sparse winter visitor

Common Stonechat

Male: black above; white rump, wing-patch and sides of neck/breast (collar); black throat; orange-rufous breast. In winter, black feathers broadly edged
buff-rufous-brown. Female: rufous-brown above, streaked darker; unmarked yellowishbrown below; white wing-patch and rufous rump. Solitary or in pairs in open country; perches on small bush tops, fence-posts and boulders; restless, makes short trips to ground to capture insects, soon returning to perch.

Black Redstart

Male: black above (marked with grey in winter); grey crown and lower back; rufous rump and sides of tail; black throat and breast; rufous below. Female: dull brown above; tail as in male; dull tawny-brown below. The eastern race rufiventris has a black crown, and is the common wintering bird of India. Mostly solitary in winter, when common all over India; easy bird to observe, in winter and in its open high-altitude summer country; perches on overhead wires, poles, rocks and stumps; characteristic shivering of tail and jerky body movements; makes short dashes to ground, soon returning to perch with catch; rather confiding insummer, breeding in houses, under roofs and in wall crevices.


Distinctive, dusky grey chat with long, slender legs, upright posture, white supercilium, rufous panels near base of tail; breeding male unmistakable; bright blue throat, variable blue, white, black, chestnut-red breast bands, with white, red or mixed central spot; inter- and intra-racial variations; female duller, often lacking breast pattern; black submoustachial stripe joining breast band of broken blue, black spots; singly, or in pairs; loose, scattered flocks in winter; shy, quiet; mainly terrestrial; runs in short rapid bursts, in characteristic chat fashion; cocks tail.

Brown Shrike

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.

Grey Heron

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.

Great Cormorant

Sexes alike. Breeding adult: black plumage with metallic blue-green sheen; white facial skin and throat; bright yellow gular pouch and white thigh patches;  silky white plumes on head and neck. Non-breeding adult: no white thigh patches; gular pouch less bright. First year young: dull brown above, white below. Aquatic. Not a gregarious species outside breeding season; usually one or two birds feeding close by; dives underwater in search of fish.

Common Kestrel

Male: black-streaked, ash-grey crown, sides of neck and nape; rufous mantle, black-spotted; cheek-stripe; grey tail has white tip and black subterminal   band; streaked and spotted buffy underbody. Female: pale rufous above; streaked head and narrowly barred back; paler buff below, densely streaked. Young: like  female; thickly streaked below. Solitary or in pairs; on exposed perches overlooking open country; circles in air and pounces into grass and scrub; often hovers  when hunting.

Eurasian Sparrowhawk

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.

Whiskered Tern

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.