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Do Asian koel males communicate through calls?

Do Asian koel males communicate through calls?


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Male Asian koels are heard making long koo-Ooo s which are returned by similar koo-Ooo s1 from some far away place. While the female makes short shrills.

I never had the opportunity to see the other bird and find out its sex. But it sounds just like the first one.

Is it actually communicating with a male bird? What is the known reason if so?

1 The reply calls (to be found around 0:29) in the video are really low.

Note:

  1. A singing male bird also gives desperate accelerated calls when mimicked.
  2. Its breeding season has just begun in India and this communication can be heard.

Still working on this question and the following are the findings:

  1. The male bird when mimicked possibility mistakes the mimic as an intruder in its territory and so it gives louder & accelerated calls.

The male while defending its territory gradually approaches its adversary, hopping from twig to twig calling loudly and displaying its threatening posture. ( B S Lamba (1969) )


Cuckoo

The cuckoos are a family of birds, Cuculidae / k juː ˈ k j uː l ɪ d iː / , the sole taxon in the order Cuculiformes / k j uː ˈ k j uː l ɪ f ɔːr m iː z / . [1] [2] [3] The cuckoo family includes the common or European cuckoo, roadrunners, koels, malkohas, couas, coucals and anis. The coucals and anis are sometimes separated as distinct families, the Centropodidae and Crotophagidae respectively. The cuckoo order Cuculiformes is one of three that make up the Otidimorphae, the other two being the turacos and the bustards.

The cuckoos are generally medium-sized slender birds. Most species live in trees, though a sizeable minority are ground-dwelling. The family has a cosmopolitan distribution the majority of species are tropical. Some species are migratory. The cuckoos feed on insects, insect larvae and a variety of other animals, as well as fruit. Some species are brood parasites, laying their eggs in the nests of other species, but the majority of species raise their own young.

Cuckoos have played a role in human culture for thousands of years, appearing in Greek mythology as sacred to the goddess Hera. In Europe, the cuckoo is associated with spring, and with cuckoldry, for example in Shakespeare's Love's Labour's Lost. In India, cuckoos are sacred to Kamadeva, the god of desire and longing, whereas in Japan, the cuckoo symbolises unrequited love.


Contents

In 1760 the French zoologist Mathurin Jacques Brisson included a description of the common myna in his Ornithologie based on a specimen that he mistakenly believed had been collected in the Philippines. He used the French name Le merle des Philippines and the Latin Merula Philippensis. [5] Although Brisson coined Latin names, these do not conform to the binominal system and are not recognised by the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature. [6] When in 1766 the Swedish naturalist Carl Linnaeus updated his Systema Naturae for the 12th edition, he added 240 species that had been previously described by Brisson. [6] One of these was the common myna. Linnaeus included a brief description, coined the binominal name Paradisea tristis and cited Brisson's work. [7] The type location was subsequently corrected to Pondicherry in southern India. [8] The specific name tristis is Latin for "sad" or "gloomy". [9] This species is now placed in the genus Acridotheres that was introduced by the French ornithologist Louis Jean Pierre Vieillot in 1816. [10]

  • the Indian myna (A. t. tristis) (Linnaeus, 1766) – southern Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and eastern Iran to southern China, Indochina, the Malay Peninsula and southern India
  • the Sri Lankan myna (A. t. melanosternus) Legge, 1879 – Sri Lanka

The Sri Lankan subspecies melanosternus is darker than the Indian subspecies tristis and has half-black and half-white primary coverts and a larger yellow cheek-patch. [12] [13]

The common myna is readily identified by the brown body, black hooded head and the bare yellow patch behind the eye. The bill and legs are bright yellow. There is a white patch on the outer primaries and the wing lining on the underside is white. The sexes are similar and birds are usually seen in pairs. [14]

The common myna obeys Gloger's rule in that the birds from northwestern India tend to be paler than their darker counterparts in southern India. [12] [13]

Vocalization Edit

The calls includes croaks, squawks, chirps, clicks, whistles and 'growls', and the bird often fluffs its feathers and bobs its head in singing. The common myna screeches warnings to its mate or other birds in cases of predators in proximity or when it is about to take off flying. [15] Common mynas are popular as cage birds for their singing and "speaking" abilities. Before sleeping in communal roosts, common mynas vocalise in unison, which is known as "communal noise". [16]

Morphometry Edit

The common myna has been introduced in many other parts of the world such as Canada, Australia, Israel, New Zealand, New Caledonia, the United States, South Africa, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan [18] Uzbekistan, the Cayman Islands, islands in the Indian Ocean (the Seychelles, Mauritius, Réunion, Madagascar, the Maldives, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and the Lakshadweep archipelago) and also in islands of the Atlantic (such as Ascension and Saint Helena) and the Pacific Oceans. [12] The range of the common myna is increasing to the extent that in 2000 the IUCN Species Survival Commission declared it among the World's 100 worst invasive species. [3]

This abundant passerine is typically found in open woodland, cultivation and around habitation. Although this is an adaptable species, its population is abnormal and very much considered a pest in Singapore (where it is locally called as gembala kerbau, literally 'buffalo shepherd') due to competition with its cousin, the introduced Javan myna. [19]

The common myna thrives in urban and suburban environments in Canberra, for instance, 110 common mynas were released between 1968 and 1971. By 1991, common myna population density in Canberra averaged 15 birds per square kilometer. [20] Only three years later, a second study found an average population density of 75 birds per square kilometer in the same area. [21]

The bird likely owes its success in the urban and suburban settings of Sydney and Canberra to its evolutionary origins having evolved in the open woodlands of India, the common myna is pre-adapted to habitats with tall vertical structures and little to no vegetative ground cover, [22] features characteristic of city streets and urban nature preserves.

The common myna (along with common starlings, house sparrows, and feral rock doves) is a nuisance to city buildings its nests block gutters and drainpipes, causing water damage to building exteriors. [23]

Breeding Edit

Common mynas are believed to pair for life. They breed through much of the year depending on the location, building their nest in a hole in a tree or wall. They breed from sea-level to 3,000 m in the Himalayas. [12]

The normal clutch size is 4–6 eggs. The average size of the egg is 30.8 x 21.99 mm. The incubation period is 17 to 18 days and fledging period is 22 to 24 days. [12] The Asian koel is sometimes brood parasitic on this species. [24] Nesting material used by common mynas includes twigs, roots, tow and rubbish. Common mynas have been known to use tissue paper, tin foil and sloughed off snake-skin. [12]

During the breeding season, the daytime activity-time budget of the common myna in Pune in April to June 1978 has been recorded to comprise the following: nesting activity (42%), scanning the environment (28%), locomotion (12%), feeding (4%), vocalisation (7%) and preening-related activities, interactions and other activities (7%). [25]

The common myna uses the nests of woodpeckers, parakeets, etc. and easily takes to nest boxes it has been recorded evicting the chicks of previously nesting pairs by holding them in the beak and later sometimes not even using the emptied nest boxes. This aggressive behaviour contributes to its success as an invasive species. [26]

There is also some evidence that shows that in introduced environments, the species chooses to nest in more modified and artificial structures than in natural tree cavities when compared to native species. [27]

Food and feeding Edit

Like most starlings, the common myna is omnivorous. It feeds on insects, arachnids, crustaceans, reptiles, small mammals, seeds, grain and fruits and discarded waste from human habitation. It forages on the ground among grass for insects, and especially for grasshoppers, from which it gets the generic name Acridotheres, "grasshopper hunter". It, however, feeds on a wide range of insects, mostly picked from the ground. [12] [28] It is a cross-pollinator of flowers such as Salmalia and Erythrina. It walks on the ground with occasional hops and is an opportunistic feeder on the insects disturbed by grazing cattle as well as fired grass fields. [12]

Roosting behaviour Edit

Common mynas roost communally throughout the year, either in pure or mixed flocks with jungle mynas, rosy starlings, house crows, jungle crows, cattle egrets and rose-ringed parakeets and other birds. The roost population can range from less than one hundred to thousands. [29] [30] The time of arrival of mynas at the roost starts before and ends just after sunset. The mynas depart before sunrise. The time and timespan of arrival and departure, time taken for final settlement at the roost, duration of communal sleep, flock size and population vary seasonally. [16] [31] [32]

The function of communal roosting is to synchronise various social activities, avoid predators, exchange information about food sources. [33]

Communal displays (pre-roosting and post-roosting) consist of aerial maneuvers which are exhibited in the pre-breeding season (November to March). It is assumed that this behaviour is related to pair formation. [34]

