May 13, 2016

Endemic Bird Day is Here!

Tomorrow (Saturday 14 May) is Endemic Bird Day. You’ve seen the list of all of our endemics, heard some interesting facts about some, including Spotted Creeper, Painted Sandgrouse and Indian Pitta, and done the quizzes, now all that is required is to go birding on 14 May and enter your lists into eBird. (We request you to upload you lists by the night of Monday 16 May so we can publish some summaries soon afterwards). Do sign-up for the Facebook event, maybe let others know of your plans by posting there, and on the day itself we welcome updates of interesting sightings and experiences from the field.

If you are in the Delhi area, you can combine your Endemic Birding with the Summer Bird Count.

Forest Owlet

Forest Owlet

Forest Owlet © Rohan Chakravarty

Many of you will know the story of the Forest Owlet, one of our most famous endemics. Known from just seven central Indian specimens, the most recent having been collected in 1884, it was unsuccessfully searched for a number of times, notably by Sálim Ali and S Dillon Ripley, and generally considered extinct. After some intriguing detective work by Nigel Collar and Pamela Rasmussen it was realised that the last collected specimen had actually been stolen from the British Museum by Richard Meinertzhagen and relabelled with a false location. Hence the various recent searches had not been focused on the most likely locations. Armed with this new information, Rasmussen joined Ben King and David Abbott on an expedition which resulted in the sensational rediscovery after 113 years in Maharashtra in November 1997.

The Forest Owlet story does not end there however. Just over 2 years ago the species was found for the first time in Tansa Wildlife Sanctuary, by Sunil Laad and Rohidas Dagale, a mere 100km from Mumbai! Shortly afterwards came another new location, this time by Jenis Patel, Shashank Patel, Saurabh Rathor, Jaymal Patel, Pratik Patel and Anirudh Vasava, in Purna Wildlife Sanctuary in Gujarat. From this story it is clear that there is still a lot to be known about our birds, and anyone actively birding could play a part. With endemics especially, it is key for their conservation that we understand as fully as possible their distribution: your eBird records are therefore vital.

Green Avadavat

Green Avadavat © Rohan Chakravarty

As a teaser for those who are excited by such prospects, here is a modern mystery. Why is it that a species described just four years ago as being “resident in C India… from Rajasthan to Bihar, and S Uttar to N Andhra; scattered records further south”
(Birds of South Asia: The Ripley Guide), has no regular records away from one known small area for at least the last 30 years? The species is of course Green Avadavat, easily seen at Mount Abu in Rajasthan but apparently nowhere else at all! We look forward to an Indian eBirder adding a new chapter to this story…

Global Big Day

Saturday 14 May is also Global Big Day, and your eBird observations will automatically count towards this, the biggest day of birding ever worldwide! India is a major contributor to this event, as you can see from the table below which lists the 66 species (of the total of 6,158) that were only recorded in India in 2015. Will it be more this year? (The Bird Count India Coordinator is currently in Nagaland doing his bit!)

