The Blue Whistling Thrush Pictures and Detail (Myophonus caeruleus)

Blue Whistling Thrush,
Blue Whistling Thrush

The Blue Whistling Thrush Pictures and Detail (Myophonus caeruleus)

When I captured the above pic of Blue Whistling thrush at that time, I had no idea about this bird. From a distance, this bird looks like small crow and you hardly notice small white dots. However, when I saw this picture on my computer then it becomes clear that it is a different bird. 

After some research, I came to know that it is called Blue Whistling Thrush which is a Himalayan and Asian Bird. This bird is found in a big geographical location from Afghanistan to Vietnam. This is a mountain bird because mostly found near the mountains. I captured these pictures in a village near Baijnath in Himachal Pradesh. 

Blue Whistling Thrush
Blue Whistling Thrush
In the above two pictures, you can see some insect in the beak of Blue Whistling Thrush. These birds feed on insects, fruits, nuts, snails and crabs. 

Blue Whistling Thrush got its name because of its dark blue color and its ability to whistle like humans. The scientific name of this bird is Myophonus caeruleus. In different locations, we can find some change it is color and size. We can also find many subspecies of this bird. 

Blue Whistling Thrush, Back
Blue Whistling Thrush 

The best way to identify this bird is to spot white dots on the upper part of the body. This bird is found either alone or in pairs; though, I spotted it alone most of the times. 

I found this bird very hard working because I always found in looking for food except in one case where I found him sitting on a tree branch in the above picture. 

Blue Whistling Thrush, Nut, Beak
Blue Whistling Thrush with Nut in Beak
In the above picture, you can see a Blue Whistling Thrush with a nut in his beak. 

Both the sexes of Blue Whistling Thrush are alike, though males are slightly bigger in size. They show altitudinal migration and move up hills in summers and descend down in winters. 

Blue Whistling Thrush
Blue Whistling Thrush
I enjoyed taking pictures of Blue Whistling Thrush; however, it is shy birds and it becomes difficult to find it. On my next visit to Himachal Pradesh, I hope to get more of his pictures. 

All pics by Arvind Katoch

The Grey (Himalayan) Treepie Pictures and Detail (Dendrocitta formosae)

Grey Treepie, Himalayan Treepie
The Grey (Himalayan) Treepie

The Grey (Himalayan) Treepie Pictures and Detail (Dendrocitta formosae)

This is second Treepie whom I captured through my camera. Earlier it was Rufous Treepiea Specie of Treepie from the plains. In India, we can find many geographically different regions; therefore, we see differences in birds too.

The Himalayan ranges cross through the Northern and Eastern part of India; therefore, we find here many Himalayan birds. Grey Treepie is one of such bird which is also known as Himalayan Treepie. Unlike Rufous Treepie, these birds don't have a melodious voice and they look silent in nature.

Grey Treepie, Back
Grey Treepie from Back

Like Rufous Treepie, Grey Treepie is also a bird of the crow family. These birds are found in the all geographical areas from foothills to higher peaks of Himalaya. Grey Treepie is basically an Asian Treepie.

These birds are found from Northern India to Taiwan, including countries like China, Nepal, Myanmar.  There are also some subspecies of Grey Treepie and we can find slight variations in its size and color from place to place.

Grey Treepie, Top
Grey Treepie on Tree Top

It is common to find Grey Treepie on the Tree Tops or in the fields in search of insects.

Grey Treepie, Fields
Grey Treepie in Fields

Grey Treepie is separated from the other Treepie birds by its overall Grey Color of the body. One other way to identify this bird is a to check a small white patch on the wings.

Unlike, Rufous Treepie it is slightly difficult to see these birds because they work silently and due to grey color, they mix very well in the environment.

Grey Treepie,
Grey Treepie

Grey Treepie mainly eat insects, though they also enjoy berries, fruits, grains and reptiles. They breed between months of May to July.

The good news is that these birds are also in the least concern category as per the threat to birds.

Grey Treepie
Grey Treepie

All pics by Arvind Katoch

The Great Tit Pictures and Detail (Parus major)

Great Tit, Tit, Tiny Birds
Beautiful Great Tit

The Great Tit Pictures and Detail (Parus major)

Intitally, I thought that this bird is also Cinereous Tit, however, with some research, I found that the Tit with yellow color around the stomach and the breast is called Great Tit. I found a Pair of Great Tit and Cinereous Tit, both of them were searching food on same tree. 

Great Titi, Cenerous Together,
Great Tit and Cinereous Tit Together 
Great Tit is also a Tit family bird which is a big family of small birds. The only difference between Great Tit and Cinereous Tit is a yellow color in the stomach region in the Great Tit instead of white color in the same region in Cinereous Tit. 