The IUCN declared the common myna as one of only three birds among the world's 100 worst invasive species [3] (the other two being the red-vented bulbul and the common starling). The French introduced it in the 18th century from Pondicherry to Mauritius with the aim of controlling insects, even levying a fine on anyone persecuting the bird. [35] It has since been introduced widely elsewhere, including adjacent areas in Southeast Asia, Madagascar, [36] the Middle East, South Africa, the United States, Argentina, Germany, Spain and Portugal, [37] the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and various oceanic islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans, including prominent populations in Fiji and Hawaii. [17] [38]

The common myna is regarded as a pest in South Africa, North America, the Middle East, Australia, New Zealand and many Pacific islands. It is particularly problematic in Australia. [39] Several methods have been tried to control the bird's numbers and protect native species. [40]

Australia Edit

In Australia, the common myna is an invasive pest. They are now often the predominant bird in urban areas all along the East Coast. In a 2008 popular vote, the bird was named "The Most Important Pest/Problem" in Australia, also earning the nickname "flying rats" due to their scavenging resembling that of rats. It is also known as "the cane toad of the sky". [4]

The common myna was first introduced to Australia in Victoria between 1863 and 1872 into Melbourne's market gardens to control insects. The bird is likely to have spread to New South Wales (where it is currently most populous) at around the same time, but documentation is uncertain. [41] The bird was later introduced to Queensland as a predator of grasshoppers and cane beetles. Currently, common myna populations in Australia are concentrated along the eastern coast around Sydney and its surrounding suburbs, with sparser populations in Victoria and a few isolated communities in Queensland. [42] During 2009 several municipal councils in New South Wales began trials of catching myna birds in an effort to reduce numbers. [43]

The bird can live and breed in a wide range of temperatures, ranging from the harsh winters of Canberra to the tropical climate of Cairns. Self-sustaining populations of common myna have been found in regions of mean warmest month temperature no less than 23.2 °C (73.8 °F) and mean coldest month temperature no less than −0.4 °C (31.3 °F), implying that the common myna could potentially spread from Sydney northward along the eastern coast to Cairns and westward along the southern coast to Adelaide (though not to Tasmania, Darwin, or the arid interior regions). [42]

Europe Edit

In 2019, common mynas were added to the List of Invasive Alien Species of Union concern[1]. They have established in Spain and Portugal [44] and were introduced to France, where they occasionally bred. [45]

New Zealand Edit

The common myna was introduced to both the North Island and South Island of New Zealand in the 1870s. However, the cooler summer temperatures in the South Island appear to have impeded the breeding success rate of the southern populations, preventing the proliferation of the species, which was largely non-existent there by the 1890s. In contrast, the North Island population was able to breed more successfully and large portions of the North Island are now populated. However, in the southern reaches of the North Island, the cooler summer temperatures, like those of the South Island, have prevented the establishment of large myna populations. [46]

South Africa Edit

In South Africa where it escaped into the wild in 1902, it has become very common and its distribution is greater where human populations are greater or where there is more human disturbance. [47] The bird is also notorious for being a pest, kicking other birds out of their nests and killing their young due to the myna's strong territorial instinct. In South Africa it is considered somewhat of a major pest and disturbance of the natural habitat as a result, it has been declared an invasive species, [48] requiring it to be controlled.

Morphological studies show that the process of spatial sorting is at work on the range expansion of A. tristis in South Africa. [49] Dispersal-relevant traits are significantly correlated with distance from the range core, with strong sexual dimorphism, indicative of sex-biased dispersal. Morphological variations are significant in wing and head traits of females, suggesting females as the primary dispersing sex. In contrast, traits not related to dispersal such as those associated with foraging show no signs of spatial sorting but are significantly affected by environmental variables such as vegetation and intensity of urbanisation.

The United States Edit

In Hawaii, it is out-competing many native birds for food and nesting areas.[2]

To study the invasion genetics and landscape-scale dynamics of A. tristis, scientists have recently developed 16 polymorphic nuclear microsatellite markers [50] using the next generation sequencing (NGS) approach.

Effect on ecosystems and humans Edit

Threat to native birds Edit

The common myna is a hollow-nesting species that is, it nests and breeds in protected hollows found either naturally in trees or artificially on buildings (for example, recessed windowsills or low eaves). [51] Compared to native hollow-nesting species, the common myna is extremely aggressive, and breeding males will actively defend areas ranging up to 0.83 hectares in size (though males in densely populated urban settings tend to only defend the area immediately surrounding their nests). [52]

This aggressiveness has enabled the common myna to displace many breeding pairs of native hollow-nesters, thereby reducing their reproductive success. In Australia, their aggressiveness has enabled them to chase native birds as large as galahs out of their nests.

The common myna is also known to maintain up to two roosts simultaneously a temporary summer roost close to a breeding site (where the entire local male community sleeps during the summer, the period of highest aggression), and a permanent all-year roost where the female broods and incubates overnight. Both male and female common mynas will fiercely protect both roosts at all times, leading to further exclusion of native birds. [52]

Threat to crops and pasture Edit

The common myna (which feeds mostly on ground-dwelling insects, tropical fruits such as grapes, plums and some berries and, in urban areas, discarded human food) [53] poses a serious threat to Australian blueberry crops, though its main threat is to native bird species. [54]

In Hawaii, where the common myna was introduced to control pest armyworms and cutworms in sugarcane crops, the bird has helped to spread the robust Lantana camara weed across the islands’ open grasslands. [55] It also has been recorded as the fourth-ranking avian pest in the fruit industry by a 2004 survey of the Hawaiian Farm Bureau and the sixth in number of complaints of avian pests overall. [56]

Common mynas can cause considerable damage to ripening fruit, particularly grapes, but also figs, apples, pears, strawberries, blueberries, guava, mangoes and breadfruit. Cereal crops such as maize, wheat and rice are susceptible where they occur near urban areas. Roosting and nesting commensal with humans create aesthetic and health concerns. Common mynas are known to carry avian malaria and exotic parasites such as the Ornithonyssus bursia mite, which can cause dermatitis in humans. The common myna can help spread agricultural weeds: for example, it spreads the seeds of Lantana camara, which has been classed as a Weed of National Significance because of its invasiveness. Common mynas are regularly observed to usurp nests and hollows, destroy the eggs and kill the young of native bird species, including seabirds and parrots. There is evidence that common mynas have killed small land mammals such as mice, squirrels and possums, but further research on these occurrences is under consideration. [57]

In Sanskrit literature, the common myna has a number of names, most are descriptive of the appearance or behaviour of the bird. In addition to saarika, the names for the common myna include kalahapriya, which means "one who is fond of arguments" referring to the quarrelsome nature of this bird chitranetra, meaning "picturesque eyes" peetanetra (one with yellow eyes) and peetapaad (one with yellow legs). [58]


Birds at Hebbal Lake

Hebbal Lake is one of the oldest and most popular lakes in Bangalore. It is well known as a habitat for numerous exotic local and migratory birds. The lake is situated in the northern part of Bangalore, along the Bellary Road. The lake also possesses a beautiful garden adjacent to it. History says that the lake was created by Kempe Gowda, the founder of Bangalore. Hebbal Lake was formed by damming natural valley systems through the construction of bunds, just as most other lakes and tanks were created within the Bangalore region.

The main attraction of the Hebbal Lake is the wide variety of birds that have made the lake their home. Visitors are often delighted to watch the various species of local birds and the confluence of migratory birds that flock to the lake every year. The lake was home to about 70 species of water birds that included some very rare birds. However, with the increase in pollution in the city in general and water pollution in particular, this number is on a decline.

One of the highlights of the lake is the small islands that are popular grounds for nesting and breeding by the birds. These islands provide the birds a secure place to rest and escape from the curious view of human beings. It is very good place for bird photography, every day photographer will come and capture photos of birds, in week end more number of photographer will come. The lake is the preferred nesting ground by several species of birds like

kingfishers, tailor birds, pale billed flower peckers, egrets, herons, pelicans, swallows, spot billed ducks, cranes several other species.

List of birds in Hebbal lake

The spot-billed pelican or grey pelican is a member of the pelican family. It breeds in southern Asia from southern Pakistan across India east to Indonesia. It is a bird of large inland and coastal waters, especially large lakes. At a distance they are difficult to differentiate from other pelicans in the region although it is smaller but at close range the spots on the upper mandible, the lack of bright colours and the greyer plumage are distinctive. In some areas these birds nest in large colonies close to human habitations.

