Friday, April 26, 2019

Bird Images at Kanha National Park in Central India

Though a tiger heaven Kanha National Park is an excellent destination for bird watching with more than two hundred species recorded so far. New bird discoveries is a constant happening. The hotspot is rich in forest species though wetland and shore birds can also be checklisted during the winters. 

Some of key resident species are the Malabar Pied Hornbill, Paradise Flycatcher, Indian Pitta, Black Naped Monarch, Shama, Brown Hawk Owl, Brown Wood Owl, Mottled Wood Owl, Serpent Eagle, Hawk Eagle, Honey Buzzard, White Eyed Buzzard, Booted Eagle, Grey Headed Fish Eagle, Jerdon's Baza, Crested Goshawk, Shikra, White Rumped Needletail, Bar Winged Flycatcher Shrike, White Cheecked Orange Headed Thrush, Tickell's Thrush, Pygmy Cotton Teal, Lesser Whistling Teal, and many many more......

Among the winter visitors are the Black Redstart,Tickell's Leaf Warbler, Hume's Warbler, Sulphur Bellied Warbler, Greenish Warbler, Grey Buschat, Siberian Rubythroat, Palas Fish Eagle(Rare), Rufus Bellied Eagle,Verditor Flycatcher, Green Sandpiper, Nortern Pintail, Gray Lag Geese, Bar Headed Goose, Common Teal, Richard's Pipit and more....      

Here are some bird pictures from Kanha

Scarlet Minivet

Isabelline Shrike
Little Egret

Crested Hawk Eagle
Bhamani Starling

White Eyed Buzzard

King Vulture

Black Stork

Black Rumped Flameback

Lesser Adjutant Stork
Honey Buzzard

Richard's Pipit

Honey Buzzard

Blue Capped Rock Thrush

Spotted Owlet

Magpie Robin

Crested Tree Swift Female

Indian Roller

White Backed Vulture Juvenile

Crested Serpent Eagle Juvenile

Large Grey Cuckoo Shrike

White Throated Kingfisher


Twany Babbler

While the birding goes year around the thick canopy in October is stressful though the full range of migrants continue to arrive throughtout the winters. The best period hence is from mid November onwards lasting upto June 15 since rainy weather may impede excusrions after mid June. 

Birding is not allowed on foot in the core area hence jeep safaris are ideal way of watching lovely avian. However on foot birding can take place outside the core in the buffer region. Anoter   

Kanha National Park is not the place for wetlands or shore birds niether it is a place for studying winter migrants. Hence birders should aim for forest birding using good pair of binoculors and a medium sized lens perhaps upto 600mm. A bean bag and a tripod will be very helpful. 

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Summer Birding & Tiger Safari at Kanha

Ideal time for birding is summers in Kanha National Park. Ironically it is neglected season for the avian whereas the tiger chase is on.  As the heat increases and canopy slims down the visibility of birds becomes higher but by this time the migrants have departed but any way few migrants species do not a summer make. 

The season picks up with nesting of Sun Birds followed by courtship of paradise flycatchers. These are striking in their breeding plumage. Another target species is the Indian Pitta which can be seen lazing along a little bit of shade in the ground which the Orange Headed Thrush roams. Early summer is the time to find the blue capped rock thrush. This is a passage migrant to the North. Painted francolin, white bellied drongo, white browed flycatcher, white eyed buzzard, crested hawk and serpent eagles, grey headed fishing eagle, brown fish owl, streak throated woodpecker, rufous woodpecker, white naped woodpecker, brown fish owl, yellow crowned woodpecker, brown headed pygmy woodpecker, spot bellied eagle owl.....

Malabar Pied Hornbill anytime anywhere takes the cake a sighting comparable to that of a big cat. This is also the breeding time for white rumped shama the magical songstar and the common Iora another lovely singer. Tickell's flower pecker can be photographed with greater ease during this season.So can be the Indian scimitar babbler, black naped flycatcher, scarlet minivet, white bellied minivet, white rumped minivet and scaly bellied minivet. Tickell's flower pecker's pink nest is a wonder to see. The orioles also become active in this season and breed. 

The shrunk water bodies become niche habitats for unseen or rarely seen birds since water is essential ...a patient watch would fetch a sight of bay banded cuckoo, grey bellied cuckoo, oriental scops owl, some crakes and rails.....this is like waiting at water for the tiger which often surfaces during the summer months.... 

The list of birds seen at Kanha National Park is endless. Birding should be combined with tiger safaris which I believe most people do. This write up highlights bird watching at Kanha since it get subdued under the glare of the mega fauna. 
Juv. White Backed Vulture


Crested Serpent Eagle

Sirkeer Malkoha

Wooly Necked Stork

Adjutant Stork

White Rumped Shama

Indian Scops Owl

Black Stork

Indian Scimitar Babbler

Jungle Owlet

Alexandrine Parakeet
Isabelline Shrike

Malabar Pied Hornbill
Uday is naturalist at Kanha
Contact :

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Brood Parasitism in Cuckoos

I once observed a female crow merrily feeding a large cuckoo chick in its nest. This seemed bizarre in the early stage of bird watching in my hometown Jabalpur. But little bit of reading enlightened me about brood or social parasitism among the birds especially the cuckoos of sub family Cuculinae of family Cuculidae.

The crow seemed entirely convinced about the chick being its own and was feeding it with great devotion like any other mother would. What really I was witnessing is a parasitic behaviour where a species was using another for hatching and rearing its brood as a way of alternate breeding behaviour. 

