in small flocks which feed on grass seeds on the ground, or perch amongst the flowering and fruiting panicles. They rise and fly off in typical straggling fashion when disturbed, to settle further away, each birds rising and falling in flight somewhat so that the flock seems to undulate. The bird is 10cm in length.

Common Kingfisher (ALCEDO ATTHIS)

Perhaps less shy than its larger relatives, this kingfisher id found throughout the area. It is often to be seen perched on a stick or branch overlooking a ditch or pool, watching intently for fish. It nests in a tunnel by the waterside.

Rose-Ringed Parakeet (PSITTACULA KRAMERI)

The most abundant and well-known of its family, the parakeet is to be found throughout the area in light woodland, parks, gardens and cultivated areas. It is a pest of some importance, as the noisy flocks do much damage to crops and fruit. Although beautifully adapted for climbing about in trees, with two toes pointing forwards and two behind, they sometimes visit the ground, sidling about with a rolling gait and their short legs. The nest is placed in a hole in a tree, those with small entrances being suitably enlarged, or sometimes in cracks or holes in masonry. These and other parakeets are favourite cagebirds, but are not especially good at learning to speak, this bird is 40cm in length.

Black Drongo (D. ADSIMILIS)

A familiar, aggressive and active bird of open country of forest-edge. Often seen as it perches alertly on a post, ready to swoop out after an insect. it is a masterly flier when pursuing its prey or chasing off an intruder. Found throughout the area, the Black Drongo is 30cm in length.

Red-Whiskered Bulbul (P. JOCOSUS)

Absent from Sri Lanka, and most North-West India and Pakistan, except around Udaipur, but where it does occur it is a very familiar and abundant species. It frequents scrub, woodland and cultivation or gardens around villages, and has even more pleasant and varied vocabulary than most of its relatives. it likes to sing in full view on the top of a bush, Then flies off to the next song-post with a strong but rather uneven flight. It is confiding bird, and is often kept as a pet. This bird is 20cm in length.

Streaked Fantail Warbler (CISTICOLA JUNCIDIS)

Occurs in rich grasslands, waterside herbage or crops throughout the area. Notable for its song-flight, when it circles overhead with undulating flight, making a sharp note. This bird is 10cm in length.

Large Pied Wagtail (M. MADERASPATENSIS)

Resident throughout the area in well-watered countryside; absent in Sri Lanka. It is more partial to the actual water-side- by a pond or stream-than other wagtails, which are content with marshy fields. Nests in a crevice or a hole by a riverbank or bridge. This bird is 21cm in length.


Like most of the cuckoo family, it is more often heard than seen, the fluty double call being a feature of leafy gardens, groves and woodland, especially in the hot weather. Usually lurks in dense foliage and shrubberies, but when seen in flight the long wings and tail, and quick wing-beats give it a hawk-like appearance. It is parasitic on House and Jungle Crows, and is found throughout the area except in the higher hills. The Koel is 42cm in length.

Yellow-Wattled Lapwing (V. MALABARICUS)

The lapwing has a more restricted range, being confined to northern and peninsular India and Sri Lanka. It prefers drier country, such as stubble fields and waste ground, and is a quieter and less neurotic bird, with a softer double call-note. the Yellow-Wattled is 15cm in length

. Grey-Headed Flycatcher (CULICICAPA CEYLONENSIS)

Abundant and widespread in wood-land, breeding in the hills, the length of the Grey-Headed Flycatcher is 12cm.

House Crow (C. SPLENDENS)

Highly gregarious and abundant, it is, with the Common Myna, the most familiar bird in India. It ranges throughout the area, but is almost totally dependent on man's presence, and is to be found by the most remote village as regularly as it swarms around towns. It is, like the sparrow, bold and confiding, but also wary at the same time, ever ready to snatch a morsel of food, or flap quickly off at a hint of danger. The large stick nest is placed in a tree, and House Crows are frequently parasitized by Koels. The length of the Crow is 50cm.