The behavior and size of both birds are quite similar and it is common to find these birds together in many places. Till 2005, this the Great Tit was believed a sub species of Cinereous Tit and Japanese Tit. The Great Tit found in Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia. 

It is resident bird and it doesn't migrate. Due to small size, this bird always remains under threat from big bird eating birds like hawks. We can find 14 subspecies of Great Tit from Europe to Japan. 

Great Tit
Great Tit on Wire

Great Tit is one of common Garden birds and they love to eat seeds and grains in the feed-eater. The Great Tit mainly eats seeds, insects, spiders, nuts etc. 

Great Tit is believed as an intelligent bird because they know how to solve problems and arrange foods. Great Tits are small sweet voiced birds like Cinereous Tit and they make our surroundings more beautiful. 

Many people in India confuse Cinereous Tit and Great Tit with each other. I have found Crinereous Tit being referred as the Great Tit at many places. As my research, the bird with yellow breast are Great Tits and Birds with White Breast are Cinereous Tit, though, both of these birds show very similar behavior and they look same except the color variation. 

Cinereous Tit, Tiny Birds
Cinereous Tit on Tree Branch

The White Capped Redstart Pictures and Detail (Chaimarrornis leucocephalus)

White Capped Redstart,  Himachal Pradesh, Himalayan Bird,
White Capped Redstart in Himachal Pradesh

The White Capped Redstart Pictures and Detail (Chaimarrornis leucocephalus)

I met White-capped Redstart in Himachal. During my visit to my native village in Himachal, my aunt told me that there is a beautiful bird moving around with white patch on the top of the head. I was lucky because I met the bird same evening and for the next four days we met three times. 

Fortunately, White-capped Redstart didn't mind my presence and I got a chance to take some beautiful pictures of this bird. White-capped Redstart is found in Indian Subcontinent and South-East Asia. Also check Plumbeous Water Redstart

White-capped, Redstart, Back,
White-capped Redstart from Back
The size of this bird is around 19 cm and its scientific name is (Chaimarrornis leucocephalus).  These birds belong to the Muscicapidae  family of birds. At present, White-capped Redstart is in the least concern category of birds as per the threat level and we can find them on a wide range. 

White-capped Redstart, Evening
White-capped Redstart at Evening
White-capped Redstart has got its name because of visible white patch on the top of its head. Both Male and Female White-capped Redstart are similar; though, we can find bigger white patch and dark colors in Male White-capped Redstart.

White Capped, Redstart
White-Capped Redstart
These birds are found in the foothills from 1500 meters to 6000 meters and they show altitudinal migration. They are also called White-capped river Redstart because they are found mostly near to rocky rivers in the hills.

White-capped Redstart,
White-capped Redstart

White-capped Redstart mainly eat insects, flies, ants, berries and grass seeds. The good point about White-capped Redstart is that it displays many postures and tail positions.

White-capped Redstart, Side
White-Capped Redstart from Side

Overall, White-capped Redstart is a wonderful bird which makes world of Birds even more beautiful. If we notice then we can find this bird; though it is not very common.

All pics of White-capped Redstart by Arvind Katoch

The Slaty-headed Parakeet Pictures and Detail (Himalayan Parrot) (Psittacula himalayana)

Slaty-headed Parakeet, Himalayan Parrot
Slaty-headed Parakeet (Himalayan Parrot) 

The Slaty-headed Parakeet Pictures and Detail (Himalayan Parrot) (Psittacula himalayana)

Before this article, I wrote about Rose-ringed Parakeet (Indian Parrot) which is a common species of parrots found in the plains of India. At that time, I was not aware that there are 372 types of Parakeet species around the world.  

When I captured the pictures of Slaty-headed Parakeet, then I found that there is a color variation from common Parrots of Plains and Himalayan Parrots are more colorful.

The Slaty-headed Parakeet (Himalayan Parrots) are called so because of the slaty color of their head region. 

Slaty-headed parakeet, Himalayan Parrot, pain
Pair of Slaty-headed Parakeet

These parrots mainly found in Himalayan range from Pakistan to Arunachal Pradesh in India including Bhutan and Nepal. Slaty-headed Parakeet (Himalayan Parrot) show altitudinal migration which means they migrate to higher peaks in summer and lower heights in winters. 

Slaty-headed parakeet, Down Swing, Wings open
Slaty-headed parakeet enjoy down swing

Though, parrots are noisy in nature, but I feel these Himalayan parrots are more noisy and active than Rose-ringed Parrots of the plains. The tail of the Slaty-headed Parakeet is more colorful than Rose-ringed Parrots. 

The eating habits of these parrots are same as of Rose-ringed Parrots, they eat grains, buds, jungle berries, fruits, vegetable, nuts etc. Himalayan Parrots are less dependable of humans for their meal as compared to urban (rose-ringed parrots) because they find most of their food themselves.