Length 1.27–1.52 m (4.2–5.0 ft), wingspan 2.5 m (8.2 ft), weight c. 5 kg (11 lb).[28] Mainly grey-white all over, with a grey hindneck crest in breeding season, pinkish rump and spotted bill pouch.[

Purple rumped sunbird- Female

The purple-rumped sunbird is a sunbird endemic to the Indian Subcontinent. Like other sunbirds, they are small in size, feeding mainly on nectar but sometimes take insects, particularly when feeding young. They can hover for short durations but usually perch to feed. They build a hanging pouch nest made up of cobwebs, lichens and plant material. Males are brightly coloured but females are olive above and yellow to buff below.

Purple rumped sunbird- Male

Purple-rumped sunbirds are tiny at less than 10 cm long. They have medium-length thin down-curved bills and brush-tipped tubular tongues, both adaptations to their nectar feeding. Purple-rumped sunbirds are sexually dimorphic. The males have a dark maroon upperside with a blue-green crown that glistens in some angles, bright green shoulder patch and violet/purple rump patch which is generally hidden. The underparts are whitish with dark throat, maroon breast band and purple/violet patch in the throat which is visible in some angles. The iris is generally reddish in color. In the Western Ghats, it can overlap in some areas with the crimson-backed sunbird but male of that species has reddish upperparts, a broader breast band and generally darker eyes. The female has a white throat followed by yellowish breast. The upperside is olive or brownish. The uppertail coverts are black and a weak supercilium is visible. The nominate form is found in Sri Lanka and has a more bluish violet throat whereas the Indian form flaviventris (two other proposed populations whistleri from Maddur in Karnataka and sola from Pondicherry are subsumed) has a more pinkish tinge.

The Asian koel is a member of the cuckoo order of birds, the Cuculiformes. It is found in South Asia, China, and Southeast Asia. It forms a super species with the closely related black-billed and Pacific koels which are sometimes treated as subspecies. The Asian koel is a brood parasite that lays its eggs in the nests of crows and other hosts, who raise its young. They are unusual among the cuckoos in being largely frugivorous as adults.The name koel is echoic in origin with several language variants. The bird is a widely used symbol in Indian poetry.

The Asian koel is a large, long-tailed, cuckoo measuring 39–46 cm (15–18 in) and weighing 190–327 g (6.7–11.5 oz).The male of the nominate race is glossy bluish-black, with a pale greenish grey bill, the iris is crimson, and it has grey legs and feet. The female of the nominate race is brownish on the crown and has rufous streaks on the head. The back, rump and wing coverts are dark brown with white and buff spots. The underparts are whitish, but is heavily striped. The other subspecies differ in colouration and size.The upper plumage of young birds is more like that of the male and they have a black beak.

They are very vocal during the breeding season (March to August in South Asia), with a range of different calls. The familiar song of the male is a repeated koo-Ooo. The female makes a shrill kik-kik-kik… call. Calls vary across populations.

The Spotted Dove is a small and somewhat long-tailed pigeon which is a common resident breeding bird across its native range on the Indian Subcontinent and Southeast Asia. The species has been introduced into many parts of the world and feral populations have become established. This species was formerly included in the genus Streptopelia with other turtle-doves, but studies suggest that they differ from typical members of that genus. This dove is long tailed buff brown with a white-spotted black collar patch on the back and sides of the neck. The tail tips are white and the wing coverts have light buff spots. There are considerable plumage variations across populations within its wide range. The species is found in light forests and gardens as well as in urban areas. They fly from the ground with an explosive flutter and will sometimes glide down to a perch. It is sometimes also called the Mountain Dove, Pearl-necked Dove or Lace-necked Dove.

The ground colour of this long and slim dove is rosy buff below shading grey on the head and belly. There is a half collar on the back and sides of the neck made of black feathers that bifurcate and have white spots at the two tips. The back has brown feathers with rufous spots in the Indian and subspecies. The lesser median coverts are grey brown. The Indian populations have these coverts with rosy spots at the tip divided by a widening dark grey streak along the shaft. The primary coverts are dark brown. The wing feathers are dark brow with grey edges. The centre of the abdomen and vent are white. The outer tail feathers are tipped in white and become visible when the bird takes off. Sexes are similar, but juveniles are duller than adults and do not acquire the neck spots until they are mature. The length ranges from 28 to 32 centimetres (11.2 to 12.8 inches).

The Yellow-billed Babbler also called the White-headed Babbler is an Old World babbler endemic to southern India and Sri Lanka. The Old World babblers are a large family of Old World passerine birds characterized by soft fluffy plumage. These are birds of tropical areas, with the greatest variety in southeast Asia.

The Yellow-billed Babbler is a common resident breeding bird in Sri Lanka and southern India. Its habitat is scrub, cultivation and garden land. This species, like most babblers, is not migratory, and has short rounded wings and a weak flight and is usually seen calling and foraging in groups.

These birds have grey brown upper parts, grey throat and breast with some mottling, and a pale buff belly. The head and nape are grey. The eye is bluish white. The Indian form is more heavily streaked on the throat and breast.The Sri Lankan subspecies resembles the Jungle Babbler, Turdoides striatus, although that species does not occur on the island.

The Indian pond heron or paddybird (Ardeola grayii) is a small heron. It is of Old World origins, breeding in southern Iran and east to Pakistan, India, Burma, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. They are widespread and common but can be easily missed when they stalk prey at the edge of small water-bodies or even when they roost close to human habitations. They are however distinctive when they take off with bright white wings flashing in contrast to the cryptic streaked olive and brown colours of the body. Their camouflage is so excellent that they can be approached closely before they take to flight, a behaviour which has resulted in folk names and beliefs that the birds are short-sighted or blind.

They appear stocky with a short neck, short thick bill and buff-brown back. In summer, adults have long neck feathers. Its appearance is transformed from their dull colours when they take to flight, when the white of the wings makes them very prominent. It is very similar to the squacco heron, Ardeola ralloides, but is darker-backed. To the east of its range, it is replaced by the Chinese pond heron, Ardeola bacchus.

During the breeding season, there are records of individuals with red legs. The numbers do not suggest that this is a normal change for adults during the breeding season and some have suggested the possibility of it being genetic variants.

Erythristic plumage has been noted. The race phillipsi has been suggested for the populations found in the Maldives, however this is not always recognized. It forms a superspecies with the closely related Chinese pond heron, Javan pond heron and the Madagascar pond heron.

They are usually silent but may give a harsh croak when flushed or near their nests.

The purple heron (Ardea purpurea) is a wading bird in the heron family Ardeidae, breeding in Africa, central and southern Europe, and southern and eastern Asia. The European populations are migratory, wintering in tropical Africa the more northerly Asian populations also migrate further south within Asia. It is a rare but regular wanderer north of its breeding range.

The purple heron is a large bird, 78–97 cm (31–38 in) in length with a standing height from 70 to 94 cm (28 to 37 in) and a 120–152 cm (47–60 in) wingspan.[2][3] However, it is slender for its size, weighing only 0.5–1.35 kg (1.1–3.0 lb). It is somewhat smaller than the grey heron, from which it can be distinguished by its darker reddish-brown plumage, and, in adults, darker grey back. It has a narrower yellow bill, which is brighter in breeding adults. The most similarly-colored heron is the Goliath heron, which is considerably larger.

The snowy egret (Egretta thula) is a small white heron. It is the American counterpart to the very similar Old World little egret, which has established a foothold in the Bahamas. At one time, the beautiful plumes of the snowy egret were in great demand by market hunters as decorations for women’s hats. This reduced the population of the species to dangerously low levels.[citation needed] Now protected in the United States by law, under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, this bird’s population has rebounded.

Adults are typically 61 cm (24 in) long and weigh 375 g (0.827 lb) They have a slim black bill and long black legs with yellow feet. The area of the upper bill, in front of the eyes, is yellow but turns red during the breeding season, when the adults also gain recurved plumes on the back, making for a “shaggy” effect. The juvenile looks similar to the adult, but the base of the bill is paler, and a green or yellow line runs down the back of the legs.

The cattle egret (Bubulcus ibis) is a cosmopolitan species of heron (family Ardeidae) found in the tropics, subtropics and warm temperate zones. It is the only member of the monotypic genus Bubulcus, although some authorities regard its two subspecies as full species, the western cattle egret and the eastern cattle egret. Despite the similarities in plumage to the egrets of the genus Egretta, it is more closely related to the herons of Ardea. Originally native to parts of Asia, Africa and Europe, it has undergone a rapid expansion in its distribution and successfully colonised much of the rest of the world.

