Small, compact, pale sandy grey Calandrella lark, with fine, mostly pale bill and legs; weakly streaked above, though crown may have more distinct streaking; whitish below, with faint streaks on breast; well-defined pale supercilium; white crescent below eye stripe; pale ear covert patch; looks chunkier than other Shorttoed larks; sometimes raises a short, rounded crest; short primary projection; found in small flocks; runs along the ground in short sprints; male displays aerially over territory
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.
Ashy-crowned Sparrow Lark
Thickish beak. Male: sandy-brown above; white cheeks and sides of breast; dark chocolate-brown sides of face and most of underbody; dark brown tail with whitish outer feathers. Female: sandy-brown overall; dull rufous sides of face and underbody. Mostly loose flocks, scattered over an area; pairs or small parties when breeding; feed on ground; fond of dusty areas, where large numbers may squat about; sandy colouration makes it impossible to spot the birds, but when disturbed, large numbers suddenly take wing; superb display flight of male.
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.
Familiar, plain, dull-coloured babbler, with somewhat variable grey-brown plumage; lightly streaked on mantle, scapulars; lightly mottled and streaked on paler underparts; sturdy pale yellow bill; white irises, pale yellowish eye ring; short dark brow giving an irate appearance; very gregarious; always in parties of six or more; noisy, skittish, easily alarmed; constantly contactcalling within the group; often the first birds in a mixed group to give the alarm; forages on ground in leaf litter, but also flies into bushes and trees.
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.
Sexes alike. Dull brown above, profusely streaked; brown wings; olivish-brown tail long and graduated, crossrayed darker; dull white throat; pale fulvous underbody, streaked on breast sides. Pairs or small bands in open scrub; skulker, working its way low in bush or on ground; moves with peculiar bouncing hop on the ground, the long, loose-looking tail cocked up; extremely wary, vanishing into scrub at slightest alarm; weak flight, evident when flock moves from one scrub patch to another, in ones and twos.
Sexes alike. Rufous-brown above; whitish lores, short supercilium; yellow eye (iris) and orange-yellow eye-rim distinctive at close range; cinnamon wings; long, graduated tail; white below, tinged pale fulvous on flanks and abdomen. Pairs or small bands in tall grass and undergrowth; noisy but skulking, suddenly clambering into view for a few seconds, before vanishing once again; works its way along stems and leaves, hunting insects; short, jerky flight.
Sexes alike. Olive-green above; rust-red fore-crown; buffy-white underbody; dark spot on throat sides, best seen in calling male; long, pointed tail, often held erect; central tail feathers about 5cm longer and pointed in breeding male. One of India’s best-known birds; usually in pairs together; rather common amidst habitation, but keeps to bushes in gardens; remains unseen even when at arm’s length, but very vocal; tail often cocked, carried almost to the back; clambers up into trees more than other related warblers.
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.