Wetland Birds

The inland lakes, rivers, reservoirs, marshes, estuaries, lagoons constitute the wetland ecosystem. The birds that live in this ecosystem are widely called as “Wetland birds”. Bird species included here are Little Grebe, Common Moorhen, Little Cormorant, Darter, White-breasted Waterhen, Spot-billed Pelican, Asian Openbill, Black-winged Stilt, Black-headed Ibis, Indian Pond Heron, Lesser Whistling-duck, White-breasted Kingfisher and Brahminy Kite.

 

 

1. Brahminy Kite Haliastur Indus

Brahminy Kite

Brahminy Kite

 

 

 

Brahminy Kite is a bird of prey with a long tail, strong toes and sharply curved bill to tear the carrions and to predate on chicks and rodents. Chestnut in color, with white head and neck, having rufous under-parts with black shaft streaks and black wing tip. The juveniles are distinct by their round tail and have large whitish patches at base of wings.

 

 

 

 

2. Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis

 

 

Little Grebe

Little Grebe

Grebes are well adapted aquatic birds that can dive from the sur face and swim well under the water. Little Grebe is a small, stocky grebe, often with puffed-up rear end. It is dark brown in colour with paler thigh, cheeks and sides of neck are rufous, and has yellow patch at base of bill. They are seen in lakes, ponds, tanks. They have strong legs & are placed near the rear of their almost tailless body, and the feet are lobed. They feed mainly on fish and aquatic invertebrates, which are caught by diving.

 

 

3. Indian Pond Heron Ardeola grayii

 

Indian Pond Heron

Indian Pond Heron

Indian Pond Heron is a small, shortlegged heron, with whitish wings and tail. Adult breeding bird has yellow buff head and neck with white forehead. It has white wings with buff wash across wings. It has bluish yellow or bluish orange bill with dark tip, and legs can be bright yellow or even reddish color. Non-breeding bird has dark brown head, neck and breast streaked. It is seen in marshes, flooded paddy field, village tanks, lakes and mangrove. Usually solitary when hunting, but will gather in large numbers at drying-out pools to feed on flies.

 

 

 

 

4. Little Cormorant Phalacrocorax niger

Little Cormorant

Little Cormorant

 

 

Little Cormorant is a crow like aquatic bird and has a short and stout bill, rectangular shaped short head, and stout neck with long tail. Its feathers are glossy black in colour with bluish or greenish tinges and it has silvery grey upper parts. It has a short crest, and a few white feathers on forehead and sides of head.

 

 

 

5. White-breasted Kingfisher Halcyon smyrnensis

White-breasted Kingfisher

White-breasted Kingfisher

Kingfishers are a small to medium sized birds with large head, long strong beak and short legs. Whitebr easted Kingfisher- a lar ge, cosmopolitan Kingfisher has long red bill, chocolate brown head and under-parts. It has white throat and breast with brilliant turquoise-blue upper-parts including rump and tail. Among Kingfishers, this species is often seen away from water. It plunges head into water to catch fish. It feeds mainly on fish, tadpoles and invertebrates; frogs, snails, crabs, lizards and rodents.

 

 

 

 

6. White-breasted Waterhen Amaurornis phoenicurus

White-breasted Waterhen

White-breasted Waterhen

 

White-breasted Waterhen is a wader with long legs for wading and short rounded wings. It’s body is laterally compressed, enabling it to run through reeds and undergrowth. It is a very striking bird and has white face, fore-neck and breast, dark slate-gray hind-neck with grey, upper-parts and flanks, and rufous-cinnamon lower belly, vent and tail. It has long lime green bill with red base. It is less shy and often feeds in the open areas and on dry land.

 

 

7. Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus

 

Black-winged Stilt

Black-winged Stilt

Stilt is an elegant bird with a long bill, and longer legs in proportion to the body than any other birds. Blackwinged- stilt is very long-legged, black and white wader with fine, straight black bill. At rest shows mainly white head, neck and underbody, and reddish pink legs. Both sexes can have dusky grey crown, nape and hindneck. It is a noisy wader readily agitated and have graceful walk. They eat insects and aquatic invertebrates and small fish. They are mostly seen in fresh water and brackish marshes, pools, village tanks, reservoirs, salt-pans, industrial cooling ponds. They build nest on a mound or islet surrounded by shallow water or on a dry bank.

 

 

8. Darter  Anhinga melanogaster

Darter

Darter

Darters are large water birds with long neck, spear-shaped bill. They are good swimmers, submerging the whole body inside the water and exposing only the long neck outside. It’s anatomically modified and flexible neck gives it an S-shape, and while swimming, gives a picture of snake on the water and gaining the name, “Snake bird”. The strong musculature in head and neck helps in its forceful thrust for hunting fishes and its darting behavior gave its name “Darter”.This black coloured bird has grey streaks on their back, with whitish chin and throat. They engage most of the time in drying the wings and feathers with stretched wings and perform preening.

 

 

9. Lesser Whistling-duck Dendrocygna javanica

Lesser-whistling Duck

Lesser-whistling Duck

 

 

Lesser Whistling-ducks are gregarious birds that can be seen near shallow water with extensive marshy vegetation. Roosts on trees. The Lesser Whistling ducks are small and make whistling notes. Move generally in groups of dozens to hundreds to thousands. They feed on snails, frogs, fishes, etc. The wing feathers produce noise while in flight. They are active at night also; they sleep less at night and do mid-day roosting.

 

 

 

 

10. Asian Openbill Anastomus oscitans

 

Asian Openbill

Asian Openbill

 

 

Asian Openbill Stork is unique bird with specialized beak structure adapted for feeding on its favourite food snails. The long neck and long legs aids in reaching longer distance to catch their prey. These are grayish to white coloured stork with black long and broad wings. They nest and breed in trees along with other individuals of its species and also with Cormorants, Ibises, Herons. It is a common site to see Painted Storks nests along with Asian Openbill nest. They make some specific beak clattering sounds often.

 

 

 

 

11. Spot-billed Pelican Pelecanus philippensis

 

Spot-billed Pelican

Spot-billed Pelican

 

 

 

Pelicans can be identified by its characteristic large bill and huge pouch. Spot-billed Pelicans can be seen in marshes, rivers, estuaries, lakes, reservoirs. They roost and nest in trees alongside with Storks, Egrets, Cormorants’ nests. Pelicans generally move in groups, i.e., they make communal feeding, communal roosting and fly in groups.

 

 

 

 

12. Black-headed Ibis Threskiornis melanocephalus

 

Black-headed Ibis

Black-headed Ibis

 

These are black headed waders with long de-curved black bill, dark legs and bare head and robust body. In the breeding season the black turns golden in colour and the skin under wing turns red. They move in small groups for feeding. The feet are adapted for wading purpose or to walk on marshes and swamps, in their habitat. This Ibis have a binocular vision for locating their food, but mostly they locate their food by touch. They move in groups for feeding, roosting and also nests along with other birds of their species.

 

 

 

13.Common Moorhen Gallinula chloropus

Common Moorhen

Common Moorhen

 

Moorhens are hen like birds occuring in marshes and are very shy, and are generally silent. It has two long legs for wading and short rounded wings. Indian Moorhens have yellow tipped red bill and red frontal shield, red irises, blackish head and neck, slate grey underparts, and dark olive-brown upper-parts, white under tail feathers and white thigh, and yellow-green legs and looks red above knee. They are found singly or in pairs or even in small parties, always roaming around aquatic plants and also feeds on land near water bodies. It is a good walker; walks on lily or lotus leaves in ponds and pools.