It is a white bird adorned with buff plumes in the breeding season. It nests in colonies, usually near bodies of water and often with other wading birds. The nest is a platform of sticks in trees or shrubs. Cattle egrets exploit drier and open habitats more than other heron species. Their feeding habitats include seasonally inundated grasslands, pastures, farmlands, wetlands and rice paddies. They often accompany cattle or other large mammals, catching insect and small vertebrate prey disturbed by these animals. Some populations of the cattle egret are migratory and others show post-breeding dispersal.

The adult cattle egret has few predators, but birds or mammals may raid its nests, and chicks may be lost to starvation, calcium deficiency or disturbance from other large birds. This species maintains a special relationship with cattle, which extends to other large grazing mammals. The cattle egret removes ticks and flies from cattle and consumes them. This benefits both species, but it has been implicated in the spread of tick-borne animal diseases.

The cattle egret is a stocky heron with an 88–96 cm (35–38 in) wingspan it is 46–56 cm (18–22 in) long and weighs 270–512 g (9.5–18.1 oz). It has a relatively short thick neck, a sturdy bill, and a hunched posture. The non-breeding adult has mainly white plumage, a yellow bill and greyish-yellow legs. During the breeding season, adults of the nominate western subspecies develop orange-buff plumes on the back, breast and crown, and the bill, legs and irises become bright red for a brief period prior to pairing. The sexes are similar, but the male is marginally larger and has slightly longer breeding plumes than the female juvenile birds lack coloured plumes and have a black bill.

This munia eats mainly on grass seeds apart from berries and small insects. They forage in flocks and communicate with soft calls and whistles. The species is highly social and may sometimes roost with other species of munias. This species is found in tropical plains and grasslands. Breeding pairs construct dome-shaped nests using grass or bamboo leaves.

The scaly-breasted munia is about 11–12 centimetres (4.3–4.7 in) long and weighs 12–16 grams (0.026–0.035 lb). The adult has a stubby dark bill typical of grain eating birds, brown upperparts and a dark brown head. The underparts are white with dark scale markings. The sexes are similar, although males have darker markings on the underside and a darker throat than females.

The red-wattled lapwing (Vanellus indicus) is a lapwing or large plover, a wader in the family Charadriidae. It has characteristic loud alarm calls which are variously rendered as did he do it or pity to do it leading to colloquial names like the did-he-do-it bird.Usually seen in pairs or small groups not far from water but may form large flocks in the non-breeding season (winter).

Red-wattled lapwings are large waders, about 35 cm long. The wings and back are light brown with a purple sheen, but head and chest and front part of neck are black. Prominently white patch runs between these two colours, from belly and tail, flanking the neck to the sides of crown. Short tail is tipped black. A red fleshy wattle in front of each eye, black-tipped red bill, and the long legs are yellow. In flight, prominent white wing bars formed by the white on the secondary coverts.

The common tailorbird (Orthotomus sutorius) is a songbird found across tropical Asia. Popular for its nest made of leaves “sewn” together and immortalized by Rudyard Kipling in his Jungle Book, it is a common resident in urban gardens. Although shy birds that are usually hidden within vegetation, their loud calls are familiar and give away their presence. They are distinctive in having a long upright tail, greenish upper body plumage and rust coloured forehead and crown. This passerine bird is typically found in open farmland, scrub, forest edges and gardens. Tailorbirds get their name from the way their nest is constructed. The edges of a large leaf are pierced and sewn together with plant fibre or spider silk to make a cradle in which the actual nest is built.

Like most warblers, the common tailorbird is insectivorous. The song is a loud cheeup-cheeup-cheeup with variations across the populations. The disyllabic calls are repeated often.

The common tailorbird is a brightly coloured bird, with bright green upperparts and whitish underparts. They range in size from 10 to 14 centimetres (3.9 to 5.5 in) and weigh 6 to 10 grams (0.21 to 0.35 oz). They have short rounded wings, a long tail, strong legs and a sharp bill with curved tip to the upper mandible. They are wren-like with a long upright tail that is often moved around. The crown is rufous and the upperparts are predominantly olive green. The underside is creamy white. The sexes are identical, except that the male has long central tail feathers in the breeding season, although the reliability of sexing data accompanying museum specimens used in determining this sexual dimorphism has been questioned. Young birds are duller. When calling, the dark patches on the sides of the neck become visible. These are due to the dark pigmented and bare skin that are present in both sexes and sometimes give the appearance of a dark gorget.

The purple swamphen (Porphyrio porphyrio) is a “swamp hen” in the rail family Rallidae. Also known locally as the pūkeko, African purple swamphen, purple moorhen, purple gallinule or purple coot. From its French name talève sultane, it is also known as the sultana bird. This chicken-sized bird, with its large feet, bright plumage and red bill and frontal shield is easily recognisable in its native range.

This duck is resident in the southern part of its range from Pakistan and India to southern Japan, but the northern subspecies, the eastern spot-billed duck (A. p. zonorhyncha), is migratory, wintering in Southeast Asia. It is quite gregarious outside the breeding season and forms small flocks. The northernmost populations have expanded their range northwards by more than 500 km since the early 20th century, possibly in reaction to global warming.

This duck is around the same size as a mallard. It measures 55–63 cm (22–25 in) in length and 83–95 cm (33–37 in) across the wings, with a body mass of 790–1,500 g (1.74–3.31 lb). These are mainly grey ducks with a paler head and neck and a black bill tipped bright yellow. The wings are whitish with black flight feathers below, and from above show a white-bordered green speculum and white tertials. The male has a red spot on the base of the bill, which is absent or inconspicuous in the smaller but otherwise similar female. Juveniles are browner and duller than adults.

This bird is a small raptor (26-30cm) with short broad wings and a long tail, both adaptations to fast manoeuvring. The normal flight of this species is a characteristic “flap – flap – glide”.

The adult Shikra has pale grey upperparts, and is white, finely barred reddish below. Males and females look alike except that female is larger than the male.

The juvenile is brown above and white, spotted with brown below. It has a barred tail.

The red-whiskered bulbul (Pycnonotus jocosus) is a passerine bird found in Asia. It is a member of the bulbul family. It is a resident frugivore found mainly in tropical Asia. It has been introduced in many tropical areas of the world where populations have established themselves. It feeds on fruits and small insects and they conspicuously perch on trees and their calls are a loud three or four note call. The distinctive crest and the red-vent and whiskers makes them easy to identify. They are very common in hill forests and urban gardens within its range.

The red-whiskered bulbul is about 20 centimeters (7.9 in) in length. It has brown upper-parts and whitish underparts with buff flanks and a dark spur running onto the breast at shoulder level. It has a tall pointed black crest, red face patch and thin black moustachial line. The tail is long and brown with white terminal feather tips, but the vent area is red.

The loud and evocative call is a sharp kink-a-joo (also transcribed as pettigrew or kick-pettigrew or pleased to meet you) and the song is a scolding chatter. It is more often heard than seen, but will often perch conspicuously especially in the mornings when they call from the tops of trees. The life span is about 11 years.

The rose-ringed parakeet (Psittacula krameri), also known as the ring-necked parakeet, is a gregarious tropical Afro-Asian parakeet species that has an extremely large range. Since the trend of the population appears to be increasing, the species was evaluated as being of least concern by the IUCN in 2012.Rose-ringed parakeets are popular as pets. The scientific name commemorates the Austrian naturalist Wilhelm Heinrich Kramer.

This non-migrating species is one of few parrot species that have successfully adapted to living in “disturbed habitats”, and has withstood the onslaught of urbanisation and deforestation. In the wild, this is a noisy species with an unmistakable squawking call.

Indian rose-ringed parakeets measure on average 40 cm (16 in) in length including the tail feathers. Their average single wing length is about 15–17.5 cm (5.9–6.9 in). The tail accounts for a large portion of their total length.

The rose-ringed parakeet is sexually dimorphic. The adult male sports a red neck-ring and the hen and immature birds of both sexes either show no neck rings, or display shadow-like pale to dark grey neck rings.

The Indian roller is a member of the roller family of birds. They are found widely across tropical Asia stretching from Iraq eastward across the Indian Subcontinent to Indochina and are best known for the aerobatic displays of the male during the breeding season. They are very commonly seen perched along roadside trees and wires and are commonly seen in open grassland and scrub forest habitats. It is not migratory, but undertakes some seasonal movements. The largest populations of the species are within India, and several states in India have chosen it as their state bird.

The Indian roller is a stocky bird about 26–27 cm long and can only be confused within its range with the migratory European roller. The breast is brownish and not blue as in the European Roller. The crown and vent are blue. The primaries are deep purplish blue with a band of pale blue. The tail is sky blue with a terminal band of Prussian blue and the central feathers are dull green. The neck and throat are purplish lilac with white shaft streaks. The bare patch around the eye is ochre in colour. The three forward toes are united at the base. Rollers have a long and compressed bill with a curved upper edge and a hooked tip. The nostril is long and exposed and there are long rictal bristles at the base of the bill.

