Thursday, September 2, 2010

Madivala Lake Diaries: Part I (Bangalore Nature)

  • Birds sighted---::Ashy Prinia Also known as the Ashy Wren-Warbler (Prinia socialis), it is a small warbler. The prinia is a resident breeder in the Indian subcontinent. These 13–14 cm long warblers have short rounded wings, a longish tail usually held upright, strong legs and a short black bill. The crown is grey and the underparts are rufous in most plumages. In breeding plumage, adults are ash grey with a black crown and cheek with no supercilium and rufescent wings. In non-breeding season there is a short and narrow white supercilium and the tail is longer. Like most warblers, the Ashy Prinia is insectivorous. The song is a repetitive tchup, tchup, tchup or zeet-zeet-zeet. It also makes a sound like "electric sparks" which is said to be produced by the wings.

  • Asian Koel It is also known as the Rain bird (Eudynamys scolopaceus) and is a member of the cuckoo order of birds, the Cuculiformes. The Asian Koel is a brood parasite and 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. They are very vocal during the breeding season (March to August), 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. They show a pattern of moult that differs from those of other parasitic cuckoos.

  • Cattle Egret [NBR: Non-breeding]It (Bubulcus ibis) is a cosmopolitan species of heron (family Ardeidae).The nest is a platform of sticks in trees or shrubs. Unlike most other herons, it feeds in relatively dry grassy habitats, often accompanying cattle or other large mammals, since it catches insect and small vertebrate prey disturbed by these animals. 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 

    Eurasian CootFulica atra, also known as Coot, is a member of the rail and crake bird family, the Rallidae. The Coot is 36–42 cm long, and is largely black except for the white facial 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 juvenile is paler than the adult, has a whitish breast, and lacks the facial shield; the adult black plumage develops when about 3–4 months old, but the white shield is only fully developed at about one year old.This is a noisy bird with a wide repertoire of crackling, explosive, or trumpeting calls, often given at night. They are much less secretive than most of the rail family, and can be seen swimming on open water or walking across waterside grasslands. It is an aggressive species, and strongly territorial during the breeding season, and both parents are involved in territorial defence. During the non-breeding season they may form large flocks, possibly related to predator avoidance.

    Grey Heron [Immature]
    The Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea), is a wading bird of the heron family Ardeidae, native throughout temperate Asia. It is a large bird, standing 90-100 cm tall, with a 175-195 cm wingspan and a weight of 1-2 kg. 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, cranesspoonbills, which extend their necks. The call is a loud croaking "fraaank".

  •  Indian Pond Heron [br]The Indian Pond Heron or Paddybird (Ardeola grayii) is a small heron. They are widespread and common but can be easily missed when the stalk prey at the edge of small water-bodies or even when the roost close to human habitations. They are however distinctive when put to flight, the bright white wings flashing in contrast to the cryptic streaked olive and brown colours of the body. The camouflage is so excellent that they will often allow humans to approach very close before taking to flight, and this has resulted in folk names and beliefs that the birds are short-sighted or blind.

    Purple HeronThe Purple Heron (Ardea purpurea) is a wading bird in the heron family Ardeidae. The Purple Heron is a large bird, 80-90 cm tall, with a 120-150 cm wingspan, but slender for its size, weighing only 0.5-1.3 kg. 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 Purple Heron breeds in colonies in reed beds or trees close to large lakes or other extensive wetlands. It builds a bulky stick nest. It feeds in shallow water, spearing fish, frogs, insects, small mammals, reptiles and small birds. It will often wait motionless for prey, or slowly stalk its victim. It tends to keep within reedbeds more than the Grey Heron, and is often inconspicuous, despite its size. It has a slow flight, with its neck retracted. The long neck of Purple Heron looks particularly snake-like, with more of an S-shape in flight. The call is a loud croaking "krek".

    Purple SwamphenThe Purple Swamphen (Porphyrio porphyrio), also known as the African Purple Swamphen, Purple Moorhen, Purple Gallinule, Purple Waterhen or Purple Coot, is a large bird in the family Rallidae (rails). From its name in French, talève sultane, it is also known as the Sultana Bird. The species has a very loud explosive call described as a "raucous high-pitched screech, with a subdued musical tuk-tuk". It is particularly noisy during the breeding season. Despite being clumsy in flight it can fly long distances, and it is a good swimmer, especially for a bird without webbed feet. They are generally seasonal breeders, but the season varies across their large range, correlating with peak rainfall in many places, or summer in more temperate climes. They breed in warm reed beds. The male has an elaborate courtship display, holding water weeds in his bill and bowing to the female with loud chuckles. In the western parts of the range the pattern of social behaviour tends to be monogamy, but cooperative breeding groups are more common in the eastern parts of the range. These groups may consist of multiple females and males sharing a nest or a male female pair with helpers drawn from previous clutches.

    Spot-billed PelicanThe Spot-billed Pelican or Grey Pelican (Pelecanus philippensis) is a member of the pelican family. They are a relatively small pelican but are still large bird. being 125–152 cm (49–60 in) in length and weighing 4.1–6 kg (9-13.2 lbs). In breeding plumage, the skin at the base of the beak is dark and the orbital patch is pink. The main habitat is in shallow lowland freshwaters. They are very silent although at their nests they can make hisses, grunts or snap their bills. This species was once used by fishermen in parts of eastern Bengal as decoys for certain fish. These fishermen believed that an oily secretion from the bird attracted certain fish.

    Indian Spot-billed duckThe Spotbill, Anas poecilorhyncha, also known as the Spot-billed Duck, is a dabbling duck. It is a bird of freshwater lakes and marshes in fairly open country and feeds by dabbling for plant food mainly in the evening or at night. It nests on the ground in vegetation near water, and lays 8-14 eggs. Both the male and female have calls similar to the Mallard.In the Japanese manga and anime One Piece, there is a "Super Spotbill" named Karoo which is owned by Nefertari Vivi. Also, the Farfetch'd species in the Pokémon series is possibly based on the spotbill

    *Disclaimer: All photos are original and taken on the date mentioned. All information has been compiled from Wikipedia and can be inaccurate. If there are discrepancies, please write in and let me know. (Date, 16th August 2010)

    Labels: Asia, Bangalore, bengaluru, Birds, India, Lake, Madivala

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