(Indian) River Tern (Sterna aurantia) Pictures and Detail

Indian, River Tern, Flying
Indian River Tern 

River Tern  (Sterna aurantia) Pictures and Detail 



During my last visit to the Harike wetland in Punjab, which is situated on the bank of the confluence of Satlej and Beas river, I found that a bird is flying around me like he was asking me to take his pictures.

Later, I found that it is a River tern, a bird which lives around fresh water rivers. The scientific name of this bird is Sterna Aurantia and it is also called Indian river tern. I also got encouraged by the movements of river tern around me and clicked a few of his flying action.

River Tern,
River Tern 

River Tern is a bird of tern family and it is a resident breeder. River tern as the name suggests is found near rivers and we can find this bird from Iran to Thailand. We can easily spot this bird in India; therefore it is called Indian river tern.

River Tern, Back
River Tern from Back

River Tern make their nest on bare rocks or on the sand near river banks. Their breeding season is from March to May. The best way to recognize this bird is to notice the black head and yellow bill.

River Terns mainly eat fish, tadpoles, aquatic insects and Crustaceans. They plunge dive to get their food.

River Tern, Harike Wetland,
River Tern over Harike Wetland
This time, I only succeeded in getting pictures of River tern in flying position and next I will try to get more it pictures in different positions.

I do hope that you try to notice a river tern when you visit a water body, lake or river.

River Tern,
River Tern Flying Over Harike Wetland

Laughing Dove or Palm dove and Senegal dove (Spilopelia senegalensis) Pictures and Detail

Laughing Dove, Dove,
Laughing Dove

Laughing Dove (Spilopelia senegalensis) Pictures and Detail 


I am seeing Laughing Doves from my Childhood. They have always lived around me and it is common to find a single laughing dove or a pair them. Unlike Pigeons, they don't move in big groups. When we spread grains on the roof for Piegon, then one or two laughing doves also come to eat the grains.

Laughing Dove is a small pigeon  and it is found in Africa, Middle East and Indian Subcontinent. The scientific name of Laughing dove is Spilopelia senegalensis and it is also known by names of Palm dove and Senegal dove. In these birds, we can notice a black colored necklace with embedded Rofous beats on it.

Laughing Dove, Back,
Laughing Dove from Back
The laughing doves are very silent and peaceful birds. Mostly big pigeons try to move them away so that they can't eat grains. I have never noticed them retaliating. This is a common bird and we can notice it with some search. It is common to find them near the group of pigeons.

Laughing Dove, Front,
Laughing Dove Front
The tail of these birds is quite long as compared to other pigeons. Laughing Dove has Pinkish brown color on the bottom and lilac around the head. Their wings are brownish with grey color at the end. These are resident bird; though, some of its species may make long movements.

laughing Dove
Laughing Dove on Tree
We also find some subspecies of these birds. They show flying characters of Piegon family like sharp turns. Laughing Dove mainly eats seeds, grains, small fruits, vegetation and some insects. When you follow Laughing Doves, then you can hear their calls (krroooo, okrroooo or coo, coo)

Below in the pictures, you can see two Laughing Dove finding insects together. Both sexes of Laughing dove are same, though, females are slighting paler than males. We can easily find Laughing Doves in woodland, farmland, suburban parks, plantations and gardens.
Laughing Dove,
Pair of Laughing Dove

pair, Laughing dove,
Pair of Laughing Dove
Laughing dove is a wonderful bird, I had a great experience with them. In the future, I will try to get more of their pictures to show more colors of their life. 

Grey Wagtail Picture and Detail (Motacilla cinerea)

Greay Wagtail, Wagtail,
Grey Wagtail 

Grey Wagtail Picture and Detail (Motacilla cinerea)


We can find many wagtail birds around us and Grey Wagtail is also one them which we sometimes see around. Recently, I became confused between a Grey Wagtail and Grey-headed Yellow Wagtail, Though after reading lots about these birds, I succeeded in identifying them. Anyone can easily confuse Grey Wagtail and Grey-headed Yellow Wagtail because of many similarities between them.

