Small, dark brown swallow, almost always found near water; upperparts dark brown, wing edges slightly darker, with white throat, half collar and belly contrasting sharply with clearly marked dark brown breast band; clearly forked tail; distinguished from Plain by white throat and half collar distinctly demarcated from dark ear coverts and breast band; gregarious; always with other swallows and swifts; hunts aerially with smallbilled, wide-gaped mouth over water; perches on exposed overhead wires or branches.
very local resident
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.
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.
Polyandrous. Breeing female: metallic-olive above, thickly marked buff and black; buff stripe down crown centre; chestnut throat, breast and sides of neck; white below breast. Breeding male: duller overall; lacks chestnut. Sexes difficult to distinguish when not in breeding plumage. Crepuscular and nocturnal; solitary or a few scattered birds; feeds in squelchy mud but also moves on drier ground; runs on landing.
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.