Backside, Slaty-headed parrot
Backside of Slaty-headed Parrot

To see slaty-headed parrots, one need to visit a high altitude region in Himalaya. I took these pictures 10-12 KM away from Baijnath in Himachal Pradesh. 

In the picture below, you can see the flight of a slaty-headed Parakeet
Flying, Slaty-headed Parakeet
Flight of a Slaty-headed parakeet

The Himalayan Parrots are more shy as compared to Parrots of Plains in India; therefore, you need to run lot to capture their pics. 

These parrots, like parrots of plains are not liked by farmers because they come in groups and destroy a good portion of the crop. Below in the picture, you can see Slaty-headed parakeet eating maize from a maize field. 

Slaty-headed Parakeet, Maize
Slaty-headed parakeet eating maize
Though, Himalayan live and come in a group, but it is common to see them fighting with each other which you can see in the picture below. 

Slaty-headed parakeet, PArrot fight
Slaty-headed Parakeet Fighting

It is a great experience to capture pictures of wild Himalayan Parrots and learn about their life.

Front Pic, Slaty-headed Parakeet, Himalyan parrot
Slaty-headed Parakeet
Below find another pic showing the beautiful flight of Himalyan parrot.

Slated-headed, parrot, Himalayan parrot,
Flying Himalyan Parrot

I hope to capture more Slaty-headed (Himalayan) parakeet pictures in future. 

All Pics taken by Arvind Katoch

Video Presentation of Slaty-headed Parakeet (Himalayan Parrot) Pics-


The Ruddy Shelduck Pictures and Detail (Tadorna ferruginea) Migratory Birds

Ruddy Shelduck, Shelduck, Duck, Water bird
Pair of Ruddy Shelduck 

The Ruddy Shelduck Pictures and Detail (Tadorna ferruginea)

Everytime I visit Ropar wetland, I get a chance to capture pictures of ducks. Last I captured pictures of Spot-billed Ducks and this time, it was the turn of  Ruddy Shelduck. In general, these ducks don't come close to side of the wetland where human interference is more; however, sometimes, you get few exceptions. 

Ruddy Shelduck is member of Duck family and it is put in Shelduck subfamily Tadorninae. These are mainly migratory birds and they come to the Indian subcontinent in winters. This bird is mainly found in pairs or in small groups. 

I was fortunate to get pictures of Ruddy Shelduck pictures during this winter; otherwise, I was required to wait for next winters. These birds arrive in Indian in October and leaves around April. 

Ruddy Shelduck, Male,
The Ruddy Shelduck Male
The male Ruddy Shelduck can be recognized by a black ring on the neck. In some parts of the world, these birds are hunted; though, In India they are protected birds; however, unofficial hunting is still a threat. 

They mainly found across wetland, marshy areas. The decreasing flow of water to wetlands and river bodies due to irrigation projects in causes threat to these birds. Population is water is another threat to these birds. 

The good news is that they are put in category of least concern species; therefore, there is no immediate threat to Ruddy Shelduck. 

Ruddy Shelduck, Shelduck, Duck
Pair of Ruddy Shelduck
The Asian population of Ruddy Shelduck migrates to lower altitude parts in the South during winters. At some suitable places or wetlands, we can even find thousands of these birds. 

After the breeding, the adult Ruddy Shelduck birds become incapable of flying for one month. These birds are mainly active at night. 

These birds, mainly eat green vegetation, seeds, insects, small fishes, aquatic plants. They give their eggs away from water in empty homes, tree holes or in cliffs. 

Ruddy Shelduck,
Pair of Ruddy Shelduck
In the next winter, I hope to capture more pictures of Ruddy Shelducks. 

All Pictures taken by Arvind Katoch at Ropar Wetland

The Indian Pond Heron Pictures and Detail (Ardeola grayii)

Indian Pond Heron,
Indian Pond Heron

Indian Pond Heron, Pond Heron, Harike Wetland, Punjab
An Indian Pond Heron Perfectly Hiding in Leaves

The Indian Pond Heron Pictures and Detail (Ardeola grayii)

Some of Birds are so good in camouflage that we need hard efforts to find them. Indian Pond Heron is also one such bird, which uses its wing color to hide in the leaves.  

This happened with me during my recent visit to Harike Wetland, while taking pictures, I noticed that something is hiding in the leaves. When we reached closure, then I found that it is an Indian Pond Heron. 
Indian Pond Heron, Pond Heron, Lake
Indian Pond Heron 

It is hard to find this bird when you see it from a distance because it mixes very well in the environment. 

In the below picture, you can understand what I am saying. 