Species Location Observer
1 Mountain Bamboo-Partridge
(Bambusicola fytchii)
Khonoma Shashank Dalvi
2 Snow Partridge
(Lerwa lerwa)
Sela Pass Tony Palliser
3 Koklass Pheasant
(Pucrasia macrolopha)
Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary Sahas Barve
4 Black Baza
(Aviceda leuphotes)
Webi village Saw Isaac
5 Indian Spotted Eagle
(Clanga hastata)
Taal Chhaper ,Rajasthan, India Taksh Sangwan
6 Lesser Fish-Eagle
(Ichthyophaga humilis)
Valparai–Urulikal Checkpost to Manamboli Panchapakesan Jeganathan et al.
7 Andaman Crake
(Rallina canningi)
Webi village Saw Isaac
8 Brown Crake
(Amaurornis akool)
9 Black-bellied Tern
(Sterna acuticauda)
Malkhed-sawanga lake Gajanan Wagh
10 Andaman Cuckoo-Dove
(Macropygia rufipennis)
Webi village Saw Isaac
11 Nicobar Pigeon
(Caloenas nicobarica)
Webi village Saw Isaac
12 Andaman Green-Pigeon
(Treron chloropterus)
Webi village Saw Isaac
13 Andaman Masked-Owl
(Tyto deroepstorffi)
Webi village Saw Isaac
14 Hume’s Hawk-Owl
(Ninox obscura)
Webi village Saw Isaac
15 Andaman Nightjar
(Caprimulgus andamanicus)
Webi village Saw Isaac
16 Ward’s Trogon
(Harpactes wardi)
Eaglenest WLS Ben Schweinhart
17 Crested Kingfisher
(Megaceryle lugubris)
Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary Sahas Barve
18 Freckle-breasted Woodpecker
(Spot-breasted Woodpecker)
(Dendrocopos analis)
Webi village Saw Isaac
19 Crimson-breasted Woodpecker
(Dendrocopos cathpharius)
Eaglenest WLS Ben Schweinhart
20 Andaman Woodpecker
(Dryocopus hodgei)
Webi village Saw Isaac
21 Laggar Falcon
(Falco jugger)
Taal Chhaper ,Rajasthan, India Taksh Sangwan
22 Slender-billed Oriole
(Oriolus tenuirostris)
Laheriasarai Young Birders Club Darbhanga et al.
23 Andaman Treepie
(Dendrocitta bayleii)
Webi village Saw Isaac
24 Malabar Lark
(Galerida malabarica)
Katyayani Plateau Girish Jathar et al.
25 Black-breasted Tit
(Rufous-naped Tit)
(Periparus rufonuchalis)
PATNITOP J&K Parvaiz Shagoo
26 Yellow-cheeked Tit
(Machlolophus spilonotus)
Eaglenest WLS Ben Schweinhart
27 White-throated Tit
(White-throated Bushtit)
(Aegithalos niveogularis)
Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary Sahas Barve
28 Indian Nuthatch
(Sitta castanea)
SGPGI campus, Lucknow Able Lawrence et al.
29 Andaman Bulbul
(Pycnonotus fuscoflavescens)
Webi village Saw Isaac
30 Striated Bulbul
(Pycnonotus striatus)
Eaglenest WLS Ben Schweinhart
31 White-throated Bulbul
(Alophoixus flaveolus)
Thekrejuma Mandar Bhagat
32 Scaly-breasted Cupwing
(Scaly-breasted Wren-babbler)
(Pnoepyga albiventer)
Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary Sahas Barve
33 Ashy-throated Warbler
(Phylloscopus maculipennis)
Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary Sahas Barve
34 Grey-cheeked Warbler
(Seicercus poliogenys)
Eaglenest WLS Ben Schweinhart
35 Bristled Grassbird
(Chaetornis striata)
Mollarber Meghna Banerjee et al.
36 Fire-tailed Myzornis
(Myzornis pyrrhoura)
Sela Pass Tony Palliser
37 White-browed Fulvetta
(Fulvetta vinipectus)
Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary Sahas Barve
38 Black-chinned Babbler
(Cyanoderma pyrrhops)
Sattal–vicinity viral joshi et al.
39 Streak-breasted Scimitar-Babbler
(Pomatorhinus ruficollis)
Eaglenest WLS Ben Schweinhart
40 Yellow-throated Fulvetta
(Schoeniparus cinereus)
Eaglenest WLS Ben Schweinhart
41 Rufous-winged Fulvetta
(Schoeniparus castaneceps)
Eaglenest WLS Ben Schweinhart
42 Ludlow’s Fulvetta
(Brown-throated Fulvetta)
(Alcippe ludlowi)
Sela Pass Tony Palliser
43 Grey-sided Laughingthrush
(Ianthocincla caerulata)
Eaglenest WLS Ben Schweinhart
44 Blue-winged Laughingthrush
(Trochalopteron squamatum)
Eaglenest WLS Ben Schweinhart
45 Black-faced Laughingthrush
(Trochalopteron affine)
Eaglenest WLS Ben Schweinhart
46 Grey Sibia
(Heterophasia gracilis)
Khonoma Shashank Dalvi
47 Beautiful Sibia
(Heterophasia pulchella)
Eaglenest WLS Ben Schweinhart
48 Bugun Liocichla
(Liocichla bugunorum)
Eaglenest WLS Ben Schweinhart
49 Red-faced Liocichla
(Liocichla phoenicea)
Eaglenest WLS Ben Schweinhart
50 Streak-throated Barwing
(Actinodura waldeni)
Eaglenest WLS Ben Schweinhart
51 Rusty-fronted Barwing
(Actinodura egertoni)
Eaglenest WLS Ben Schweinhart
52 White-bellied Shortwing
(White-bellied Blue Robin)
(Brachypteryx albiventris)
Kolukan, Eravikulam National Park ANEES AHAMMED A
53 Spotted Forktail
(Enicurus maculatus)
PATNITOP J&K Parvaiz Shagoo
54 Blue-fronted Robin
(Cinclidium frontale)
Eaglenest WLS Ben Schweinhart
55 Himalayan Bluetail
(Orange-flanked Bush-Robin)
(Tarsiger rufilatus)
Sarahan-Kurgu Road Lakshminarasimha Ranganathan
56 Rufous-breasted Bush-Robin
(Tarsiger hyperythrus)
Sela Pass Tony Palliser
57 Black-and-rufous Flycatcher
(Black-and-orange Flycatcher)
(Ficedula nigrorufa)
Munnar–Meenthotty Arathy S Kumar et al.
58 Sapphire Flycatcher
(Ficedula sapphira)
Eaglenest WLS Ben Schweinhart
59 Scaly Thrush
(Zoothera dauma)
Yuksum Suresh Rana et al.
60 Fire-tailed Sunbird
(Aethopyga ignicauda)
Sela Pass Tony Palliser
61 Long-billed Pipit
(Anthus similis)
Horagina Betta Ankit Vikrant et al.
62 Upland Pipit
(Anthus sylvanus)
Sarahan-Kurgu Road Lakshminarasimha Ranganathan
53 Plain Mountain-Finch
(Leucosticte nemoricola)
Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary Sahas Barve
64 Crimson-browed Finch
(Pinicola subhimachala)
Sela Pass Tony Palliser
65 Dark-breasted Rosefinch
(Carpodacus nipalensis)
Sela Pass Tony Palliser
66 Red-fronted Rosefinch
(Carpodacus puniceus)
Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary Sahas Barve
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