Small raptor, similar in size to Shikra, but darker; adult male dark slate grey above, with more pronounced rufous-orange barring on underparts, barred tail, no mesial stripe, no contrasting wing-tips; in flight, barred underwing conspicuous; female darker grey-brown above, brown-barred below, with white supercilium; juvenile dark brown streaked with rufous above; racial variations; solitary, or in pairs; hunts like Shikra, though methods differ between sexes: male surprises small prey by swooping from cover, female larger prey in the open, after survey flight.
Eurasian Marsh Harrier
Male: dark brown plumage; dull rufous head and breast; silvery-grey wings, tail; black wing-tips (best seen in flight). Female (and young): chocolate-brown; buff on head and shoulders; like Black Kite, but tail rounded (not forked). Solitary or in pairs; sails low over a marsh, grassland or cultivation; often drops onto ground, frequently vanishing in dense grass and reed growth; perches on mounds or edges of marshes.
Crested Serpent Eagle
Sexes alike; female larger. Dark brown plumage; roundish, pied crest, visible when erected; pale brown below, finely spotted white; in overhead flight, the dark body, white bars along the wings and white tail-band confirm identity; characteristic call. Solitary or in pairs, flying over forest, often very high, calling frequently; perches on leafy branches; swoops down on prey, snatching it in its talons; raises crest when alarmed.
Sexes alike. Dark brown plumage; forked tail, easily seen in flight; underparts faintly streaked. The Black-eared Kite M. m. lineatus breeds in Himalaya and winters in N and C India, is slightly larger and has a conspicuous white patch on the underwing, visible in overhead flight. Common and gregarious; most common near humans, thriving on the refuse generated, often amidst most crowded localities; roosts communally.
Sexes alike. Pale greywhite plumage, whiter on head, neck and underbody; short black stripe through eye; black shoulder-patches and wing-tips distinctive at rest and in flight; blood-red eyes. Young: upper body tinged brown, with pale edges to feathers. Usually solitary or in pairs; rests on exposed perch or flies over open scrub and grass country; mostly hunts on wing, regularly hovering like a kestrel to scan ground; drops height to check when hovering, with legs held ready.
Sexes alike. Slender head and longish neck distinctive; tail rarely fanned. Highly variable phases. Mostly darkish brown above; crest rarely visible; pale brown underbody, with narrow whitish bars; pale underside of wings barred; broad dark subterminal tail-band; two or three more bands on tail; tarsus unfeathered. Solitary or in pairs, perched on forest trees or flying; often enters villages and outskirts of small towns.
Sexes alike. Black markings on crown; silvery-grey-white plumage; long, narrow wings and slightly forked, almost squarish tail; short red legs and red beak
distinctive. Summer: jet-black cap and snow-white cheeks (whiskers); black belly. At rest, closed wings extend beyond tail. Large numbers fly about a marsh or tidal creek, leisurely but methodically, beak pointed down; dive from about 5m height but turn when just about to touch the ground, picking up insects in the process; also hunts flying insects over standing crops.
Sexes alike. Winter, when in India, greyish-white plumage; dark ear patches; white outer flight feathers, with black tips. Summer breeding: coffee-brown head and upper neck, sometimes acquired just before migration. The Brown-headed Gull C. brunnicephalus is larger and has white patches (mirrors) on black wing-tips. Highly gregarious; large flocks on sea coasts, scavenges in harbours; wheels over busy seaside roads or beaches; large numbers rest on rocky ground and sand; follow boats in harbours.
Sexes alike. Brown forehead; sandy-grey above; during breeding has black stripe from eye to beak; white, squarish tail, tipped black; smoky-brown underbody has a rufous wash; whiter on lower breast and abdomen; long, narrow wings and short legs. The Collared Pratincole G. pratincola is larger, with a forked tail and black loop on the throat. Gregarious; large flocks over an open expanse, close to water; very swallow-like in demeanour; strong and graceful flight over water surface, catching insects on wing; flies high in late evening.
Sexes alike. Jet-black cap, bordered with white; sandy-brown upper body; black band in white tail; in flight, white bar in black wings; black chin and throat;
sandy-brown breast; black band on lower breast; white below; yellow lappets above and in front of eyes and yellow legs diagnostic. Solitary or in pairs, rarely small gatherings; sometimes with the more common Red-wattled Lapwing V. indicus; as a rule, prefers drier habitat; quiet and unobtrusive; feeds on ground, moving suspiciously.