Urban Birds-A Brief Database

A few more words:
What you see in this post is an attempt at creating a brief database of my bird sightings. This database is meant to help in quick identification of some fairly commonly found birds,based on the pictures and distinguishing characteristic features(wherever mentioned).I have refrained from giving out detailed description regarding shape,plumage color,sound calls,feeding habits,usual habitations etc as it would have taken me forever to include all that info.Referring afield guide is the best recommendation in that context.


But let me state that barring 12 cases,all of these 65 bird sightings havetaken place from my bedroom window or hostel window & CoEP Boat Club at Aurangabad and Pune respectively.One of the intentions behind creating this database is to bring to light the fact that one can witness a large variety of birds even in an urban setting,without having to go specially outdoors.(though nobody has asked me to prove it as such..)


Having said that,I admit that it amazes me to think that if this is what I am gettingw/o even stepping out my shelter places,just how much more I could get to see if I go into the jungles and hills for birding.I hope I’ll be able to do that in the due course of time.

The text in the post is a mix of my own observations and ‘A Field Guide to the Birds of India’ by Krys Kazmierczak.The text preceded by an asteric(*) states the location where i have had my sighting.Out of the pictures posted,some have been clicked from my own cam..but most of them have been downloaded from the internet.


I request the readers to bring to my notice any wrong information,if found in the post.

Cheers and Happy Birding.




Bird:1. Asian Paradise Flycatcher
Size: 20cm

The long tail is obviously noticed.



Bird:2Ashy Prinia Size :13cm

(*Neem tree in front of the house)


Bird:3. Asian Koel  

Size :43cm

(*On trees in any residential area)



Bird:4 Black Drongo
Scientific Name: Dicrurus macrocercus
Size: 31 cm

Notice the forked tail.(*Cables on the highway.teplephone cables near house)

Bird:5. Black kite 

Size: 33cm


Bird:6. Black Redstart

Size: 15cm



Bird:7. Black winged stilt

Size: 25cm

(*CoEP Boat Club)


Blue Whistling Thrush

Scientifi Name:

Myophonus caeruleus


33 CM

This bird is a Resident found in the Himalayas. Feeds on insects and berries.

(*NIM i.e.Nehru Institute of Mountaineering,Uttarakhand-Altitude:4300ft)



Bird:9.Brahminey Starling Size :22cm

Cousin of common myna.So looks are similar.Crest not obvious unless raised.

(*Sinhagad base,Cables near home)




Bird:10 Cattle Egret
Cattle Eagret has a yellow beak. Found near water bodies. Feeds on Fish & Frog.(*country side,farms,Hanuman tekdi base,Aurangabad) 51cm



Coppersmith Barbet

Scientific Name:

Megalaima haemacephala


17 cms

Also called the “Crimson-breasted Barbet. Nests in a hole it makes in the bark of a tree. Feeds on figs, berries & fruits. (*on the terrace of my house,found in seemingly dehydrated condition.)


Bird: 12

Common Kingfisher

Scientific Name:

Alcedo atthis


18 cms

Also called the “Small Blue Kingfisher” Found near water bodies. Feeds on fish & aquatic insects. Differentiated from white breasted/throated kingfisher by lack of white throat patch.(*telephone cables..also at CoEP boat club,Pune)


Bird: 13

Common Myna

Scientific Name:

Acridotheres tristis


25 cms

MOST commonly found bird in India..i see it much much more often than I see sparrows and crows. Found pretty much everywhere-gardens,trees on the streets,jungles. 


Common Coot

Scientific Name:

Fulica atra



Also called the “Coot” this bird is a Resident & Winter Visitor found throughout India. Can be seen swimming in water bodies chasing each other. Feeds on aquatic weeds & insects.(*Salim Ali lake,Aurangabad) 



Common hawk Cuckoo

Scxientific Name:


34 cm

some call this bird the “brain fever bird” due to the sound of its call.(*Salim Ali lake) 

Bird: 16.Chough(Yellow billed)


(*Dokrani glacier area,Uttarakhand-Altitude:around 12000ft)

Bird:17.crested bunting
Scientific Name:15cm
Told from larks by thin pointed bill,rufous wings and tail.found at scrubby hillsides,fallow fields(*Sita-ki nahani,near Ellora caves,Aurangabad.) 
Bird:18 Crested Lark


Size: 18cm(*Gogababa hill plateau,Aurangabad)

Bird:19.Crow Pheasant(Greater Coucal)


Characterized by deep.hollow oop notes(*CoEp Boat Club,trees near home and hostel)




Bird:20. Dusky Crag Martin  
Size : 13cm 



Bird:21. Great tit  
Size : 13cm(*Domestic garden,trees in the hostel premises)


Bird:22. Green Bee eater/wire tailed bee eater  
Size : 21cm
Most familiar and widespread bee eater.Elongated central tail features.

