Kabini Diaries Part II – Birds of Kabini

Do Read Kabini Diaries – Part I in case you would like to know more about the place. 


Common Raven

A raven is one of several larger-bodied members of the genus Corvus. These species do not form a single taxonomic group within the genus, but share similar characteristics and appearances that generally separate them from other crows. The largest raven species are the common raven and the thick-billed raven.

As we approached our resort in Kabini the lush green fields complimented by dark rain clouds made us stop and breath in the beauty. That’s when we spotted this darker than black little fellow. Who says black (read dark) is not beautiful?


Indian Pond Heron

The Indian pond heron or paddy bird (Ardeola grayii) is a small heron. It is of Old World origins, breeding in southern Iran and east toPakistan, India, Burma, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. They are widespread and common but can be easily missed when they stalk prey at the edge of small water-bodies or even when they roost close to human habitations. They are however distinctive when they take off with bright white wings flashing in contrast to the cryptic streaked olive and brown colours of the body. Their camouflage is so excellent that they can be approached closely before they take to flight, a behaviour which has resulted in folk names and beliefs that the birds are short-sighted or blind.

We almost missed him since we were busy tracking the alarm calls which ended being false alarms. There’s some relation between false alarms and me. Both the girls gave me so many of them throughout the pregnancies and the jungle safaris too bring them on most of the times.


Changeable Hawk-eagle or Crested Hawk-eagle 

Changeable hawk-eagles breed in the Indian subcontinent, mainly in India and Sri Lanka, and from the southeast rim of the Himalayaacross Southeast Asia to Indonesia and the Philippines. This is a bird occurring singly (outside mating season) in open woodland, although island forms prefer a higher tree density. It builds a stick nest in a tree and lays a single egg.

The light showers gave her goosebumps and my constant clicking annoyed her enough to run from one branch to another, from one tree to another. But I still caught her. Completely drenched. Her eyes begging for some privacy in her own home.


Crested Serpent Eagle

The crested serpent eagle (Spilornis cheela) is a medium-sized bird of prey that is found in forested habitats across tropical Asia. All members within the species complex have a large looking head with long feathers on the back of the head giving them a maned and crested appearance. The face is bare and yellow joining up with the ceres while the powerful feet are unfeathered and heavily scaled. They fly over the forest canopy on broad wings and tail have wide white and black bars. They call often with a loud, piercing and familiar three or two-note call. They often feed on snakes, giving them their name and are placed along with the Circaetus snake-eagles in the subfamily Circaetinae.



Indian Peafowl

The Indian peafowl or blue peafowl (Pavo cristatus), a large and brightly coloured bird, is a species of peafowl native to South Asia, but introduced in many other parts of the world. The male peafowl is predominantly blue with a fan-like crest of spatula-tipped wire-like feathers and is best known for the long train made up of elongated upper-tail covert feathers which bear colourful eyespots. These stiff feathers are raised into a fan and quivered in a display during courtship. Females lack the train, and have a greenish lower neck and duller brown plumage. The Indian peafowl lives mainly on the ground in open forest or on land under cultivation where they forage for berries, grains but also prey on snakes, lizards, and small rodents. Their loud calls make them easy to detect, and in forest areas often indicate the presence of a predator such as a tiger. They forage on the ground in small groups and usually try to escape on foot through undergrowth and avoid flying, though they fly into tall trees to roost.

East of West, India is the Best. Similarly, travel all around the world but this handsome chap will still steal your heart with his perfectly coloured body and a beautiful spread of feathers with rich, vivid and varied hues. Can never afford to miss clicking one.


Common Kingfisher

The common kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) also known as the Eurasian kingfisher, and river kingfisher, is a small kingfisher with seven subspecies recognized within its wide distribution across Eurasia and North Africa. It is resident in much of its range, but migrates from areas where rivers freeze in winter. This sparrow-sized bird has the typical short-tailed, large-headed kingfisher profile; it has blue upperparts, orange underparts and a long bill. It feeds mainly on fish, caught by diving, and has special visual adaptations to enable it to see prey under water. The glossy white eggs are laid in a nest at the end of a burrow in a riverbank.

While everyone in my safari canter was busy deciding whether a bunch of dried leaves in the bushes was a leopard or not, I managed to click these fellows on the far end of the large pond in the jungle. Felt so so happy and proud to have spotted them and clicked them without annoying them.


