Sexes alike. Black and white (pied) plumage distinctive; orange-red beak and orbital skin in front of eyes confirm identity. Sociable; small parties either move on their own or associate with other birds, notably other mynas and drongos; rather common and familiar over its range but keeps a distance from man; may make its ungainly nest in garden trees, but never inside houses, nor does it enter houses; more a bird of open, cultivated areas, preferably where there is water; attends to grazing cattle; occasionally raids standing crops.
Asian Pied Starling
Sexes alike. Similar to Common Myna but smaller; has bluishgrey neck, mantle and underparts; black head with orange-red wattle around the eye; orange-yellow bill; buff-orange tailtips and wing-patch. Usually observed in small, scattered groups around human habitation; bold and confiding; often seen along roadside restaurants picking out scraps.
Sexes alike. Rich vinous-brown plumage; black head, neck and upper breast; yellow beak, legs and naked wattle around eyes distinctive; large white spot in
dark brown flight feathers, best seen in flight; blackish tail, with broad white tips to all but central feathers; whitish abdomen. Solitary, or in scattered pairs or small, loose bands India's most common and familiar bird; hardly ever strays far from man and habitation; rather haughty and confident in looks; aggressive, curious and noisy; struts about on ground, picks out worms; attends to grazing cattle and refuse dumps; enters verandahs and kitchens, sometimes even helping itself on dining tables.
Brown Rock Chat
Brown above, more rufous below; dark brown wings, almost blackish tail. Overall appearance like female Indian Robin. Usually pairs, around ruins, dusty villages, rocky hillsides; often approaches close; tame and confiding; captures insects on ground; rather aggressive when breeding.
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.
Male: black plumage; white in wing, rump and belly. Female: brown above, paler on lores; darker tail; dull yellow-brown below, with a rusty wash on breast and belly. Solitary or in pairs; perches on a bush, overhead wire, pole or some earth mound; makes short sallies on to ground, either devouring prey on ground or carrying it to perch; active, sometimes guards feeding territories in winter; flicks and spreads wings; fascinating display flight of courting male (April–May).
Several races in India. Males differ in having dark brown, blackish- brown or glossy blue-back upper body. Male: dark brown above; white wing-patch; glossy blueblack below; chestnut vent and under tail. Female: lacks white in wings; duller grey-brown below. Solitary or in pairs in open country, and often in and around habitation; rather suspicious andmaintains safe distance between man and itself; hunts on ground, hopping or running in short spurts; when on ground, holds head high and often cocks tail, right up to back, flashing the chestnut vent and under tail.
Oriental Magpie Robin
Male: glossy blue-black and white; white wing-patch and white in outer tail distinctive; glossy blue-black throat and breast; white below. Female: rich slaty grey, where male is black. A familiar bird of India. Solitary or in pairs, sometimes with other birds in mixed parties; hops on ground, preferring shaded areas; common about habitation; when perched, often cocks tail; flicks tail often, especially when making short sallies; active at dusk; remarkable songster, very rich voice.
Male: verditer-blue plumage, darker in wings and tail; black lores. Female: duller, more grey overall. The Nilgiri Flycatcher E. albicaudatus of W Ghats is darker blue with white in tail; the Pale Blue Flycatcher Cyornis unicolor (16cm) male is uniform blue, with white on belly; female is olive-brown. Solitary or in pairs in winter, sometimes with other birds; restless, flicking tail; swoops about, ever on the move, occasionally descending quite low; rather more noticeable than other flycatchers because of its continuous movement and habit of perching in open exposed positions, like a bare twig on a tree top.
Male: greenish above (rich black above, with yellowish rump, in summer breeding plumage); black wings and tail; two white wing-bars; bright yellow underbody. Female: yellow-green plumage; white wingbars; greenish-brown wings. Pairs keep to leafy branches, often with other small birds; moves energetically amidst branches in hunt for insects, caterpillars; rich call notes often a giveaway of its presence in an area.