The three forward pointing toes appear to be joined at the base

Three subspecies are usually recognized. The nominate form is found from West Asia (Iraq, Arabia) east across the Indian Subcontinent, and within India north of the Vindhyas mountain ranges. The subspecies indicus is found in peninsular India and Sri Lanka. The southern form has a darker reddish collar on the hind neck which is missing in the nominate form. The race affinis of northeastern India and Southeast Asia (Thailand, Myanmar, and Indochina) is sometimes considered a full species, but within the Indian region, it is seen to intergrade with benghalensis. The form affinis is darker, larger and has a purplish brown and unstreaked face and breast. It has underwing coverts in a deeper shade of blue.

The flowerpeckers are a family, Dicaeidae , of passerine birds. The family comprises two genera, Prionochilus and Dicaeum, with 44 species in total. The family has sometimes been included in an enlarged sunbird family Nectariniidae. The berrypeckers of the family Melanocharitidae and the painted berrypeckers, Paramythiidae, were once lumped into this family as well. The family is distributed through tropical southern Asia and Australasia from India east to the Philippines and south to Australia. The family is catholic in its habitat preferences, occupying a wide range of environments from sea level to montane habitats. Some species, such as the Mistletoebird of Australia, are recorded as being highly nomadic over parts of their range.

Pale-billed flowerpecker feeding on Muntingia calabura

There is little variation between species in the family. Flowerpeckers are stout birds, with short necks and legs. These are small birds ranging from the 10-cm, 5.7-gram pygmy flowerpecker to the 18-cm, 12-gram mottled flowerpecker. Flowerpeckers have short tails, short thick curved bills and tubular tongues. The latter features reflect the importance of nectar in the diet of many species. They also have digestive systems that have evolved to deal efficiently with mistletoe berries. They are often dull in colour, although in several species the males have brightly patterned crimson or glossy-black plumage.

The tongue tip is feathery in many species such as Dicaeum nigrilore

Nectar forms part of the diet, although they also take berries, spiders and insects. Mistletoes of 21 species in 12 genera have been found to be part of the diet of flowerpeckers, and it is thought that all species have adaptations to eat these berries and dispose of them quickly. Flowerpeckers may occur in mixed-species feeding flocks with sunbirds and white-eyes, as well as other species of flowerpecker.

The breeding biology of the flowerpeckers has been little studied. In the species where data has been collected they apparently form monogamous pairs for breeding, but the division of labour varies in scarlet-breasted flowerpeckers both parents participate in all aspects of nest building, incubation and chick rearing, but in the mistletoebird the female undertakes the first two tasks alone. Flowerpeckers lay 1-4 eggs, typically in a purse-like nest of plant fibres, suspended from a small tree or shrub. Recorded incubations times are scarce, but range from 10–12 days, with fledging occurring after 15 days.

The majority of flowerpeckers are resilient in their habits and are not threatened by human activities. Five species are considered to be near threatened by the IUCN, two are listed as vulnerable and one, the Cebu flowerpecker, is listed as critically endangered. The status of the enigmatic spectacled flowerpecker is unknown. Habitat loss is the cause of the declines of these species.

The wagtails form the passerine bird genus Motacilla. They are small birds with long tails which they wag frequently. Motacilla, the root of the family and genus name, means moving tail. The forest wagtail belongs to the monotypic genus Dendronanthus which is closely related to Motacilla and sometimes included herein.

The willie wagtail (Rhipidura leucophrys) of Australia is an unrelated bird similar in colouration and shape to the Japanese wagtail. It belongs to the fantail flycatchers.

Wagtails are slender, often colourful, ground-feeding insectivores of open country in the Old World. They are ground nesters, laying up to six speckled eggs at a time.[citation needed] Among their most conspicuous behaviours is a near constant tail wagging, a trait that has given the birds their common name. In spite of the ubiquity of the behaviour and observations of it, the reasons for it are poorly understood. It has been suggested that it may flush up prey, or that it may signal submissiveness to other wagtails. Recent studies have suggested instead that it is a signal of vigilance that may aid to deter potential predators.

The white-cheeked barbet or small green barbet (Megalaima viridis) is a species of barbet found in southern India. It is very similar to the more widespread brown-headed barbet (or large green barbet) (Megalaima zeylanica) but this species has a distinctive supercilium and a broad white cheek stripe below the eye and is endemic to the forest areas of the Western Ghats and adjoining hills. The brown-headed barbet has an orange eye-ring but the calls are very similar and the two species occur together in some of the drier forests to the east of the Western Ghats. Like all other Asian barbets they are mainly frugivorous although they may sometimes eat insects and they use their bills to excavate nest cavities in trees.

Like many other barbets of Asia, these are green, sit still and perch upright making them difficult to spot. During the breeding season which begins at the start of summer their calls become loud and constant especially in the mornings. The call, a monotonous Kot-roo … Kotroo… starting with an explosive trrr is not easily differentiated from that of the brown-headed barbet. During hot afternoons, they may also utter a single note wut not unlike the call of collared scops owl or coppersmith barbet. Other harsh calls are produced during aggressive encounters.

The head is brownish streaked with white, sometimes giving it a capped appearance. The bill is pale pinkish. The length is 165-185mm, head of 51-53mm and tail of 60-67mm. Size varies from the larger northern birds to the southern ones.

These birds are mostly frugivorous, but will take winged termites and other insects opportunistically. They feed on the fruits of various Ficus species including Ficus benjamina and Ficus mysorensis, and other introduced fruit trees such as Muntingia calabura. When foraging they are quite aggressive and will attempt to chase other barbets, koels and other frugivores.

The coppersmith barbet, crimson-breasted barbet or coppersmith (Megalaima haemacephala), is a bird with crimson forehead and throat which is best known for its metronomic call that has been likened to a coppersmith striking metal with a hammer. It is a resident found in the Indian subcontinent and parts of Southeast Asia. Like other barbets, they chisel out a hole inside a tree to build their nest. They are mainly fruit eating but will take sometimes insects, especially winged termites.

Juvenile indica without any red. (Kolkata, India)

This species of barbet is found to overlap in range with several larger barbets in most of South Asia. In the Western Ghats, it partly overlaps with the Malabar barbet which is of a very similar size but having a more rapid call. The red forehead, yellow eye-ring and throat patch with streaked underside and green upperparts, it is fairly distinctive. Juveniles are duller and lack the red patches. The sexes are alike. The Sri Lankan form has more black on the face, more red on the breast and darker streaks on the underside.

During the nesting season, the wear and tear on the feathers can cause the plumage of the upper back to appear bluish.

Within the Old World Megalaima barbets, they are found to be basal in phylogenetic analyses. Most of the remaining Asian species are more recent in their divergence and speciation.

About nine subspecies are well recognized.

nominate haemacephala (P. L. S. Müller, 1776) is found in the Islands of the Luzon and Mindoro in the Philippines

indica (Latham, 1790) is found in the Indian subcontinent form northeastern Pakistan and extends into Sri Lanka and Vietnam. Several former supspecies from India are synonymized into indica.

The grey heron (Ardea cinerea), is a wading bird of the heron family Ardeidae, native throughout temperate Europe and Asia and also parts of Africa. It is resident in the milder south and west, but many birds retreat in winter from the ice in colder regions. It has become common in summer even inside the Arctic circle along the Norwegian coast.

It is a large bird, standing up to 100 cm (39 in) tall and measuring 84–102 cm (33–40 in) long with a 155–195 cm (61–77 in) wingspan. The body weight can range from 1.02–2.08 kg (2.2–4.6 lb). Its plumage is largely grey above, and off-white below. Adults have a white head with a broad black supercilium and slender crest, while immatures have a dull grey head. It has a powerful, pinkish-yellow bill, which is brighter in breeding adults. It has a slow flight, with its long neck retracted (S-shaped). This is characteristic of herons and bitterns, and distinguishes them from storks, cranes and spoonbills, which extend their necks. The call is a loud croaking “fraaank”. The Australian white-faced heron is often incorrectly called a grey heron. In Ireland the grey heron is often colloquially called a “crane”.

The white-breasted waterhen (Amaurornis phoenicurus) is a waterbird of the rail and crake family Rallidae that is widely distributed across Southeast Asia and the Indian Subcontinent. They are dark slaty birds with a clean white face, breast and belly. They are somewhat bolder than most other rails and are often seen stepping slowly with their tail cocked upright in open marshes or even drains near busy roads. They are largely crepuscular in activity and during the breeding season, just after the first rains, make loud and repetitive croaking calls.

