In the last post we looked at the Indian Paradise Flycatcher and the Asian Barred Owlet. Today we will see the Himalayan Bulbul and Red and Yellow Billed Blue Magpies. Let’s start with the Himalayan Bulbul, it has a white cheek and a yellow vent. In pairs or in small parties, pretty noisy. Common and endemic to the Himalayas.
Similar appearance to the Red-Whiskered Bulbul except for the white cheek and the yellow vent. Attracts attention with their pleasant calls.
The Red, and Yellow-Billed Blue Magpie are stunning birds with flamboyant tails that fan out when in flight. The Red-Billed is slightly larger than the Yellow. The two are very similar except for a few things. The Red-Billed’s white-patch on its nape is larger than the Yellow’s. Obviously the main difference is the bill color, (hence, the name.)
Identifying Raptors in general is quite a task, but the Oriental Honey Buzzard (Aka: Crested Honey Buzzard), is highly variable and can be difficult to distinguish. Here are some tips to identify them. (all photos by me unless stated otherwise.)
Fun fact! Despite its name, the species is not related to buzzards and is closer to the kites.
Tip 1: One of the key features of this raptor is its prominent pigeon-like head, giving it a very unlike-raptor look.
Tip 2: It is a large bird with a size ranging from 52-68 cm, and it has a streaked belly extending to the neck. Female OHB’s are larger and darker than males. Males have a black tail with a white band and the female’s do not.
Tip 3: if you don’t have the the privilege to see one sitting down, here’s how you can identify them in flight. In flight, they have a streaked and dotted pattern below their wings, and an outward bend on the outside of the secondary coverts. Here is an example below.
overall, if you have the right information (and some practice) you will be quick in identifying OHB’s. Or any raptor for that matter. If you are starting birding in India then i highly recommend this field guide. (link to buy below) https://www.amazon.in/Birds-India-Bikram-Grewal/dp/9380070225/
I myself am no expert just an amateur, I like to take photographs and share my ideas/photos with others. anyway, I hope you found this helpful, if you want to see my photography here is a link to my twitter account. https://twitter.com/racbaard
Thanks and see you in the next post!
I will start off by saying that the Himalaya region is simply a birders paradise, there is no other way to say it. Speaking of paradise, here is one right now.
The Indian Paradise-Flycatcher is a stunning bird with two morphs in males, a rufous morph and a complete-white morph. The males have a stunning 30cm tail that is longer than their actual body. The females lack the long tail and have the rufous morph only.
Below you can see the tail more clearly to give you an idea of how long it really is.
The next bird we will be looking at is “Asian Barred Owlet”. It is a medium sized Owlet with lemon yellow eyes and white eyebrows.
The interesting thing about this owlet, unlike many other owls, is that it hunts during the day (hence the photo.) Both the male and female look similar with white streaks on the belly extending to the neck.
Below is a better view of the white barred belly.
These two birds are all that I will be posting for today but I will continue this series in the next post.
Thank you for reading and goodbye!
The picture above is of a White-Cheeked Barbet. As you can see it is in a funny position, the barbet was calling while I took this picture, it stopped, rather confused for a second. but it soon started croaking away again.
Here on the other hand is my Doggo, Licorice. :CUTENESS WARNING BTW:
And finally we have my Cat, Toffy. He poses for pictures like a king. (he probably is already a king)
Vultures are fascinating birds. They are scavengers, meaning they feed on dead animals. Sadly, Vulture population in India decreased by a drastic “90+ percent”. The reason behind this is solely because of one thing, Diclofenac.
Diclofenac is an anti-inflammatory drug used by farmers to treat sick cattle, the drug itself is harmless on the cattle, but is deadly to the Vultures. The scavengers fed on dead cattle treated with Diclofenac which resulted in their kidney failure and visceral gout in those Vultures leading to their death. This was the fastest decline of a single bird population anywhere in the world, and it took only fifteen years.
But there is good news now. The drug is banned in India, Nepal and Pakistan. The specific species of vultures that were affected the most were the Indian Vulture, Slender-Billed Vulture, and The White Rumped Vulture.
No one would have thought that these birds would have such an important role in our daily life. With no Vultures to feed on the carcases, the carcases rot, soon attracting pests like rats, which then cause diseases in the nearby villages. Every animal has a role in the ecosystem, and here are the Vultures playing an important part in it.
NOTE: Pictures below from wikipedia.
There are many things that can be observed while watching birds. Some things which we, or others, may not have known at all. These intricate observations help a lot if you are a beginner birder, but they play a much more important role even for advanced birding. Take a Koel, for instance. My father told me that when he was small there was a song that people sang to their children. “The Crow is Black, The Drongo is Black, And the Koel is Black.” But when my grandparents were visiting, my dad showed them a photo of a female Koel. But they didn’t recognize it. since they thought a Koel is only black. This observation isn’t really helpful in terms of working in the field, but I just wanted to share it for fun. Other observations like seasonal changes can confuse birders with a different colored plumage or other changes. A recent example of this is when I and my dad started noticing that our resident, “Green Bee-Eaters” didn’t have their “elongated tail” as per usual. We checked online and found out that the breeding season for the bee-eaters is March to June, and we were right in the middle of march. The juvenile bee-eaters didn’t have the elongated tails, so all the ones we saw were juveniles. Use the internet as a tool for any doubts or questions you have about your birding experience, make sure you use trusted sources. I suggest the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, but there are other sites you can use. Thank you for reading 🙂