Birding in the forests of South India

Lakshmi Sharath
  • By Lakshmi Sharath
  • August 27th, 2010

I am in the forests of South India , gazing at the banks of the river Kabini . The river wedges the forests , Nagarhole and Bandipur and the banks are known to attract elephants.While Kabini is filled with wildlife enthusiasts and tourists narrating their escapades and encounters with tigers and tuskers , I am happy with my lot of birds .For an amateur birder like me, Kabini is full of surprises. While the elusive leopard or tiger may always be difficult to sight, the feathered species never disappoint. There are raptors, migratory birds, water birds, waders, forest birds and every time , the forests and the river greets me with a new story.


Pic : Lakshmi Sharath

I saw my first peregrine falcon here in Kabini during winter , when it showed me what speed was all about. It was perched for a moment on one of the dry branches sticking out of the waters and the next moment, it shot right across the river. During one boat ride, I was lucky enough to see four different species of the kingfisher, starting from the uncommon common kingfisher, the regular white breasted kingfisher , the stork billed variety and the black and white pied kingfisher looking for their next meal in the waters.

I saw more Malabar pied hornbills than cormorants as they created a racket while flying into the forest.. Keeping the cormorants company was a darter , posing for me with his wings spread out. The painted storks created pretty picture , looking at their reflections in the water. They were surrounded by the w asian openbills, Eurasian spoonbills and the woolly necked stork among several water birds.


Pic : Lakshmi Sharath

The crested serpent eagle is a regular bird in these forests, but the drama that accompanied me during the sighting was not all that regular. A drongo and an Indian roller were together chasing the eagle away until it flew away into the trees. We chanced upon a peacock trying to impress a peahen with his dance, but she just walked away as we saw the spectacle. Meanwhile, a scarlet minivet seemed to enjoy his moment , as the female yellow bird followed him into the foliage of the trees.
Everyday there is drama in these forests and while most of it is lost within the verdant greenery, it is up to us to look a little deeper and enjoy these moments.

This post is written by Indian backpacker for, which offers different long distance calling cards, such as cheap phone cards to India

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