Adult white-breasted waterhens have mainly dark grey upperparts and flanks, and a white face, neck and breast. The lower belly and undertail are cinnamon coloured. The body is flattened laterally to allow easier passage through the reeds or undergrowth. They have long toes, a short tail and a yellow bill and legs. Sexes are similar but females measure slightly smaller. Immature birds are much duller versions of the adults. The downy chicks are black, as with all rails.

Several subspecies are named for the populations that are widely distributed. The nominate subspecies is described from Sri Lanka but is often widened to include chinensis of mainland India and adjoining regions in Asia, west to Arabia and east nearly to Japan. The remaining subspecies are those from islands and include insularis of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, midnicobaricus of the central Nicobars, leucocephala of Car Nicobar, maldivus of the Maldives, javanicus of Java and leucomelanus of Sulawesi and the Lesser Sundas.

The Eurasian coot (Fulica atra), also known as coot, is a member of the rail and crake bird family, the Rallidae. It is found in Europe, Asia, Australia and parts of Africa. The Australian subspecies is known as the Australian coot.

The coot breeds across much of the Old World on freshwater lakes and ponds. It occurs and breeds in Europe, Asia, Australia, and Africa. The species has recently expanded its range into New Zealand. It is resident in the milder parts of its range, but migrates further south and west from much of Asia in winter as the waters freeze

The Eurasian coot is 32–42 cm (13–17 in) long and weighs 585–1,100 g (1.290–2.425 lb), and is largely black except for the white frontal shield (which gave rise to the phrase “as bald as a coot”, which the Oxford English Dictionary cites in use as early as 1430). As a swimming species, the coot has partial webbing on its long strong toes.

The cinereous tit is a species of bird in the tit family Paridae. This species is made up of several populations that were earlier treated as subspecies of the great tit (Parus major). These birds are grey backed with white undersides. The great tit in the new sense is distinguishable by the greenish-back and yellowish underside. The distribution of this species extends from parts of West Asia across South Asia and into Southeast Asia.

Like others in the genus, it has a broad black ventral line and has no crest. This tit is part of a confusing group of species but is distinct in having a grey-back, black hood, white cheek patch and a white wing-bar. The underparts are white with the black central stripe running along the length. The female has a narrower ventral line and is slightly duller. The upper tail coverts are ashy while the tail is black with the central 4 pairs of feathers ashy on the outer webs and all but the central pair are tipped white. The fifth pair is white with a black rachis and a band of black on the inner web. The outermost pair of tail feathers are all white with a black shaft. The under tail coverts are black towards the center but white on the sides.

The pied kingfisher (Ceryle rudis) is a water kingfisher and is found widely distributed across Africa and Asia. Its black and white plumage, crest and the habit of hovering over clear lakes and rivers before diving for fish makes it distinctive. Males have a double band across the breast while females have a single gorget that is often broken in the middle. They are usually found in pairs or small family parties. When perched, they often bob their head and flick up their tail.

This kingfisher is about 17 cm long and is white with a black mask, a white supercilium and black breast bands. The crest is neat and the upperparts are barred in black. Several subspecies are recognized within the broad distribution. The nominate race is found in sub-Saharan Africa, extending into West Asia. A former subspecies syriaca is considered as merely a larger northern bird of the nominate species (following Bergmann’s rule). Subspecies leucomelanura is found from Afghanistan east into India, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Laos. The subspecies travancoreensis of the Western Ghats is darker with the white reduced. Subspecies C. r. insignis is found in Hainan and southeastern China and has a much larger bill. Males have a narrow second breast-band while females have a single broken breast band.

The white-breasted waterhen (Amaurornis phoenicurus) is a waterbird of the rail and crake family Rallidae that is widely distributed across Southeast Asia and the Indian Subcontinent. They are dark slaty birds with a clean white face, breast and belly. They are somewhat bolder than most other rails and are often seen stepping slowly with their tail cocked upright in open marshes or even drains near busy roads. They are largely crepuscular in activity and during the breeding season, just after the first rains, make loud and repetitive croaking calls.

Adult white-breasted waterhens have mainly dark grey upperparts and flanks, and a white face, neck and breast. The lower belly and undertail are cinnamon coloured. The body is flattened laterally to allow easier passage through the reeds or undergrowth. They have long toes, a short tail and a yellow bill and legs. Sexes are similar but females measure slightly smaller. Immature birds are much duller versions of the adults. The downy chicks are black, as with all rails.

Several subspecies are named for the populations that are widely distributed. The nominate subspecies is described from Sri Lanka but is often widened to include chinensis of mainland India and adjoining regions in Asia, west to Arabia and east nearly to Japan. The remaining subspecies are those from islands and include insularis of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, midnicobaricus of the central Nicobars, leucocephala of Car Nicobar, maldivus of the Maldives, javanicus of Java and leucomelanus of Sulawesi and the Lesser Sundas.

Darter
The darters or snakebirds are mainly tropical waterbirds in the family Anhingidae having a single genus Anhinga. There are four living species, three of which are very common and widespread while the fourth is rarer and classified as near-threatened by the IUCN. The term “snakebird” is usually used without any additions to signify whichever of the completely allopatric species occurs in any one region. It refers to their long thin neck, which has a snake-like appearance when they swim with their bodies submerged, or when mated pairs twist it during their bonding displays. “Darter” is used with a geographical term when referring to particular species. It alludes to their manner of procuring food, as they impale fishes with their thin, pointed beak. The American darter (A. anhinga) is more commonly known as the anhinga. It is sometimes called “water turkey” in the southern United States for little clearly apparent reason though the anhinga is quite unrelated to the wild turkey, they are both large, blackish birds with long tails that are sometimes hunted for food.

Anhinga is derived from the Tupi ajíŋa (also transcribed áyinga or ayingá), which in local mythology refers to a malevolent demonic forest spirit it is often translated as “devil bird”. The name changed to anhingá or anhangá as it was transferred to the Tupi–Portuguese Língua Geral. However, in its first documented use as an English term in 1818, it referred to an Old World darter. Ever since, it has also been used for the modern genus Anhinga as a whole.

Anhingidae are large birds with sexually dimorphic plumage. They measure about 80 to 100 cm (2.6 to 3.3 ft) in length, with a wingspan around 120 cm (3.9 ft), and weigh some 1,050 to 1,350 grams (37 to 48 oz). The males have black and dark brown plumage, a short erectile crest on the nape and a larger bill than the female. The females have a much paler plumage, especially on the neck and underparts, and are a bit larger overall. Both have grey stippling on long scapulars and upper wing coverts. The sharply pointed bill has serrated edges, a desmognathous palate and no external nostrils. The darters have completely webbed feet, and their legs are short and set far back on the body.

There is no eclipse plumage, but the bare parts vary in color around the year. During breeding, however, their small gular sac changes from pink or yellow to black, and the bare facial skin, otherwise yellow or yellow-green, turns turquoise. The iris changes in color between yellow, red or brown seasonally. The young hatch naked, but soon grow white or tan down.

Darter vocalizations include a clicking or rattling when flying or perching. In the nesting colonies, adults communicate with croaks, grunts or rattles. During breeding, adults sometimes give a caw or sighing or hissing calls. Nestlings communicate with squealing or squawking calls.


Individual distinctiveness in the mobbing call of a cooperative bird, the noisy miner Manorina melanocephala

Individual differentiation is usually advantageous in maximising the fitness benefits of interactions with conspecifics. In social species, where intraspecific interactions are frequent, this is likely to be particularly important. Indeed, some form of differentiation underpins most hypotheses proposed to account for cooperative behaviour in birds. The auditory modality is a likely candidate for this function, particularly for species where individuals are widely spaced and in dense vegetation. In this study, we examined the acoustic structure of a distinctive mobbing signal, the ‘chur’ call, of the cooperatively breeding noisy miner Manorina melanocephala. Using 250 calls from 25 individuals, a combination of spectrographic-based measurement of call parameters, cross-correlation and multi-dimensional scaling was used to test for systematic individual differences in call structure. Strong differences between individuals were observed in all measures, indicating that this call encodes sufficient information to facilitate individual differentiation. We then conducted a series of field playbacks to test the effect of the behaviour on conspecifics. Results demonstrated that the call, in isolation, has a clear attractant effect. Given that chur calls are synonymous with the characteristic cooperative mobbing behaviour of this species, these findings suggest they are likely to have an important function in coordinating complex social behaviour.