The main difference which we can find in them is a black colored throat in Grey Wagtail while Grey-headed wagtail has a yellow-whitish throat. The other method to identify the Grey Wagtail is to notice the white line crossing just above the eye, which is missing in Grey-headed Yellow Wagtail. 

Grey Wagtail is a small bird of the wagtail bird family (a family of birds which has habit of wagging their tail). The scientific name of this bird is Motacilla cinerea. This bird is found in Europe, Asia and Africa. They do migrate to a different location for breeding. 
Grey Wagtail
Grey Wagtail
Grey Wagtail also shows characteristics like other wagtails and it is commonly found around marshy areas looking for insects. This wagtail is very slim in size. The scientists are still confused about the wagtail birds and we lack complete information about wagtails.

These birds can be seen alone or in pairs and their breeding season is between April to July. Grey Wagtail make their nests near rivers, flowing water or a marshy area between the stones or between the roots. They give 2-5 eggs.

This time, I only got a chance to take just two good pictures of Grey Wagtail and I hope to get more its pictures soon. I will try to learn more about Grey Wagtail so that we can understand his life better.



The Greater Coucal Or Crow Pheasant (Centropus sinensis) Pictures and Detail

Greater Coucal, Coucal,
The Greater Coucal


The Greater Coucal Or Crow Pheasant (Centropus sinensis) Pictures and Detail 



I first time came across this bird on the roadside when I was driving. It is common to find Greater Coucal in all parts of Punjab state of India. This bird is also known as Crow Pheasant and its scientific name is Centropus sinensis.

(Update 28/01/16 - Now, I often Greater_Coucal (Crow Pheasant) around because we can find this bird in good number. The picture below, I took a few days back when I was travelling to the fields. In this picture, I found the clear shot of Crow Pheasant with a few more pics. Though, I have lost my Greater_Coucal friend because of relocation to a new city; however, I still miss him.)
Greater Coucal, Crow Pheasant,
Greater Coucal in Outdoor

The first thing I noticed about this bird is its big size and shy nature. Later I found that few Greater Coucal (Crow Pheasant) lives near my home too and they sometimes come home to eat leftovers from the dog's food. 
Greater Coucal, Forest
Greater Coucal in Forest
We can find Greater Coucal both in forests and near human population. In the picture above, you can see a Crow Pheasant in the forest and in the picture below, you see one who often comes to my home.
Crow Pheasant, Greater Coucal, Home,
Crow Pheasant on Backwall of my Home
I am following this bird from long time and now, we have developed some trust and he comes close to me; though, he still remains alert. Moreover, it looks that Greater Coucal has developed a friendship with my dog too, because my dog allow this big bird to eat his food in his presence.

Greater Coucal
Greater Coucal

In general, Greater Coucal works very silently and we hardly get any noise because of his presence. These birds are weak fliers and we can often see them walking.


Crow Pheasant (Greater Coucal) belongs to Cuckoo family of birds and it is one of the largest in the family with 48 cm length. We can recognize this bird with big size and black long tail. The color of their head and bottom is Black with Purple shades and their top wings are Chestnut brown.

Greater Coucal, Spread of Tail
Greater Coucal with Spread of tail

Greater Coucal is a resident bird of Asia and we can find it in India, China, Indonesia and Nepal.We also find some subspecies of this bird in Asia.

Greater Coucal, Wings, Spreaded
Greater Coucal with Full Spread of Wings
The other beautiful thing to notice in Greater Coucal is their beautiful red eyes. They do make loud calls coop-coop-coops. I often get the chance to hear their calls because they live on the trees backside of my home.
Greter Coucal, Face,
Greater Coucal Face
Greater Coucals are adaptable birds and they can eat lots of food items like the crow. They mainly eat insects, eggs of other birds, fruits, seeds, caterpillars, snails etc. We can easily notice these birds taking sunbathe in the  morning especially in winters.

Greater Coucal, Back,
Greater Coucal Back
In some cultures, this bird and its calls are associated with spirits and omens. Though, I found Greater Coucal a nice and peaceful bird and I will love to take more his pictures in the future.