(*telephone cables near my house and on highways.)



Bird:23. himalayan bulbul
Scientific Name:20cmLong jaunty crest,small white cheek patch,pure yellow vent.(*near NIM,uttarakhand)

Bird : 24.Himalayan Griffon

Size: 120cm

(*Rampur,in the himalayan ghats,Himachal Pradesh)



Bird:25. Himalayan Monal  
Size: 68cm(*enroute Dharwa top from Doditaal,Uttarakhand-Altitude:3307m)

Bird:26Himalayan Woodpecker

Size: 25cm

White spotting on forecrown;orange-red on centre of crown


Bird:27. House sparrow  
Size:: 15cm 

Bird:28.House Crow

Size: 43cm




Bird:29. Indian Cormorant  
Size: 63cm(*CoEp Boat Club,Khireshwar village in Ahmednagar)


Bird: 30. Indian Grey Hornbill


Scientific Name:

Ocyceros birostris


50 cms

Endemic to the Indian subcontinent.(*telephone cables) 


Bird:31. Indian Peafowl  
Size: 110cm 

Bird:32 Indian Pond Heron  

Size: 46cm

(*CoEP Boat Club)


Bird: 33. Indian Robin (Male)


Scientific Name:

Saxicoloides fulicata


16 cms

Endemic to the subcontinentVery Common bird! Male is black. Female is brown.(*University area and on telephone cables near my house,Aurangabad…also at CoEP Boat Club) 

Bird:34.Intermediate Egret
Scientific Name:80cm

No contrasting yellow feet like a little egret.Larger in size than the little and cattle egret.




Bird:35.Jungle crow/large billed crow
Scientific Name:48cm

Easily told from house crow by large size and glossy black





Bird: 36. Large Grey Babbler


Scientific Name:

Turdoides caudatus



They are gregarious birds that forage un small groups of 6-10 birds,a habit that has given them the popular name of ‘Seven Sisters’(Saat bhai).They can easily be identified by the loud nasal sounds they all keep making wherever they go.(*near my house,in Pune university area,inside my hostel premises)



Bird: 37. Laughing Dove


Scientific Name:

Streptopelia senegalensis


27 cms

Also called the “Little Brown Dove” . . (*near my house on the telephone cables and on the window sill of the hostel in Pune) confusion can take place between the red collared dove and laughing dove. the red collared dove will have a black band (collar) around the neck but the laughing dove will not have any such collar. Don’t worry too much about the shades of their colour coz light plays amazing games with us and there is also a lot of variation. 

Bird:38.Little cormorant


(*At a pond at Khireshwar village at the base of Harishchandragad,Ahmednagar)


Bird:39 Little Egret
Scientific Name: Egretta garzetta
Size: 63 cm
This bird a widespread Resident in India. Separated fom similar white egrets by black legs with contrasting yellow feet.Found in jheels,wet fields,margins of lakes,rivers,rarely coastal.Has a Black Bill . (*at salim ali n gogababa base)


Bird:40.long tailed Shrike  
Size: 25cm(*Sangla valley,Himachal Pradesh…also at Khireshwar,Ahmednagar)


Bird:41. Little Grebe

Size: 27cm

(*Salim ALi Lake,Aurangabad)



Bird:42. Magpie robin  
Size: 20cm(*CoEP Boat club,Hostel premises)




Bird:43. oriental white-eye(?)
Scientific Name:10cmSuperficially like female sunbird but short bill,white breast and belly,broad white eye ring.(*trees in the hostel premises,Pune)




Bird: 44. Pale-billed Flowerpecker


Scientific Name:

Dicaeum erytrorynchos


8 cms

Also known as the Tickell’s Flowerpecker, this is one of the smallest birds in India.They feed mainly on berries and nectar. (*neem tree) 


Pied Kingfisher

Scientific Name:

Ceryle rudis


31 cm

(*Telephone cables on Delhi-Rhishikesh highway)

(*Delhi-Rhishikesh highway)

Bird:46 Purple Heron


(*CoEP Boat Club)

Bird:47. Purple rumped sunbird

Size: 10cm

(*Domestic gardens)





Bird: 48.