The process begins with the female cuckoo laying its egg in the host nest. She may remove the host nest and place her own or in certain instances to mitigate competition for food or this will not happen and the parasitic chick shares food with the host chicks. Sometimes the nest may be ejected by the growing parasite chick in order to reduce competition. 

The egg may resemble the host eggs in order to reduce the chances of  rejection. This is known as egg mimicry. I certain cases like hawk cuckoo and Indian cuckoo the bird mimics accipiters in appearance thus frightening the host from the nest whence she comes to lay an egg. 

Babblers and corvids have been seen to be preferred hosts of the cub family cuculinae.  

Not all cuckoos are parasitic as may the case with Coucal of sub family centropodinae and genus centropus which builds its own nest. 

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Some Birds of Kanha in Pictures & Checklist

Julien Gonin Birder France & Guests at Courtyard House Kanha

Though the surprise find was the crimson sunbird at Kanha National Park, I could not photograph it. My guests did perhaps?  I managed to photograph the Malabar Pied Hornbill and White Cheeked Orange Headed Ground Thrush. We saw many other species like:

  1. Crimson Sunbird
  2. Verditor Flycatcher
  3. Blue Capped Rock Thrush
  4. White Cheeked Orange Headed Ground Thrush
  5. Chestnut Bellied Nuthatch
  6. Brown Capped Pygmy Woodpecker
  7. Black Naped Monarch
  8. Black Rumped Flameback
  9. White Naped Woodpecker
  10. Blyth's Leaf Warbler 
  11. Greenish Warbler
  12. Hume's Warbler
  13. White Browed Flycatcher
  14. Puff Throated Warbler
  15. Barred Jungle Owlet
  16. Indian Scops Owl
  17. Honey Buzzard
  18. Grey Francolin
  19. Brown Cheeked Fulvetta
  20. Brown Headed Barbet
  21. Alexandrine Parakeet
  22. Plum Headed Parakeet
  23. Rose Ringed Parakeet
  24. Large Grey Cuckooshrike
  25. Common Hawk Cuckoo
  26. Shikra
  27. Crested Serpent Eagle
  28. Wooly Necked Stork
  29. Black Stork
  30. Lesser Whistling Teal
  31. Common Teal
  32. Green Sandpiper
  33. Eurasian Thicknee
  34. Yellow Wattled Lapwing
  35. Red Wattled Lapwing
  36. White Bellied Drongo
  37. Racket Tailed Drongo
  38. Common Kestrel
  39. Crested Serpent Eagle
  40. Crested Hawk Eagle
  41. Plain Prinia
  42. Ashy Prinia
  43. Magpie Robin
  44. Red Rumped Swallow
  45. Barn Swallow
  46. Wire Tailed Swallow
  47. Streak Throated Swallow
  48. Plain Martin
  49. Dusky Crag Martin
  50. Crested Treeswift
  51. Black Headed Oriole
  52. Golden Oriole
  53. Coucal
  54. Indian Roller
  55. Paradise Flycatcher
  56. Common Woodshrike
  57. White Rumped Shama
  58. Large Billed Crow
  59. Gray Headed Canary Flycatcher
  60. Brahminy Myna
  61. Thick Billed Flowerpecker
  62. White Eye
  63. Golden Fronted Leafbird
  64. Pied Starling
  65. Rufus treepie
  66. Great Tit
  67.  Black Lored Tit
  68.  Red Naped Ibis 
  69. Little Egret
  70. Black Redstart
  71. Scarlet Minivet
  72. Sirkeer Malkoha
  73. Green Pigeon
  74. Oriental Turtle Dove
  75. Spotted Dove
  76. Indian Silver Bill
  77. Peacock
  78. Red Spurfowl
  79. Red Jungle Fowl
  80. Black Shouldered Kite
  81. Common Kingfisher
  82. Whitethroated Kingfisher
  83. Grey Breasted Prinia
  84. Paddyfield Pipit
  85. Crimson Barbet
  86. Brown Shrike
  87. Long Tailed Shrike
  88. Little Grebe
Malabar Pied Hornbill

Orange Headed Ground Thrush

Sirkeer Malkoha 

Green Pigeon

Wooly necked Stork

White Backed Vulture

Scarlet Minivet

We head a good bird watching trip at Kanha but we also spent lot of time searching for tigers and other enchanting mammals.

Julien Gonin is a professional birder and organises tours for bird watching and wildlife.

Uday Works as Sr. Naturalist at Kanha National Park. He can be reached at

Monday, October 1, 2018

Hari Lama : Birding Guide Extraordinaire

Hari Lama Birding Guide in Himalayas

Born in Nepal, Hari Lama has been birding seen ages in Nepal and Northern India. He has excellent command of birds in the region and hence guides birders from India and Overseas every year. I have accompanied him bird watching tour as tour leader in Nainital District namely at Corbett Tiger Reserve, Sat Tal, Pangot and surrounding areas.    

Being mild mannered, trustable and with sense of humour he is much wanted as a guide. He has many years of experience and knows the area of his study very well. Here are some of the images associated with him. He has worked with many tour operators and worked as freelance as well. His greater interest is working as freelance guide in Northern India. He can speak and understand English, Hindi and Nepali. 

Birding Group 

Brown Wood Owl 

Cheer Pheasant 

Crested Kingfisher 

Hari Lama

Rufus Throated Partridge 

Twany Eagle

Twany Eagle + Red Billed Blue Magpie

Wedge Tailed Green Pigeon