Greater Coucal, Walking, Crow Pheasant,
Greater Coucal Walking


A Greater Coucal in Action Video -

Grey-headed or Dark-headed Yellow Wagtail Pictures and Detail (Motacilla flava thunbergi)

Wagtail, Grey-headed, Yellow, Dark Headed
A Grey-headed Yellow Wagtail

Grey-headed Yellow Wagtail or Dark-headed Yellow Wagtail 



The most difficult thing is to find the exact name of wagtail because we can find many wagtails and their subspecies. It took me 5 hours to reach at this conclusion that this a Grey-headed or Dark-headed yellow wagtail. In Punjab, India, Grey-headed Yellow Wagtail is mentioned in a list of birds found in Punjab. 

This bird is a subspecies of Western Yellow Wagtail; therefore, many people commonly refer it as a Yellow Wagtail and its scientific name is Motocilla Flava thunbergi. In the tiny birds, we can find many varieties of birds and their subspecies make your job even tougher. 


Grey-headed Wagtail
Grey-headed Wagtail

These birds are Dark Grey or Grey headed till the cheeks. We find white color on checks in females which may be missing in male Dark-headed yellow wagtails. They have olive color above and yellow color on the bottom and in some cases we can find presence of some white color on the bottom.

These are insectivorous birds (the bird which eats insects only) and can be found in fields, open grounds, near water looking for insects. These birds are 15-16 cm long and they have a long tail. It is a common attribute of these birds to wag their tail; therefore, they got the name wagtail.

Dark-headed Wagtail

Dark-headed Yellow Wagtail give their eggs on the ground in tussocks. Some of these birds are residential in nature and some migrate from cold places to hotter places in winter.

Many bird watches and scientists believe that it is very confusing to exactly classify these birds because of so much similarity and presence of many subspecies.

Grey-headed Yellow Wagtail
Grey-headed yellow Wagtail from Back
We do not get many chances of seeing these birds because their small numbers and small size. In last one year, I saw this bird only one time. I hope to meet this bird and also love to learn more about it.

All Pictures of grey-headed yellow wagtail taken by me in Punjab (India).

Any person who has more information on this bird, then they can share it with me. 

House Sparrow (Passer domesticus) Pictures and Detail (A Tiny Bird which almost disappeared from India a few years back) Saving House Sparrow

House Sparrow, Female,
House Sparrow Female

House Sparrow, Male
House Sparrow Male

House Sparrow  (Passer Domesticus) Pictures and Detail 


Upto few years back, House Sparrows never needed any special introduction in India because it was very common to see these tiny beautiful birds around the human habitats in cities and villages. However, within last five-six years, they almost disappeared from most of Indian cities and villages. 

I know these birds very well because many of House Sparrows were visiting our home from my childhood. They used to come very close to my mother when she was cleaning rice or other grains so that they can catch the rice or grain which is thrown out by her. 

Group, House Sparrow,
Group of House Sparrow eating Left away Rice

We are also starting feeding these birds with rice or left over food and they become daily visitors to our home. Everything was fine till 10 years back when House sparrows were visiting our home; however, then suddenly it becomes rare to see these birds. For around 10 years, I rarely saw these birds and they even almost disappeared from remote villages in Himachal Pradesh. 

In some states of India, their population decreased by 80%, which was a big alarm for the bird watcher. Initially, the Indian government did not recognize this threat, but later the survey conducted by the Indian Council of Agriculture Research confirmed sharp decline in population of a House Sparrow. This tiny bird is almost in red list in many European Countries like the UK and Netherland. 
House Sparrow
Sparrow Female
House Sparrow is also very common is Himachal Pradesh. Here also the population of bird decreased significantly; however, now they are reappearing. Below find picture of House (Common Sparrow) from Himachal Pradesh (India)

House Sparrow, Male, Himachal Pradesh
House Sparrow Male (Himachal Pradesh)



What happened to House Sparrows who have a 10000 year old history of living with human beings. There are many reasons cited for the disappearance of House Sparrows in India like 

1) Increase use of air conditioners, 
2) Electromagnetic rays coming from Mobile Towers and Cable wires, 
3) Excess use of Mosquito Repellents,
4) Removable of Indigenous Grass with Foreign grass, 
5) Decrease in availability of seeds,
6) Decreasing Tree Cover
7) Decrease in suitable places to make nests
8) No availability of mud to take a bath. 
9) Some disease 
10) Use of unleaded Petrol

House Sparrow Male


Many Scientists believe that the disappearance of house sparrow is an alarm for humans to correct their lifestyle.  These birds are being very sensitive to any change and if they are living humans or they are disappearing, then it is a sign to change our lifestyle, otherwise, the whole of the human race may disappear in the near future. 

