Birds of India
India is known all over the world for it’s rich flora and fauna. It is one of the best places in the world for enthusiastic bird watchers. From the mighty Himalayas to the serene backwaters of Kerela, and from Gujarat in the west to the tip of Northeast India, a rich variety of birds reside here. As of 2016, it has been recorded that India has 1266 species of birds out of which 61 are unique to our country. 25 of these species are rarely found, recorded as 10 or lesser in number and 82 of these species are globally threatened.
Following are some popular birds that belong to India:-
Peacock: The Indian peacock or peafowl is the national bird of India. Vividly colorful and exuding oodles of grace, the Indian Peafowl commands a lot of attention. It has become a representative of Indian culture and traditions and is highly celebrated in Indian mythology for it’s beauty. It is indigenous to India and Sri Lanka, but now features in countries all over the world.
Threats towards the Indian peafowl arise due to the demand for the beautiful feathers to be used for decorative purposes. They are hunted and killed by poachers for meat as well.
The Indian peafowl has been granted special conservation efforts owing to its status as the National Bird of India. Hunting of the national bird is illegal. Although the total number of Indian Peafowl is unknown, they are abundant enough to be labeled ‘Least Concern’ by the IUCN Red List.
Indian Roller bird: The Indian Roller is a vibrantly colored bird formerly known by the name of ‘Blue Jay’. The Indian roller gains its name from its elaborate courtship displays, during which it performs some startling aerobatics culminating in a series of ‘rolling’ motions.
Indian rollers are prey bird and feed upon their prey by descending to the ground. All kinds of insects, reptiles, moths and sometimes even frogs usually end up becoming their prey.
Many states in India including Karnataka, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh and Orissa have made the Indian Roller their state bird. The Indian roller is considered to be a sacred bird in Hindu mythology and is associated with the deity Lord Shiva, also referred with it’s local hindi name – ‘Neelkanth’.
Every year, thousands of Indian Roller birds are captured and tortured during Dussehra, all because of a superstition that sighting this bird during the festival will absolve the viewer of his or her sins.
Common Kingfisher: Out of the 90 odd kingfisher species in the world around 12 are found in India. All kingfishers are highly territorial. Since it must eat around 60% of its body weight each day, it is essential to have control of a suitable stretch of river or water body to prey for food which is mostly fish. It is solitary bird for most of the year, roosting alone in heavy cover.
Common Kingfisher is a resident of Indian subcontinent, mostly found in the state of Haryana and conserved national parks of India. Although it has been given a status of ‘Least concern’ by the IUCN, it’s declining number is a concern. Once a common sight, this bird is fast disappearing from the Indian skies.
Indian Ringneck Parrot: The Indian Ring-necked Parakeet originates from southern India. It is one of the four recognized subspecies of Ring-necked parakeets and is commonly kept in captivity.
These elegant and beautiful birds can make for good pets provided that a good training is given. If not given sufficient attention, the Indian Ring Neck may become unfriendly and disobedient. In order to maintain their friendly personalities and tameness, regular handling and socialization are a must for these birds.
These are a social species and often congregate in large, noisy flocks at their favorite roosting sites. Like all parrots, they are noisiest in the mornings and evenings.
Brown Pigeon: Pigeon is one of the world’s oldest domesticated birds. This family occurs worldwide, but the greatest variety is in the Indian and Australian ecozones. Pigeons and doves are likely the most common birds in the world. They primarily feed on seeds, fruits, and plants.
One of their most surprising feature is their ability to return to the same location from which they were released which maybe upto 1000 kms. Pigeons have made contributions of considerable importance to humanity, especially in times of war. Their homing ability has been put to use by making them messengers. Medals such as the Croix de Guirre awarded to Cher Ami, and the Dickin Medal awarded to the pigeons G.I. Joe and Paddy are amongst the 32 awards that have been awarded to pigeons for their services in saving human lives.
BulBul: Bulbuls are short necked slender birds. Their family is distributed across most of Africa, Middle East, tropical Asia to Indonesia, and north as far as Japan. A few insular species occur on the tropical islands of the Indian Ocean.
Bulbuls are highly vocal. In popular legend, they have been an important symbol for poets from various ages and their example is often used to describe people with a sweet voice. They have been a part of many Indian stories and poems for their melodious voice.
Indian Spotted Eagle: The Indian spotted eagle is a South Asian bird of prey. It is a native of India, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Nepal where it prefers subtropical and tropical dry forests to plantations and arable land. These eagle species hunt for their food and prey on small birds, mammals, reptiles and frogs.
This species has a lighter coloration overall compared to its relatives, with a darker iris that makes the eyes appear darker than their plumage.
These spotted eagle species have a small and declining population of less than 10,000 birds and are considered vulnerable. Habit loss is the major threat to the survival of these species. The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) has categorized and evaluated these eagle species and has listed them as “Vulnerable”.
Blue-tailed green bee-eater: The blue-tailed bee-eater species are distributed mainly in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and other parts of south-east Asia. These birds are very sociable and nestle in colonies, usually near water bodies. It is a richly colored, slender bird which is predominantly green.
The blue-tailed bee-eater does not approach the thresholds for being vulnerable. Loss of habitat and feeding grounds are the main threats that may endanger the survival of these bee-eater species.
The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) has categorized and evaluated the bee-eater species and has listed it as of “Least Concern”.