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The Singinawa Video
Barasingha spotted during Kanha Safari
Barasingha spotted during Kanha Safari
Barasingha spotted during Kanha Safari

Birds Of Singinawa

RED-WATTLED LAPWING (VANELLUS INDICUS)

Red-wattled Lapwing (Vanellus indicus)

Common resident

Even if you miss a Red-wattled Lapwing on the ground, its calls are difficult to miss. The loud ‘did you do it’ calls can be heard from far, and can be heard frequently. The ground-dwelling bird can be easily spotted in forests, as well as in rural and urban landscapes, wherever there is a clear open space and a waterbody nearby. The red wattle (patch of skin on a bird’s body not covered with feathers) at the base of the beak is the only brightly-coloured patch on an otherwise dull-coloured bird. In some parts of India it is believed that the bird is gifted with weather-forecasting powers, and builds it nest at a safe distance from the water’s edge depending on how good or bad the rains are going to be!

Asian Koel (Eudynamys scolopaceus)

Common resident

The Asian Koel is a bird most would be familiar with. Its melodious calls are popularly used to compliment sweet voice. The male is all black, while the female is spotted and barred in brown and white all over. The Asian Koel is a brood parasite (i.e. lays eggs in other bird’s nest) on crow’s nest. During the summers, when the Asian Koel is ready to mate, its calls can be heard far and wide and repeatedly throughout the day. Although the koel prefers wooded areas, it can adapt to live within human habitations too.

Asian Koel (Eudynamys scolopaceus)
Greater Coucal (Centropus sinensis)

Greater Coucal (Centropus sinensis)

Common resident

The large bird is known by several vernacular and alternate names; in English it also called and crow pheasant, although it is related to neither. The Greater Coucal actually is closely related to cuckoos, but builds it own nest. A reluctant flier, the Greater Cocual spends a lot of time closer to the ground. When disturbed, it runs on the ground and cumbersomely hops up branches to gain height. Its loud and resonating (somewhat primate-like) calls can be heard frequently in the morning. The Greater Coucal feeds on various smaller animals, including insects, amphibians, reptiles and small mammals, and even picks up young birds from nests.

Jungle Owlet (Glaucidium radiatum)

Common resident

The pocket-sized Jungle Owlet is the most ubiquitous species of owl in Kanha. Heavily barred with brown, the only striking feature of the owl are its piercing yellow eyes. Although chiefly active at dawn and dusk, the owlet can sometimes be seen even during the daytime. Their calls, once again a frequent feature at dawn and dusk, can be regularly heard at the lodge. The Jungle Owlet preys up on smaller birds, reptiles and mammals, but are sometimes known to take down birds bigger than themselves, such as doves, too!

Jungle Owlet (Glaucidium radiatum)
Common Hoopoe (Upupa epops)

Common Hoopoe (Upupa epops)

Uncommon resident

The Common Hoopoe is a unique bird, with no close relative in the avian kingdom. Its taxonomy has hence always been confusing, with the bird being associated with kingfishers and hornbills, before being allocated its own unique group. The hoopoe uses its long beak to probe for insects and other invertebrates, as well as small amphibians and reptiles, in soft earth and among grasses. A popular character in European and Islamic culture, the Common Hoopoe has been associated with both good and bad omens. Sightings of the hoopoe increase in the winters in Kanha. In the Singinawa premises, one can find the hoopoe mostly flying over the tree line, but can be sometimes spotted foraging on the ground in the grassland patch.

Indian Roller (Coracias benghalensis)

Common resident

The Indian Roller is easily one of the most beautiful birds of India. The brilliant, electric hues of blue are difficult to miss, especially if you see this bird in flight. In Singinawa, one can easily see this bird in the open grasslands, perched atop some tree, keeping an eye out for a stray insect or a lizard on the ground. During mating season, male Indian Rollers are known to engage in an aerial display which demonstrates their mastery in the art of flying, and gives the birds their English name. The bird is known as neelkanth in Hindi, and is thus associated with Lord Shiva. During the festival of Mahashivratri, in some parts of South India, Indian Rollers are caught and released, an act which is supposed to bring good luck and prosperity. Unfortunately, several individuals die because of the stress caused in captivity.

Indian Roller (Coracias benghalensis)
Green Bee-eater (Merops orientalis)

Green Bee-eater (Merops orientalis)

Common resident

The Green Bee-eater is one of the most acrobatic fliers among the birds of Kanha. The tiny, green bird catches insects in flight, and hence has to be agile enough in flight. Everything from butterflies and moths, to dragonflies, bees and wasps are on the menu for the bee-eater. Once a target is acquired, the bee-eater makes sorties from its perch and usually returns to the same perch with its catch. Hard exoskeletons and harmful stings are dealt with by repeatedly thrashing the prey on the perch, before consuming it. Green Bee-eaters can be usually seen in small groups perched high up on bare branches, looking out for prey.

Brown-headed Barbet (Psilopogon zeylanicus)

Common resident

The Brown-headed Barbet is a plump-looking, large barbet. It is an arboreal species, and despite its bright green colours, camouflages well in tree canopies. Just like any other barbet, the Brown-headed Barbet uses its thick bill to chisel out a cavity on tree trunks to nest in. Largely frugivorrous, Brown-headed Barbets feed on many commercially important fruits, such as mangoes, papayas, bananas and figs. As a result, these birds have grown tolerant of human movement and are a common sight in many populated cities as well. The best place to find this barbet in Singinawa in atop any one of the large mango or Ficus tree when it is fruiting.

Brown-headed Barbet (Psilopogon zeylanicus)
Indian Golden Oriole (Oriolus kundoo)

Indian Golden Oriole (Oriolus kundoo)

Common resident

The Indian Golden Oriole, with its bright yellow plumage, is one of the most striking bird of Kanha. It comes as no wonder hence that most of the local names of the bird in India translate to the word ‘turmeric’. It was previously considered to be a subspecies of the Eurasian Golden Oriole, but now considered to be a distinct species by itself. The easiest way to distinguish the the Indian Golden Oriole from its Eurasian counterpart is by the presence of the black stripe extending beyond the eye, as opposed to ending at the eye in the Eurasian counterpart. Females and juvenile birds are slightly duller in colour than adult males. If you are lucky, you might spot the brightly-coloured oriole atop one of the tall trees in Singinawa.

Rufous Treepie (Dendrocitta vagabunda)

Common resident

One look at the Rufous Treepie is not enough to comprehend that bird is a relative of the crow. But a closer look at its bill will reveal an uncanny resemblance to the urban scavenger’s beak. Otherwise, the Rufous Treepie is a brilliantly-coloured bird, mostly with reddish-brown (rufous colour), and a long black and white tail. Even the eating habits of the treepie closely resemble those of crows, as they make do with whatever is available in the forest. They are known to feed on fruits, seeds, insects, small reptiles and amphibians, nestlings and even scavenge! The treepie is a bird of the woodlands, and can be easily seen moving through the canopy in the Singinawa premises.

Rufous Treepie (Dendrocitta vagabunda)