House Sparrow, eating, Cooked Rice


There may be many reasons cited for the disappearance of House Sparrows in India; however, I believe that one of the main reasons was high radiations coming from the Mobile Towers because as the Supreme Court of India ordered Telecom companies to decrease the radiation level of their towers, soon after that I started noticing an increase in their population in some pockets. 

Introduction to House Sparrow -

The Scientific name of the House Sparrow is (Passer domesticus)  and it is found throughout the world except the polar region. The adult sparrow is about 14-16 cm in size, and it weighs around 25-30 gram. House Sparrow is strongly associated with Humans and it prefers to live around human habitats in cities and villages.

House Sparrow commonly eats grains, seeds, weeds of grass, small insects etc. Many people keep these birds as pets and they are believed helpful in killing harmful insects. These birds have beautiful call and they make different calls as per the season.

House sparrow breed in the season of March to August. These birds are very social in nature and they love to move out in groups. They can be seen feeding their kids by putting food in their mouth. In House Sparrows males find or create the nest. Its nest is made of dried grass, feathers, paper etc.

House Sparrow, Stealing, Rice
House Sparrow stealing Rice 

The Male House Sparrow has dark brown feather with black lines. They do have a black patch on their throat, which is missing in female sparrows. Female House Sparrows have light brown feathers with black lines. Both male and female sparrows have whitish belly. These birds are believed as pests because they steal grains from fields and houses.

House Sparrows are very adaptable in nature and they love to eat human leftover like as you see House Sparrow eating cooked rice in above pictures.

Signs of Revival of House Sparrow Population -

Though, still in danger, I recently noticed some revival signs in House Sparrow population in some of the pockets in villages of Punjab. They are still missing from most of cities of India. With the reduction of radiations from Mobile Towers, decrease in use of pesticides in the fields; we can hope to see more increase in their population in coming future. 

How we can help in saving House Sparrow- 


To increase awareness about birds like House Sparrow, "World Sparrow Day" is celebrated on 20th March every year. It is the duty of every Indian to help in the  revival of the population of Hosue Sparrow. We can follow the steps written below to increase their population again. 

1) By Planting more Trees
2) Feeding House Sparrows
3) Put water pots outside the home or in the garden so that House Sparrow can rehydrate. 
3) Use less insecticide and pesticide in the Fields
4) Switching off the Wi-Fi when it is not in use
5) Making our garden sparrow friendly
6) By creating less of air or noise pollution 
7) By stopping eating chemically treated seeds or pulses
8) Preferring indigenous grass over foreign one
9) By Decreasing use of Mosquito repellents 


By Following these steps, we can help Indian House Sparrow who is fighting for survival. These are very beautiful tiny birds who have more than 10,000 years association with human. 


Asian Koel (Eudynamys scolopaceus) Picture and Detail (Sweet voiced Bird)

Koel, Asian, Sweet Voice
Asian Koel (male)

Asian Koel (Eudynamys scolopaceus) Picture and Detail


It is common to find people who are aware of the sweet voice of Koel because during the mating season Koels give very sweet calls "koo-Ooo". We can easily hear their sweet calls of Koo-ooo-koo-ooo in the morning and evening hours. However, the numbers of people who have seen it always remain less because Asian Koel is a very shy bird and it always hide itself well in the dense trees. `

I am also aware of the sweet voice of koel from my childhood time; however, I got a chance to see it a few days back only. I followed the voice of Koel and found it on a tree. Thankfully, the tree was not very dense and I got few of pictures of Koel


Asian Koel, Bottom, Koel,
Asian Koel from Bottom 
The scientific name of Asian Koel is Eudynamys Scolopacieus and it is a bird of the Cuckoo order bird family. This bird is mainly found in Asia and China. Though, Koel is a sweet voiced bird; however, its nature is somewhat of cheater. Koel is classified as a Brood Parasite because it lays its eggs in the nest of other birds like crows and other birds take care of Koel eggs till they mature.