4. Common Nightingale

The common Nightingale (Luscinia megarhynchos) is perhaps one of the most quoted birds in literature as it has mesmerized numerous authors and poets with its tuneful songs. Their powerful melodic crooning has become their primary trait. Common nightingales are found in Asia, Europe, Africa, and the Mediterranean and they normally sing during the breeding season. These small passerine birds are also known to sing throughout the night in the hope of serenading a mate.

Their pleasant sound has been described as the most delightful melody of nature as it features rich notes and different sequences. In fact, the nightingale can produce over 1000 different sounds. This is because the part of the brain that is in charge of creating sound is quite big in these birds. The notes, whistles, and tones it uses in its calls can be quite captivating to listen to and have been mentioned in various poems, books, and operas.


9. Fledglings

If hatchlings are fed well, they can potentially grow very fast within the first week and start to grow feathers and double their body weight! Now they are less reliant on their parents for warmth from brooding. However, at this stage, parent birds still continue to bring food to their fledglings because they are still not well developed enough to take flight or hunt on their own.


Contents

The black drongo was once considered a subspecies of the fork-tailed drongo (Dicrurus adsimilis), [9] [10] a close relative that diverged relatively recently. [9] [10] [11] [12] The two are now considered distinct species, [11] [12] with the fork-tailed drongo restricted to Africa and separated from the Asian range of the black drongo. [11] [12]

Seven subspecies have been named [12] but the largely contiguous populations show clinal variation and intergrade with each other. Individuals from northern India (ssp. albirictus) are larger than those from the Sri Lankan population minor while those from the peninsular India (nominate subspecies) are intermediate in size. [13] Race cathoecus is found in Thailand, Hong Kong and China. [14] This race has a much smaller rictal spot and the wings are dark with a greenish gloss. [12] In southern Siam a race thai is resident, but overlaps with wintering cathoecus. Race javanus is found on the islands of Java and Bali. Race harterti found in Formosa has the tail length less than the wing. [12]

This bird is glossy black with a wide fork to the tail. Adults usually have a small white spot at the base of the gape. The iris is dark brown (not crimson as in the similar ashy drongo). The sexes cannot be told apart in the field. Juveniles are brownish and may have some white barring or speckling towards the belly and vent, and can be mistaken for the white-bellied drongo. First-year birds have white tips to the feathers of the belly, while second-years have these white-tipped feathers restricted to the vent. [15]

They are aggressive and fearless birds, and although only 28 cm (11 in) in length, they will attack much larger species that enter their nesting territory, including crows and birds of prey. This behaviour led to their former name of king crow. They fly with strong flaps of the wing and are capable of fast manoeuvres that enable them to capture flying insects. [16] With short legs, they sit upright on thorny bushes, bare perches or electricity wires. They may also perch on grazing animals. [17]

They are capable of producing a wide range of calls but a common call is a two note tee-hee call resembling that of the shikra (Accipiter badius). [13]

The black drongo is found predominantly in open country and usually perches and hunts close to the ground. They are mostly aerial predators of insects but also glean from the ground or off vegetation. They are found as summer visitors to northeastern Afghanistan and northern Pakistan but are residents from the Indus Valley until Bangladesh and into India and Sri Lanka. [13] Some populations show seasonal movements [17] that are poorly understood while populations in Korea are known to be migratory. [18] [19] The black drongo can be found in savanna, fields, and urban habitats.

Black drongos were introduced just before the Second World War from Taiwan to the island of Rota to help in the control of insects. It is believed that they dispersed over the sea to the island of Guam in the 1950s. By 1967, they were the fourth most commonly seen birds in roadside counts on Guam and are today the most abundant bird there. [20] [21] Predation by and competition from black drongos have been suggested as factors in the decline of endemic bird species such as the Rota bridled white-eye [22] and the Guam flycatcher. [20] [23]

Food and foraging Edit

Black drongos become active very early at dawn and roost later than many other birds. They feed mainly on insects such as grasshoppers, cicadas, [25] termites, wasps, bees, ants, moths, beetles and dragonflies. They sometimes fly close to tree branches, attempting to disturb any insects that may be present. They congregate in fields being ploughed, picking up exposed caterpillars and beetle grubs. As many as 35 birds have been seen at such congregations. They are also attracted to fires in scrub and grasslands habitats where insects are disturbed. [26] They appear to avoid flies. [27] They associate with common mynas, cattle egrets and other birds that share a similar diet and habitat. [28] Drongos benefit from this association and are more successful in their foraging. There is only partial overlap in the insect prey sought by mynas and drongos although in rare instances the drongos may rob prey from mynas. [29] It is said that they imitate the call of the shikra so as to put mynas to flight and then to steal prey. [30] Similar behaviour, using false alarm calls, has been noted in the fork-tailed drongo. [31] There are some cases of the black drongo preying on small birds, reptiles, or maybe even bats. [32] [33] [34] [35] [36] It has been suggested that they may feed on birds more intensively on migration. An individual on a migratory stop-over island in Korea caught several birds one after the other, killing them by striking at the back of the head and neck and feeding selectively on parts, especially the brain. [19] They have also been on occasion seen feeding on fish [37] [38] Flowers of trees such as Erythrina and Bombax may be visited for water and nectar [39] and they are sometimes known to feed on grains. [40] They are only rarely known to take larger arthropods such as scorpions and centipedes. [41] [42] They feed on milkweed butterflies that are often avoided by other predators [43] and are known to feed late in the evening or night, often on insects attracted to artificial lights. [44] [45] [46]

Nesting and breeding Edit

Black drongos breed mainly in February and March in southern India, and until August in other parts of the country. Males and females sing in the mornings during the breeding season. Courtship can include aerobatic chases and they may lock their wings and beaks together, with the pair sometimes falling to the ground. Displays may be made on the ground. [47] Pair bonds are retained for a whole breeding season. The nest is a cup made with a thin layer of sticks placed in the fork of branch, and is built in a week by both the male and female. Eggs are laid close to the first rains in April. [15] The usual clutch is three or rarely four eggs laid in a cup nest placed in the fork of an outer branch of tree. Large leafy trees such as the jackfruit are preferred. The eggs are pale cream to red with spots and markings and are 26 mm (1.0 in) long and 19 mm (0.75 in) wide. The eggs are incubated by both parents and hatch after 14 to 15 days. Nestlings are brooded for the first five days, after which the young are capable of maintaining a fairly constant body temperature. [15] A second clutch may be laid if the first is destroyed. [17] Nests are sometimes built in telephone poles. [48] A nesting territory of 0.003 to 0.012 km 2 (0.3 to 1.2 hectares) is maintained. [15]

Helpers, offspring from the previous brood, have sometimes been noted to assist in feeding the fledglings at the nest of their parents. [49] Cases of brood parasitism by the Asian koel have been noted. [50] An average breeding success of 44% has been noted with the main cause of fledgling mortality being shortage of insect food which in turn was dependent on rainfall. [15]

Mobbing and proximity nesting Edit

Their habit of driving away predators from near their nests is believed to encourage other birds such as orioles, doves, pigeons, babblers, [51] and especially bulbuls, to nest in the vicinity. [52] [53] In one study 18 of 40 nests had red-vented bulbuls nesting within 10 metres (33 ft). [15] An abnormal case of interspecific feeding with a red-vented bulbul feeding the chicks of a black drongo at their nest has been recorded. [54]

They are so aggressive that they may sometimes land on large birds of prey and peck them when mobbing. [55] It has been suggested that the Asian drongo-cuckoo (Surniculus lugubris) has evolved to mimic this species. [56] The intensity of mobbing predators was studied in Java and observations showed that there was a significant increase in mobbing, during the nesting season, of some predators such as the Javan hawk-eagle but the black eagle, a nest predator is mobbed with equal intensity in all seasons. It has been suggested that this strategy may avoid giving away the location of nests during the breeding season. [57]

Growth and development Edit

Young birds have a yellowish-red gape. The feather follicles appear on the fourth day and pin feathers emerge after a week. Nestlings increase in weight steadily until they are 12 days old. The eyes open on the eighth day, the iris reddish-black while the gape turns red. The young leave the nest after about 16 to 20 days after hatching. They do not have the fork in the tail until three weeks. The parents continue to feed and protect them for a month. Young birds may beg for food for longer, but are often ignored or chased away by the adults. Birds reach breeding condition in about two years. [15]

Play behaviour has been observed with birds dropping a leaf in the air and catching it in mid-air and these may possibly help young birds acquire aerobatic skills. [58]

