Widespread winter visitor

Eurasian Curlew

Sexes alike. A large wader. Sandy-brown upper body, scalloped fulvous and black; white rump and lower back; whitish below, streaked black; very long, down-curved beak. Mostly solitary; feeds with other large waders; runs on ground, between tidemarks, occasionally venturing into very shallow water; a truly wild and wary bird, not easy to approach close.

Common Pochard

A stocky, medium-sized, dome-headed diving duck. The male has a distinctive brick-red head and neck, grey body, black breast and stern and a fairly large
black bill with a broad grey band. The female is browner with paler cheeks and flanks. Both show black bordered grey wing-bars in fast, whirring flight.


Small duck with large grey bill. Male has dramatic white eyebrows on a brown head and pearlygrey flanks contrasting with the brown breast and spotted brown stern. Displays silvery-blue forewings in flight. Female similar to Common Teal, mottled brownish but with distinct eyestripes and pale supercilia, loral and chin  spots and larger bill. A fast and agile flyer. Habits: Gregarious and very social, mixing with other species.

Northern Pintail

A slender duck with a pointed tail. Male: greyish above; chocolate-brown head and upper neck; thin white stripe up neck side; bronze-green speculum. Female:
mottled buff-brown; pointed tail lacks longer tailpins; whitish belly. Non-breeding male like female, but mantle greyish. In flight, pointed tail between feet  distinctive. Highly gregarious; extremely common on vegetation-covered jheels; males often in separate flocks, especially on arrival in winter grounds; crepuscular and nocturnal; characteristic hissing swish of wings as flock flies over.

Northern Shoveler

Broad, long beak diagnostic. Male: metallic-green head and neck; in flight, dark head, back-centre, rump and uppertail-coverts contrast with white of back and tail; also, dull-blue upperwing-coverts against dark flight feathers; metallic-green speculum and white wing bar; in overhead flight, dark head, thick white neck, dark chestnut belly and flanks. Female: mottled brown, but blue-grey shoulders (wing-coverts) and dull green speculum distinctive. Pairs or small flocks, often amidst other ducks; swims slowly, with the beak held very close to water; sometimes up-ends.

Eurasian Wigeon

Medium-sized, stocky, short-necked duck. Chestnut-brown head, yellow forehead, pinkish grey breast of breeding male distinctive; also, grey upper body, black stern, white forewing. Female and eclipse male have plain grey-brown plumage, though male more russet. Both sexes have pale grey black-tipped bills. In flight, all plumages show white belly, pointed wing, pointed tail, dark specula. Gregarious; often in mixed flocks.

Blyth’s Reed Warbler

Plain, olive or grey-brown warbler, with the long, sloping forehead and ‘linear’ look of the typical Acrocephalus warbler; short, diffuse buff-brown supercilium, not very visible behind eye; fresh plumage is olive brown above, pale below, with buff washed flanks, breast, vent; worn plumage is olive grey above, whiter below,
with grey wash; usually solitary; moves inconspicuously through undergrowth, bushes and trees; often flicks, flares tail.

Greylag Goose

Sexes alike. Grey-brown plumage; pink bill, legs and feet; white uppertailcoverts, lower belly and tip to dark tail; in flight, pale leading edge of wings and white
uppertail-coverts distinctive. Gregarious and wary; flocks on jheels and winter cultivation; rests for most of day and feeds during night, on water and on agricultural land, especially freshly sown fields. The Bar-headed Goose A. indicus breeds in Ladakh and winters in subcontinent.

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.

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.