Purple Sunbird (Male)

Scientific Name:

Nectarinia asiatica


10 cm

Feed largely on nectar,insects..Most species can take nectar while hovering like a hummingbird,but usually perch to feed most of the time..In bright sunlight and viewed from a distance,they might appear black to the eye.The black curved bill is distinctive.but one can perceive changes in the shades of the plummage as our viwing angle and changing light plays games with our eyes.(*in the domestic garden,on telephone cables,neem trees)







Red-rumped swallow

Scientific Name:

Hirundo daurica


17 cm

Mostly seen flying.As the name suggests,the iddentifyling character of this swallow is its red rump.(*seen at uttarkashi from hotel gallery and also on the gogababa plateau)


Bird:50. Rose RInged Parakeet

Size: 42cm

Most widespread and commonly found parakeet in India.There are no ‘parrots’ in India.What we see are aall parakeets.(*Badam tree near the house)


Bird: 51.Red vented bulbul



Most commonly found bulbul(*cables,domestic gardens,pretty much everywhere..)


Bird:52.Red wattled Lapwing


Chiefly near fresh water in open country and arable land.(*Salil Ali lake in A’bad)


Bird:53.Red-whiskered bulbul


(*Hostel premises)



Bird:54 Rock Bunting    
Size: 16cm   


(*Sangla valley,Himachal pradesh.) 

Bird:55. Rock Pigeon


Commonly foud pigeon.


Bird:56.(common/dark breasted/pink browed?)rosefinch

(At Tela camp-site,at slightly>4300m,Uttarakhand)


Bird:57.Rufous Treepie

Size: 50cm





Bird:58. Shikra(Raptor)


(*SAlim Ali Lake,Aurangabad)


Bird:59spot billed duck


(*Salim Ali Lake,Aurangabad)



Bird:60 TailorbirdSize:13cm

Characterized by rufuous head and loud pit-pit-pit-pit-..;tew-tew-…;monotoonous chee-up…;pitchik-pitchik-oitchik

(*Domestic gardens)




Bird:61.WHite browed Wagtail


(*Hostel premises,Pune,COEP Boat Club,Pune)



White-throated/breasted kingfisher

Scientific Name:

Halcyon smyrnensis


28 cm

Also called the “White-breasted Kingfisher. Very shy solitary bird. Feeds on Fish, Small reptiles & large Insects. Found near water bodies & Open country. Least dependent on water. Nest is a hole dug on a mud bank. (*Pune-Aurangabad highway,CoEP Boat Club,Pune)




Wire-tailed swallow

Scientific Name:

Hirundo smithii


14 cm

Absent in parts of north & east, this bird is a Resident in India. Wire like Tail! (*seen at salim ali lkae in july first week)  

Bird:64 WHite throated fantail


Characterized by harsh chuck,squeaky cheek,descending tri-riri-riri,kikirrichuck wee-si-weet weet siweet (*Hostel garden,Pune)




Bird:65.Yellow wattled Lapwing


Characterized by plaintive screaming(*Salim Ali lake,Roof terrace of the neighbouring house,A’bad)





















































19 thoughts on “Urban Birds-A Brief Database

  1. umm im not an expert in this field but i have to say that the pictures are brilliant! also i like the title 'bird sightings' quick to draw attention 😛

  2. hi, I think its great efforts for birding people…I have some pictures f common hoope spotted in Gurgaon though..but as in general you may like to include, Oriental magpie robin and Common hoope.


  3. hey Vrushali! thanks for the reply..I have included only those birds that I have seen myself and believe it or not, I am yet to see a common hoope myself :O . Hence the exclusions..magpie robin is already there though! Do you also stay in Gurgaon? Would be nice to know a birder around here.

  4. hey Vrushali! thanks for the reply..I have included only those birds that I have seen myself and believe it or not, I am yet to see a common hoope myself :O . Hence the exclusions..magpie robin is already there though! Do you also stay in Gurgaon? Would be nice to know a birder around here.

  5. excellent work – great resource for a beginner birder like me – dont have to wade thru millions of photos in search of common birds sighted – thank u 😉

  6. excellent ..tooo detailed study .. I have clicked snaps of some of the birds..but was not knowing their names .

    You collection has helped me get lot of info on identification of birds

  7. excellent ..tooo detailed study .. I have clicked snaps of some of the birds..but was not knowing their names .

    You collection has helped me get lot of info on identification of birds

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