A common bird of gardens or scrub-jungle throughout the area. Owes its name to its remarkable habit of stitching leaves together to form a support for the nest. Has a chipping note. The length of Tailorbird is 13cm.


These little birds are difficult to see s they clamber about the branches of a fruiting or flowering tree, although the squeaky triple whistle is, when learnt, a sure guide to their presence. They are sociable birds, gathering in small flocks to feed in a suitably attractive tree, following one another with quick, dipping flight across the clearings. They have the curious habit of roosting upside-down, hanging from a branch by the feet. They are found in the Himalayas from Nepal eastwards, and in W and E peninsular India through to Assam, in forests or woodland in the plains and foothills. A related species lives in Sri Lanka.

. Blue Rock Pigeon (COLUMBA LIVIA)

Abundant around cities and towns throughout the area, there are still wild populations of this pigeon, which live around ruins or cliffs, feeding in nearby fields. The rich throaty coo, and struggling, neck-swelling display of the cock are well known to all. The length of the pigeon is 32cm.


The true finches are passerine birds in the family of Fringillidae. They are predominantly seed-eating songbirds. Most are native to the Northern Hemisphere, but one subfamily is endemic to the Neotropics, one to the Hawaiian Islands, and one sub family - monotypic at genus level- is found only in the Palaearctic. The scientific name Fringillidae comes from the Latin word fringilla for the Common Chaffinch (Fringilla Coelebs) - a member of that last sub-family which is common in Europe.


The budgerigar (Melopsittacus undulatus), also known as common pet parakeet and informally nicknamed the budgie, is a small, long-tailed, seed-eating parrot. Budgerigars are the only species in the Australian genus Melopsittacus, and are wild throughout the drier parts of Australia, where the species has survived harsh inland conditions for the last five million years. Budgerigars are naturally green and yellow with black. Budgerigars are popular pets around the world. The species was first recorded in 1805, and today is the third most popular pet in the world, after the domesticated dog and cat.


Quail is a collective name for several genera of mid-sized birds generally considered in the order Galliformes. The King Quail, one of the Old World Quail, is often sold in the pet trade; and within this trade, is commonly though mistakenly referred to as "button quail". Many of the common larger species are farm-raised for table food or egg consumption, and are hunted on game farms or in the wild, where they may be released to supplement the wild population, or extend into areas outside their natural range.


Pigeon and doves constitute the bird clade Columbidae, that includes about 310 species. They are stout-bodied birds with short-necks, and have short, slender bills with fleshy ceres. Doves feed on seeds, fruits and plants. This family occurs worldwide, but the greatest variety is in the Indomalaya and Australasia ecozones. In general the terms, "Doves" and "Pigeons" are used somewhat interchangeably. Pigeon derives from the Latin pipio, for "peeping" chick, while dove is a Germanic word that refers to the bird's diving flight. In omithological practice, "dove" tends to be used for small species and "pigeon" for larger ones, but this is no way consistently applied, and historically, the common names for these birds involve great deal of variation between the terms.

Guinea fowl

The guinea fowl are a family of birds in the Galliformes order, although some authorities include the guinea fowl as a subfamily, Numidinae, of the family, Phasianidae. The guinea fowl are native to Africa, but the Helmeted Guinea fowl has been domesticated, and both ferel and wild-type birds have been Guinea fowl. They are medium sized birds originally from Guinea on the west African Coast. They have a slightly dry flesh and a subtle game flavour that is similar to that of partridge.


Turkeys are birds classified in the gamebird order with fan-shaped tails and wattled necks. The modern domesticated turkey was developed from the Wild Turkey. The wild turkey prefers woodlands near water. It eats seeds, insects and an occasionally frog or lizard. When alarmed it may run rapidly to cover, but it can fly strongly only for short distances (about 0.4 km, or 0.2 mile). Formerly diminished under hunting pressure. In courtship display the male spreads his tail, droops his wings and shakes the quills audibly, retracts his head, struts about, and utters rapid gobbling sounds. He assembles a harem, and each hen lays 8-10 brownish.