Orange-headed Thrush

The orange-headed thrush (Geokichla citrina) is a bird in the thrush family. It is common in well-wooded areas of the Indian Subcontinent and Southeast Asia. Most populations are resident. The species shows a preference for shady damp areas, and like many Zoothera thrushes, can be quite secretive. The orange-headed thrush is omnivorous, eating a wide range of insects, earthworms and fruit. It nests in trees but does not form flocks. The male of this small thrush has uniform grey upperparts, and an orange head and underparts. The females and young birds have browner upper parts.

I had never seen one before. Tried to identify with Google Baba’s help but I guess an amateur can’t just survive on Google’s skills. Then found the ID through the Indian Birds group on Facebook. Such a wonderful group of professionals ever ready to help. Much needed space for newbies like me.


Black-rumped flameback or Lesser golden-back woodpecker

The black-rumped flameback (Dinopium benghalense), also known as the lesser golden-backed woodpecker or lesser goldenback, is a woodpecker found widely distributed in the Indian subcontinent. It is one of the few woodpeckers that are seen in urban areas. It has a characteristic rattling-whinnying call and an undulating flight. It is the only golden-backed woodpecker with a black throat and black rump. The adult male has a red crown and crest. Females have a black forecrown spotted with white, with red only on the rear crest. Young birds are like the female, but duller.

The last time I had spotted him was at the Bagh in Bharatpur. He was playing hide and seek then. And at Kabini, this fellow seemed to be in no rush as we went click, click and click.



Streak-throated woodpecker

The streak-throated woodpecker (Picus xanthopygaeus) is a species of woodpecker found in the Indian subcontinent. A medium-sized, green woodpecker with streaked throat and scaly whitish underparts. Green above with yellowish rump, white supercilia and white and black moustache. Crown red in male, blackish in female. Tail dark and plain. Small, dark bill.

In the woods, your luck plays a great role. Sometimes you can spot a couple, or an entire family, or a parent with their offspring, or an entire community. These husband and wife pair were spotted in close proximity but I couldn’t manage them in one frame. Nevertheless, it was a joy clicking them.



Indian Roller

The Indian roller (Coracias benghalensis), is a member of the roller family of birds. They are found widely across tropical Asia stretching from Iraq eastward across the Indian Subcontinent to Indochina and are best known for the aerobatic displays of the male during the breeding season. They are very commonly seen perched along roadside trees and wires and are commonly seen in open grassland and scrub forest habitats. It is not migratory, but undertakes some seasonal movements. The largest populations of the species are withinIndia, and several states in India have chosen it as their state bird.

We were stationed at one of the locations identifying the alarm calls. There was information that a black panther was in the premises with its kill. I got tired of looking into the bushes in vain and as I turned around I saw this beauty on a nearby tree. The couple pic was clicked a little ahead on another tree. Just in time before they flew.



The hoopoe is a colourful bird found across Afro-Eurasia, notable for its distinctive “crown” of feathers. It is the only extant species in the family Upupidae. One insular species, the Saint Helena hoopoe, is extinct, and the Madagascar subspecies of the hoopoe is sometimes elevated to a full species.

He can be found in the nearby children’s park and hence I wasn’t very keen on clicking him. But he kept posing and attracting me enough to make the ‘effort’. Technology and human brain are no match for nature.


Yellow-footed green pigeon

The yellow-footed green pigeon (Treron phoenicoptera), also known as yellow-legged green pigeon, is a common species of green pigeon found in the Indian subcontinent. It is the state bird of Maharashtra.[2][3] In Marathi it is called Hariyal. The species feeds on fruit, including many species of Ficus. They forage in flocks. In the early morning they are often seen sunning on the tops of emergent trees in dense forest areas. They especially are found sitting in couples on tree branches.

You have heard the phrase ‘Ghar ki murgi daal barabar’…right? We have an entire family resident on one of the trees near my kitchen window and hence I wasn’t impressed. But still I clicked because I have never got the complete body in one frame. Either they are partially visible from behind the branches or leaves, or they just show their face to tease me.

My ten-year-old and I were probably the only one on the safari keen on birds. Everyone else was more interested in the cats. I wish the next time I visit Kabini, I have a better company to be able to capture the numerous ones that I missed this time around.


The details of the birds have been collected from Wikipedia. All the pictures are clicked by me using Nikon P900.

Don’t miss reading Kabini Diaries – Part I 


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