Sexes alike. Small ear tufts and upright posture. Greyish-brown above, profusely marked whitish; buffy nuchal collar diagnostic; buffy-white underbody, streaked and mottled dark. The very similar Indian Scops Owl O. bakkamoena is mostly distinguished by its call. Solitary or in pairs; remains motionless during day in thick, leafy branches or at junctions of stems and branches; very difficult to spot; flies around dusk.
very local resident
Collared Scops Owl
Male: rich grass-green plumage; hooked, heavy red beak; deep red shoulder-patch; rose-pink collar and black stripe from lower mandible to collar distinctive. Female: smaller and lacks the collar and black stripe. Yellow under tail in both sexes. Both small flocks and large gatherings; feeds on fruiting trees in orchards and on standing crops, often causing extensive damage; strong flier; roosts along with other birds at favoured sites.
Sexes alike. Black above; noticeable crest; white in wings and white tip to long tail feathers diagnostic in flight; white underbody. Young birds, seen in
autumn, are dull sooty-brown with indistinct crests; white areas dull fulvous. Solitary or in small parties of 4 to 6; arboreal; occasionally descends to ground to feed on insects; arrives just before SW monsoon by end of May; noisy and active, chasing one another; mobbed by crows on arrival.
Sexes alike. Elongated central tail feathers. Greenish above, with faint blue wash on wings; bluish rump, tail diagnostic; yellow upper throat-patch with chestnut throat and upper breast; slightly curved black beak, broad black stripe through eye. The very similar Blue-cheeked Bee-eater M. persicus (31cm) has a dull-white and blue-green cheek-patch. In good light, the greenish rump and tail help identification. Usually small flocks, frequently in vicinity of water; launches short, elegant flights from wire or tree perch; characteristic flight, a few quick wingbeats and a stately glide.
Sexes alike. Bright blue above, greenish on wings; top of head finely banded black and blue; ferruginous cheeks, ear-coverts and white patch on sides of neck; white chin and throat and deep ferruginous underbody distinctive; coral-red legs and blackish beak. Solitary or in scattered pairs; never found away from water; perches on pole or overhanging branch; flies low over water, a brilliant blue streak, uttering its shrill notes; sometimes tame and confiding; dives for fish from perch; occasionally hovers over water before diving.
Male: brownish-black above, spotted all over with white; golden-brown forehead and crown; small scarlet crest; pale fulvous below throat, streaked brown; scarlet patch in centre of abdomen distinctive. Female: lacks scarlet crest. Solitary or pairs; sometimes small bands of up to 6 birds; occasionally seen with mixed hunting parties; moves in jerks along tree stems and branches; hunts in typical woodpecker manner; rather confiding in some areas; birds keep in touch with faint creaking sounds.
Brown-capped Pygmy Woodpecker
Small woodpecker. Male: barred brown and white above; paler crown with short, scarlet streak (occipital); prominent white band from just above eyes extends to neck; pale dirty-brown-white below, streaked black. Female: like male but lacks the scarlet streaks on sides of crown. The male Grey-capped Pygmy Woodpecker D. canicapillus (14cm) of the Himalaya has short scarlet occipital crest; black upper back and white-barred lower back and rump. Mostly in pairs; often a part of mixed bird parties in forest; seen more on smaller trees, branches and twigs, close to ground and also high in canopy; quite active.
Indian Spot-billed Duck
Sexes alike. Blackish-brown plumage, feathers edged paler; almost white head and neck; black cap; dark, broad eye-stripe; green speculum bordered above with white; black bill tipped yellow; coral-red legs and feet. Pairs or small parties walk on marshy land and wet cultivation, or up-end in shallow water; usually does not associate with other ducks; when injured, can dive and remain underwater, holding on to submerged vegetation with only bill exposed.
Male: white head and neck, speckled black; fleshy knob (comb) on top of beak; black back has purple green gloss; greyish lower back; white lower-neck collar and underbody; short black bars extend on sides of upper breast and flanks. Female: duller, smaller; lacks comb. Small parties, either on water or in trees over water; nests in tree cavities; feeds on surface and in cultivation; can also dive.
Sexes alike, but female slightly smaller than male; grey plumage; naked red head and upper neck; young birds are brownish-grey, with rusty-brown on head. Pairs, family parties or flocks; also feeds along with other waterbirds; known to pair for life and usually well-protected in northern and west-central India, but habitat loss continues to be a grave threat; flies under 12 metres off ground.