Sexes alike. Rufous above; sooty grey-brown head and neck; black, white and grey on wings, best seen in flight; black-tipped, grey tail, long and graduated. Pairs or small parties; often seen in mixed hunting parties, appearing as leader of pack; feeds up in trees, but also descends low into bushes and onto ground to pick up termites; bold and noisy; rather tame and confiding in certain areas. The Grey Treepie D. formosae replaces the Rufous Treepie at higher altitudes.
Sexes alike. Pale grey from crown to middle of back; bright rufous from then on to the rump; black forehead, band through eye; white ‘mirror’ in black wings; whitish underbody, tinged pale rufous on lower breast and flanks. Mostly solitary; boldly defends feeding territory; keeps lookout from conspicuous perch; pounces onto ground on sighting prey; said to store surplus in ‘larder’, impaling prey on thorns; nicknamed Butcher-bird.
Uniformly rufousbrown upperparts; black band through the eye with a white brow over it. Pale creamy underside with warmer rufous flanks; rufous tail. Wings brown without any white ‘mirror’. Female has faint scalloping on the underside. Solitary; keeps lookout from conspicuous perch or tree stump for prey on the ground, often returning to the same perch after hunting; territorial.
Sexes alike. A large black and white stork with red legs; glossy black crown, back and breast and huge wings, the black parts having a distinct purplish-green sheen; white neck, lower abdomen and under tail-coverts; long, stout bill black, occasionally tinged crimson. In young birds, the glossy black is replaced by dark brown. Solitary or in small scattered parties, feeding along with other storks, ibises and egrets; stalks on dry land too; settles on trees.
Sexes alike. Glossy black plumage; slender, blackish-green, down-curved beak; red warts on naked black head; white shoulder-patch; brick-red legs. The Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus is deep maroon-brown above, with purple-green gloss from head to lower back; feathered head and lack of white shoulder-patch distinctive. Small parties; spends most time on the drier edges of marshes and jheels; when feeding in shallow water, often feeds along with other ibises, storks, spoonbills.
Black-crowned Night Heron
Short, thick-set heron with stout black bill; adult has black crown, mantle, scapulars; short white supercilium and forehead; white to pale grey underparts; pearl grey wings; two long, white, nape plumes when breeding; large, ruby red eyes; in flight, broad, rounded, grey wings, with dark back and short, thick neck diagnostic; juvenile brown, streaked and spotted buff-white above, buff, streaked with brown below; solitary or in scattered flocks when feeding; communal diurnal rooster and breeder; often near habitation; crepuscular and nocturnal.
Medium-sized white egret variable in size and difficult to tell apart from Great, except for shorter, thicker, less curved neck; shorter, finer bill; shorter, less extensive gape; breeding bird has breast and tail plumes, crest, but no head plumes; black bill, legs, feet; yellow-green facial skin; non-breeding bird has yellow bill; black, rather than yellow feet, yellow bill of nonbreeding bird, and larger size distinguish it from Little; somewhat gregarious; small scattered or mixed hunting flocks; colonial breeder.
Largest of the region’s white egrets; long-legged and very long-necked; can be told from Intermediate and other egrets by size, leaner, lankier appearance, and distinct bend in the neck; long gape extends beyond eye; breeding adult has short breast plumes, longer, finer plumes on back; black bill, blue facial skin; reddish upper legs; non-breeding bill yellow, no plumes; heavier, slower flight than Intermediate; solitary; not very gregarious; occasionally with other egrets; communal rooster and breeder.
Sexes alike. A long-legged, long-necked bird of open marshes. Ashygrey above; white crown, neck and underparts; black stripe after eye continues as long, black crest; blackdotted band down centre of foreneck; dark blue-black flight feathers; golden-yellow iris at close range. Mostly solitary except when breeding; occasionally enters shallow water; usually stands motionless, head pulled in between shoulders, waiting for prey to come close; characteristic flight, with head pulled back and long legs trailing.
Indian Pond Heron
Sexes alike. A small heron, commonest of family in India; thick-set and earthybrown in colour, with dull green legs; bill bluish at base, yellowish at centre with black tip; neck and legs shorter than in true egrets. Difficult to sight when settled; suddenly springs to notice with a flash of white wings, tail and rump. Breeding: buffy-brown head and neck; white chin and upper throat, longish crest; rich maroon back; buff-brown breast. Non-breeding: streaked dark brown head and neck; grey-brown back and shoulders; more white in plumage. Found around water, even dirty roadside puddles; ubiquitous in the plains; found in hills up to 1,200m; remains motionless in mud or up to ankles in water, or slowly stalks prey. Hunts alone; roosts in groups with other pond herons and occasionally crows.