Indian Pond Heron, hiding
Can you identify Indian Pond Heron

It was an interesting experience to capture a few pics of Indian Pond Heron in its wild background. This bird can be found from Iran to Burma, including India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Srilanka. 

The scientific name of this bird is Ardeola Grayii and it is also known as paddy bird. These birds are very common and they can be found in nearly water bodies; however, because of their color and camouflage, we miss to notice them. However, when they fly, then it is easy to notice them because of their white wings.

Indian Pond Heron, Flying, Pond Heron,
Indian Pond Heron Flying

Indian, Pond Heron, Flying,
Indian Pond Heron Flying

Indian Pond Heron or Peddy birds are not fearful of humans and they allow you to come close. Only when they feel fear, then they fly away. This is a very common bird is India and we can find slight variations in its colors across India.

They mainly feed on fishes; therefore, they found near wetlands, ponds, water bodies. Due to its silent nature, some people believe this bird as blind.

Indian, Pond Heron,

Indian, Pond Heron, Eye Contact,
An Eye contact with Indian Pond Heron

I hope that with the help of these pictures, you will be able to notice Indian Pond Heron when you see it.

All Indian Pond Heron Pics by Arvind Katoch

Bird Photography Tip 3- Are you using the right DSLR camera lens?

DSLR, 70-300 mm lens, Photography Tip, Right Lense, Bird Photography
DSLR 70-300mm Lens

Bird Photography Tip 3- Are you using the right DSLR camera lens?

When you do photography with DSLR camera then it becomes very important to use the right camera lens. If we don't choose the right lens, then we will not get good pictures. 

In Bird Photography, you also need to choose your lenses well; otherwise you will miss many good opportunities. 

For bird photography, we need to use Telephotolenes because it is not easy to go very near to birds and we need to take their pictures without disturbing them. 

The two Telephoto lenses, I recommend for Bird Photography are 70-300 mm lens and 150-600 mm lens. 

For new bird photographers, they should start with 70-300 mm lens. These lenses are available in market from companies like NIkon, Sony, Tamron, Sigma etc in the price range of Rs 10000 to 35000 depending on the brand and features. 

We can catch many good moments with 70-300 mm lens and it is one of essential lens which every bird photography need in his kit. It takes some time to become familiar with the lens and with time, we become comfortable with it. 
DSLR, 150-600 mm, Photography Tip, Right Lens
DSLR 150-600 mm Lens

Second, Lens is 150-600 mm lens which nearly doubles your range as compared to 70-300 mm lens; though, these lenses are heavier and 5 times expensive as compared to 70-300 mm. We can buy 150-600 mm lenses from Rs 75000 to Rs 150000; therefore, I don't recommend these lenses for beginners. 

When you have a right telephoto lens and you are familiar with it, then you can take good pictures of birds. 

In future posts, I will discuss more about lenses and their features. 

The Cinereous Tit Pictures and Detail (Parus Cinereus) Tiny Bird and Sweet Voice

Cinereous Tit, Tiny Birds
Cinereous Tit on Tree Branch

The Cinereous Tit  (Parus Cinereus)  

Many times, I wake in the morning while listening to sweet calls of Cinereous Tit because few Cinereour tits live around me and they sing in the morning. Cinereous Tit is a small tiny bird of black and white colors only; however, its voice is very sweet. 

It is hard to capture pics of these birds because they are shy in nature and second, they move very fast from one place to another. It took me around six months to get a few of their pics. We can find Cinereous Tit in most parts of India and South Asia.

The picture below of Cinereous Tit, I took in Hilly Part of Himachal Prades. 
Cinereous Tit, Parus Cinereus, Tinny Bird,
The Cinereous Tit (Parus Cinereus) Tinny Bird

These birds are part of tit family and their scientific name is Parus Cinereus. This bird also has many subspecies which vary in size and color.

Cinereous Tit mainly feed on fruits, seeds, insects. We can identify them with their white cheeks and white lines on the wings. They are good examples of beautiful black and white birds.

The best part of them is their whistling sweet sound which provides great relief to the mind.

Cinereous Tit, Back
Cinereous Tit from Back

Birds like Cinereous Tit make our surrounding beautiful and musical. These birds give eggs in the summers and their mating season can start from Feburary. During their mating season, whistling calls increasing many times.

Cinereous Tit, Ground
Cinereous Tit on Ground

I also found a related species to Cinereous Tit with yellow breast and later found that it is Great Tit.

Great Tit, Cinereous Tit
Great Tit and Cinereous Tit Together
Birds like Cinereous Tit are very useful for our ecological system because they help in cleaning the environment.

Cinereous Tit, Down Position
Cinereous Tit in Down Position 

All Pics of Cinereous Tit Taken by Arvind Katoch