In southern India, they moult their feathers from June to October. The wing moult begins in July with the first primary and proceeds towards the tenth. Secondaries are replaced from August after the primaries are at the third quill. The secondary moult is not orderly, the 8th and 7th being dropped earlier than the rest. The tail feathers are moulted centrifugally. [15] Seasonal colour changes in the testicular tissues are caused by variation in melanin synthesis, with the dark pigmentation being lost during the breeding season. [59]

Parasites and diseases Edit

Many ectoparasitic bird lice (Myrsidea spp. and Menacanthus spp.), endoparasitic cestodes [60] [61] and nematodes have been described from this species. [62] [63] [64] [65] [66] However no predators or diseases are significant factors in adult mortality. [15]

Their habit of preying on bees [67] makes them a nuisance to bee-keepers, but farmers attract them to their fields using artificial perches in fields to encourage them to feed on pest insects. [68] [69]

In culture Edit

Being common, they have a wide range of local names. The older genus name of Buchanga was derived from the Hindi name of Bhujanga. Other local names include "srigunting hitam" in Indonesia, Thampal in Pakistan, Gohalo/Kolaho in Baluchistan, Kalkalachi in Sindhi, Kotwal (=policeman) in Hindi Finga in Bengali Phenshu in Assamese Cheiroi in Manipuri Kosita/Kalo koshi in Gujarati Ghosia in Marathi Kajalapati in Oriya Kari kuruvi (=charcoal bird), Erettai valan (=two tail) in Tamil Passala poli gadu in Telugu Aanaranji (=elephant snatcher) in Malayalam Kari bhujanga in Kannada and Kalu Kawuda in Sinhalese. [70] The soliga people do not differentiate this and the bronzed drongo, both being known as karaḷi but the greater racket-tailed drongo is called dodda karaḷi (or large karaḷi). [71] A superstition in central India is that cattle would lose their horn if a newly fledged drongo alighted on it. [30] It is held in reverence in parts of Punjab in the belief that it brought water to Husayn ibn Ali, revered by Shī‘a Muslims. [72]

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Great Barbet (Megalaima virens) Pictures and Detail (Barbet with Loud Calls)

I found its location through his sharp calls which you can listen to from a distance. Great Barbet is an Asian Barbet and it is the biggest among all Barbets. Like the other barbets , it is also a plump bird with a short neck, big head, and a short tail.

Great Barbet can be easily seen sitting on the top of a tree and making constant loud calls. Their calls are so constant that they become an integral part of the surrounding.

Great Hill Barbet mainly eats insects and fruits like the other barbets . This bird is mainly found in the lower and middle ranges of the Himalayas and their range is from Pakistan to Laos and they are resident (non-migratory) birds.


Can Birds Talk?

We all have our own languages, in the same way birds also have their unique languages which only they understand. Human beings can speak because of vocal cords while birds don’t have vocal cords but they do have the syrinx. Birds make sounds using syrinx. Whenever any bird makes any sound, it is to communicate or to convey some messages. Birds’ sounds are of two types- calls and songs. There are mimic birds too, they are called talking birds like parrots. So they can talk or convey message suing their sounds.

Waking up in the morning with the chirping sound of the birds- it is a quite normal and regular incident in our everyday life. But what do they say? Can they talk or do they only make sound to send a signal to say, wake up, it is morning now. Or why does a cock crow cock- a- doodle- doo at dawn? Is there any significance of that sound? Does the cawing of a crow bring any special message for us? What do you think?

Image Source: jrambook.blogspot.in, thehindubusinessline.com

You know that different birds can make different kinds of sound. But birds don’t have vocal cord. One of the major functions of a vocal cord is the production of sounds for speech generation. Human beings can talk to each other because of the presence of a vocal cord in our throat. Human beings also have tongue, teeth, lips which help to produce words to speak. Instead of vocal cord birds have a syrinx—that consists of throat muscles and membranes. Birds are thought to make sounds using this syrinx. Another thing is that birds don’t have lips, which is also a major organ that is essential for talking. Instead the birds have beaks, which do not support speech. Also most birds do not have teeth.

Birds can make sounds. Different birds make different kinds of sounds. Sounds made by small birds may seem to be the sound of chirping, sounds made by large birds seem to the sounds like squawk.

But the sounds made by the birds are not simply meaningless noises. The sounds made by birds are obviously to communicate or to give signals or to convey any message. When two crows are fighting over food, loudly cawing to each other, in such a situation the cawing may be an expression of either anger or displeasure. How would you explain the phenomenon of a male peacock screaming, spreading its tail in a beautiful fan? This is traditionally believed to be an expression of joy or even a signal of an oncoming downpour or shower. But, scientifically, this act of the peacock is a way to attract the attention of a peahen (female peacock).

Normally we can hear the coo-coo sound of an Asian Koel in the summer. Sometimes this sound can be agitating at other times it may be soothing. Children, sometimes, echo the sound to attract the attention of the birds. But why do these birds make such a haunting sound? The reason is that the male Koel bird makes the coo-coo sound to attract the female Koel. But popular belief is that their call announces the coming of the rain.

Image Source: wikimedia.org

Whenever any bird makes any sound, it is to communicate or to convey some messages. Sounds produced by birds can be classified into two categories, songs and calls. They are not similar. There is a difference between calls and songs of the birds.

Generally songs are used to defend territory and attract mates and mostly male birds used to sing. We are familiar with the songs of birds. Another thing is that songs have a clear and specific style. The variation or type of the songs of birds may depend on the time of a day, season or on their geographical location. The songs of birds may be different in the morning and that of in the evening. Some birds may like to sing in spring, some may like to sing in monsoon.

Calls of the birds are also known as call notes. Different species of birds make different kinds of call notes to convey their messages. Generally call notes are like a single tone of definite pitch. Birds use different call notes to alert others about the presence of predators. Birds can tune up their call notes to respond to variety of threats. Another notable thing is that their calls of warning differ according to the location of the danger. If the location of danger is above or in the air then there will be a specific call of warning, like a short, quiet, high pitched sound. Again if location of danger is on land then the call of warning will be different from that. It may be loud.

Birds also make calls to keep contacts with each other. You will feel amazed to know that baby birds make ‘feed me’ calls too. Isn’t this fun?

Sounds made by different species of birds have different names. Here is a list of names of birds sounds: chicken – cluck cock – crow pigeon – coo crow – caw cuckoo(koel) – coo duck – quake eagle – scream hen – cackle, cluck owl – hoot parrot – screech, squawk sparrow – chirp

An interesting feature of birds is that some birds can imitate or mimic human speech. They are called talking birds. Sometimes we keep parrots or mynahs in our houses as pet birds. It has been noticed that they soon start to imitate the words which they hear in their surroundings. It is an amazing feeling to hear the bird talking. Different species of birds make different kinds of call notes to convey their messages.

Image Source: Indiamart.com

There is a conflict among the scientists on whether talking birds like parrots understand the language or not. Scientist like Pepperberg suggested that some species of parrots can use language meaningfully, while other group of scientists differ from this. But different birds have the varying capability of mimicking the language. Besides parrot, there are many other birds who can imitate languages, like hill mynha, Corvids, Starling, Mockingbirds, lyrebirds, Australian magpie etc. Among them parakeets can mimic over 2000 words, while corvids can mimic only few words and phrases.

Image Source: kathakids.com

Sounds made by birds, in other words, songs and calls of birds are a matter of deep study. There is a lot more to explore in the world of sounds made by birds. But whatever it is, it is an amazing world to explore. When a bird is chirping or squawking near your window it may not be simply chirping or squawking, now you know that surely it is a special message for other birds.


The interactions between avian interspecific brood parasites and their hosts provide tractable and informative systems for investigating coevolution. Generally, these investigations have emphasized the egg and chick stages of the coevolutionary arms race however, recent studies demonstrate that coevolution operates at all stages of the host nesting cycle and emphasize the importance of reciprocal adaptations prior to deposition of the parasite egg in the host nest: the ‘frontline’ of the arms race. Here we review the diversity of adaptations at the frontline and its implications for our understanding of brood parasite–host relationships. Coevolution at the frontline can fundamentally shape the life histories, morphologies, physiologies and behaviours of both brood parasites and their hosts, and influences the trajectories and outcomes of their subsequent coevolutionary interactions. We advocate the incorporation of frontline interactions in empirical and theoretical investigations of brood parasite–host arms races to provide a more holistic understanding of the coevolutionary processes in these systems.

Highlights

► We review frontline adaptations in avian brood parasite–host relationships. ► Frontline adaptations operate prior to parasite egg deposition in host nests. ► Like adaptations at the other host nesting stages they result from coevolution. ► They may also influence evolutionary trajectories of arms races. ► Thus, they are essential for a holistic understanding of parasite–host arms races.


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