Sexes alike. Sandy-brown above, streaked blackish; pointed, upstanding crest distinctive; brown tail has dull rufous outer feathers; whitish and dull yellowish-brown below, the breast streaked dark brown. The Malabar G. malabarica (15cm) and Sykes’s Crested Larks G. deva (13cm) are very similar, but overall plumage is darker, more rufous-brown; also both are birds of peninsular and S India. Small flocks, breaking into pairs when breeding; runs briskly on ground, the pointed crest carried upstanding; also settles on bush tops, stumps, wire fences, overhead wires.
very local resident
Sexes alike. Yellowishbrown above, streaked black; rich chestnut-rufous on wings, easily seen when bird in flight: pale white chin and throat, dull yellowish-brown below; blackish, triangular spots on breast. Pairs or small flocks; moves quietly on ground, running about or perching on small stones or bush tops; squats tight when approached but takes to wing when intruder very close; spectacular display flight, accompanied by singing, when breeding; indulges in display flights in the night too.
Large Grey Babbler
Sexes alike. Grey-brown above; dark centres to feathers on back give streaked look; greyer forehead; long graduated tail cross-rayed with white outer feathers, conspicuous in flight; fulvous-grey below. Gregarious; flocks in open country, sometimes dozens together; extremely noisy; moves on ground and in medium-sized trees; hops about, turning over leaves on ground; weak flight, never for long; at any sign of danger, the flock comes together.
Blyth’s Reed Warbler
Plain, olive or grey-brown warbler, with the long, sloping forehead and ‘linear’ look of the typical Acrocephalus warbler; short, diffuse buff-brown supercilium, not very visible behind eye; fresh plumage is olive brown above, pale below, with buff washed flanks, breast, vent; worn plumage is olive grey above, whiter below,
with grey wash; usually solitary; moves inconspicuously through undergrowth, bushes and trees; often flicks, flares tail.
Male: jet-black, spotted and marked white and fulvous; white cheeks; chestnut collar, belly and under tail-coverts. Female: browner where male is black; rufous nuchal patch; no white cheeks or chestnut collar. Solitary or small parties in high grass and edges of canals; emerges in the open in the early mornings; sometimes cocks tail.
Sexes alike. Glossy steel-blue above; chestnut supercilium, sides of head, neck-collar and rump; dull rufous-white below, streaked brown; deeply forked tail
diagnostic. Small parties spend much of the day on the wing; the migrant, winter-visiting race nipalensis, is highly gregarious; hawks insects along with other birds; freely perches on overhead wires, thin branches of bushes and trees; hunts insects amongst the most crowded areas of towns, over markets and refuse heaps, flying with amazing agility, wheeling and banking and stooping with remarkable mastery.
Sexes alike. Grey back; black crown continued along sides of neck to broad black band from chin along centre of underbody; white cheeks, nape-patch, wing
bar and outer feathers of black tail; ashy-white sides. The White-naped Tit P. nuchalis of W India lacks black on neck sides; has extensive white in wings and sides of body. Pairs or small bands, often with other small birds; restless, clings upside down, and indulges in all sorts of acrobatic displays as it hunts amongst leaves and branches; holds food fast between feet and pecks at it noisily; tame and confiding.
Male: deep blue above and sides of head, neck and breast, forming a broken breast-band; long white eyebrow; white in tail; white below. Female: dull-slaty above; grey-white below. The eastern race aestigma lacks white over eye and in tail. Solitary or in pairs; seen in mixed parties during winter; active, hunts in characteristic flycatcher style; rarely ventures into open.
Glossy blue-black head, crest and throat; black in wings; silvery-white body, long tail-streamers. In rufous phase white parts replaced by rufous chestnut. Female and young male: 20cm. No tail-streamers; shorter crest; rufous above; ashy-grey throat and nuchal collar; whitish below. Solitary or pairs; makes short sallies; flits through trees, the tail-streamers floating; strictly arboreal, sometimes descending into taller bushes; cheerful disposition.
Smaller, darker cuckooshrike; adult male has dark grey head, mantle, breast; black wings; paler grey belly, vent; tail feathers tipped white, giving impression of large white spots; darkest of the cukooshrikes; female paler grey; faint barring on undersides; sometimes has white ring above and below eye; racial variations; singly, or in pairs; gregarious; often joins other insectivores in bird waves; arboreal; actively hunts for insects in foliage of upper forest storeys, occasionally in undergrowth.