Sexes alike. No ear tufts. Greyish-brown plumage, spotted white. Yellowish eyes; broken whitish-buff nuchal collar. Young birds more thickly-marked white; darkish streaks below breast. Pairs or small parties; roosts during day in leafy branches, tree cavities or cavities in walls; active in some localities during daytime; disturbed birds fly to neighbouring tree or branch and bob and stare at intruder.
Indian Eagle Owl
Sexes alike. Brown plumage, mottled and streaked dark and has light; prominent ear tufts; orange eyes; legs fully feathered. The Brown Fish Owl Ketupa
zeylonensis (56cm) is darker and has a white throat-patch and naked legs. Solitary or pairs; mostly nocturnal; spends day in leafy branch, rock ledge or an old well; flies slowly but considerable distances when disturbed; emerges to feed around sunset, advertising its arrival with its characteristic call.
Sexes alike. Blackish plumage; white rump and throat diagnostic; short, square tail and long, sickle-like swift wings. The large Fork-tailed Swift A. pacificus (18cm) has a deeply forked tail. Highly gregarious; on the wing during day, hawking insects, flying over human habitation, cliffs and ruins; strong fliers, exhibiting great mastery and control in fast wheeling flight; frequently utters squealing notes on the wing; retires to safety of nest colonies in overcast weather.
Male: grass-green plumage; short, hooked, red beak; rosy-pink and black collar distinctive (obtained only during third year). Female: lacks the pink-and-black
collar; instead, pale emerald-green around neck. Gregarious; large flocks of this species are a familiar sight in India; causes extensive damage to standing crops, orchards and garden fruit trees; also raids grain depots and markets; large roosting colonies, often along with mynas and crows.
Male: yellowish-green plumage; plum-red head; black and bluish-green collar; maroon-red wing shoulder-patch; white tips to central tail feathers distinctive.
Female: dull, greyer head; yellow collar; almost non-existent maroon shoulder-patch. Pairs or small parties; arboreal, but descends into cultivation in forest clearings and outskirts; sometimes huge gatherings in cultivation; strong, darting flight over forest.
Sexes alike. Glossy bluish-black plumage; chestnut wings; blackish, loose-looking, long, graduated tail. Female somewhat bigger than male. Solitary or in pairs; moves amidst dense growth, fanning and flicking tail often; clambers up into trees, but is a poor flier, lazily flying short distances.
Male: metallic-black plumage; greenish beak and crimson eyes. Female: dark brown, thickly spotted and barred white; whitish below, dark-spotted on throat,
barred below. Solitary or in pairs; arboreal; mostly silent between July and February; fast flight.
Common Hawk Cuckoo
Sexes alike. Ashy-grey above; dark bars on rufescent-tipped tail; dull white below, with pale ashy-rufous on breast; barred below. Young birds broadly-streaked dark below; pale rufous barrings on brown upper body. Solitary, rarely in pairs; strictly arboreal; noisy during May–September; silent after rains.
Sexes alike. Bright green plumage; red-brown wash about head; pale blue on chin and throat, bordered below by black gorget; slender, curved black beak; rufous wash on black-tipped flight feathers; elongated central tail feathers distinctive. Small parties; perches freely on bare branches and overhead telegraph
wires; attends to grazing cattle, along with drongos, cattle egrets and mynas; also seen in city parks and garden; launches graceful sorties after winged insects; batters prey against perch before swallowing.
Speckled black and white plumage diagnostic; black nuchal crest; double black gorget across breast in male. The female differs in having a single, broken breast gorget. Solitary, in pairs or in small groups; always around water, perched on poles, tree stumps or rocks; hovers when hunting, bill pointed down as wings beat rapidly; dives fast, headlong on sighting fish; batters catch on perch; calls in flight. The Crested Kingfisher Megaceryle lugubris of Himalayan streams and rivers can be identified by larger size (41cm), larger crest and white nuchal collar.