Koel
Koel
Due to its sweet voice, we find the reference of Koel in many old literatures and poems. The male Koel is black in color while the female koel is brown in color with white dots/spots. So far, I have only succeeded in taking pictures of male Koel only and hope to get pictures of female koel soon.

Asian Koel, Male
Asian Koel Male
Asian Koel is a resident bird and it lives near cultivation area and semi-forests. The main diet of Koel includes fruits, insects, eggs of other birds, caterpillar, The main Koel has sanskrit root and it has come of Sanskrit name of Kokila.

The main thing about this bird is its sweet voice which makes it a widely appreciated and talked about bird. I wanted to see this bird and finally, I got some of its pictures.

[Update 06/08/2016]I heard lots about the story of the Asian Koel that it lay its eggs in the crow's nest and through the eggs of crow. Recently, I got a chance to see it through my eyes. I saw few crows feeding two of Asian koel female juveniles. You can see it in the two pictures below. These pictures are clear to show that a clever bird like House crow can also be fooled.

Crow, feeding, Juvenile, Asian Keol, Female

Crow, feeding, Juvenile, Asian Keol, Female,
A Crow feeding Juvenile Asian Keol (Female) 


With this, I also got a chance to take pictures of Juvenile Asian Koel female from the close. The male Asian Koel bird is fully black while female Asian Koel have whitish dots on the wings and white lines on the lower body. These Asian Koel birds are taken care of by the crows as they believe them as their own children. Soon, when these birds will be adult then they will start life as Asian Koels forgetting the life of crows.

Asian Koel, Juvenile, Female
Asian Koel Juvenile (Female) 

Asian Koel Juvenile (Female)




Asian Koel Juvenile (Female) back



Brown Rock (Indian) Chat (Cercomela fusca) and Detail (Beautiful small Brown Bird)

Brown Roack Chat, Indian Chat, Small Brown Bird
Brown Rock (Indian) Chat 

Brown Rock (Indian) Chat Pictures and Detail


Brown Rock Chat is a one of common bird, we can observe these small brown birds even in urban areas. Brown Rock Chat is also called Indian Chat because it is mainly found in central and northern India. The scientific name of Indian chat is Cercomela fusca and it belongs to chat (Saxicolinae) subfamily of birds. 

Brown Rock Chat, Indian Chat, Brown bird, Small bird,
A small Brown Rock Chat or Indian chat 
My encounter with Brown Rock Chat is very common because a pair of this bird lives near my home and I constantly get a chance to see them. I mostly see them in pairs and they don't mind coming close to me. They also enjoy me capturing their pictures and allow me to come close to them.



Sometimes, we even find this bird making sweet calls as shown in the picture below. These small brown birds are capable of making eight different types of calls like threat call, territorial call etc.
Brown Rock Chat, Calls,
Brown Rock Chat making calls
Brown Rock Chat mainly eats insects and we can find them looking for insects on the ground or in wall holes. These birds are mainly found in the plains at a height up to 1300 meters.

Brown Rock Chat
Brown Rock Chat 

Brown Rock Chat, Close up
Brown Rock Chat Close Up
Indian chats are beautiful small brown birds living peacefully around us. If we observe, we can even listen to some of their sweet calls. In the picture, we can see a brown rock chat taking flight.

Indian chat, Brown Rock Chat, flight
Brown Roch Chat ready for flight
These birds may resemble other small bird; however, the best way recognizes them is to see the complete brown color of their body. Somewhere, we can find Brown rock chat in dark brown color and at some places, we can find them in light brown color.

[update 20/4/2015] In the picture below, You can see the open tail wings of the a Brown Chat Bird and in the other picture, you can also notice that one foot of this bird is injured.
Tail wings, Brown Rock Chat
Open Tail Wings Brown Rock Chat

Brown rock chat
Injured Brown Rock Chat