Bird watching

This page is dedicated to a renowned personality in field of Indian ornithology. He was resident here when Shimla was the summer capital of British India.

Allan Octavian Hume (06 June 1829 – 31 July 1912) was a civil servant, politicalA.O. Hume. reformer and horticulturalist in British India. A notable ornithologist, Hume has been called “the Father of Indian Ornithology” and, by those who found him dogmatic, “the Pope of Indian ornithology.”

He was one of the founders of the Indian National Congress, a political party that was later to lead the Indian independence movement.

—Rothney Castle, Simla, October 19th, 1889, Mr. Hume wrote:

I have long regretted my inability to issue a revised edition of ‘Nests and Eggs’. For many years.

After the first Rough Draft appeared, I went on laboriously accumulating materials for a re-issue, but subsequently circumstances prevented my undertaking the work.

Now, fortunately, my friend Mr. Eugene Oates has taken the matter up, and much as I may personally regret having to hand over to another a task, the performance of which I should so much have enjoyed, it is some consolation to feel that the readers, at any rate, of this work will have no cause for regret, but rather of rejoicing that the work has passed into younger and stronger hands.

One thing seems necessary to explain. The present Edition does not include quite all the materials I had accumulated for this work. Many years ago, during my absence from Simla, a servant broke into my museum and stole thence several cwts of manuscript, which he sold as waste paper. This manuscript included more or less complete life-histories of some 700 species of birds, and also a certain number of detailed accounts of modifications.

All small notes on slips of paper were left, but almost every article written on full-sized foolscap sheets was abstracted. It was not for many months that the theft was discovered, and then very little of the MSS. could be recovered.

Hume’s Leaf Warbler or Hume’s Warbler (Phylloscopus humei) is a small leaf warbler which breeds in the mountains of inner Asia. This warbler is migratory and winters mainly in India. This bird is named after a famous ornithologist Allan Octavian Hume.

Hume's WarblerHume’s Leaf Warbler is one of the smallest “Old World warblers”. Like most other leaf warblers, it has greenish upperparts and off-white under parts. With its long supercilium, crown stripe and yellow-margined tertial remiges, it is very similar to the Yellow-browed Warbler (P. inornatus). However, it has only one prominent light wing bar, just a faint vestige of the second shorter wing bar, and overall duller colors. It also has a dark lower mandible and legs.

Its song is buzzing and high pitched. The best distinction from the Yellow-browed Warbler is the more disyllabic call.

The Great Barbet (Megalaima virens) (Hindi name: Papeha) is an Asian barbet.

The Great Barbet is a resident breeder in the lower-to-middle altitudes of the Himalayas, ranging across northern India, Nepal and Bhutan, and some parts of Southeast Asia.

Great BarbetIt is a species of broad leaf evergreen woodlands at 600-2,565 m altitude. It nests in a tree hole. The male’s territorial call is a very loud kay-oh. The alarm is a harsh keeab, and another call is a repetitive piou-piou-piou-piou.

The Himalayan Woodpecker (Dendrocopos himalayensis) is a species of bird found in the northern regions of the Indian Subcontinent, primarily the Himalayas and some adjoining areas, and ranges across Afghanistan, India, Nepal, Bhutan and Pakistan.

Himalayan Woodpecker.A medium sized, pied woodpecker. Black above with broad white patches from shoulder to lower back, limited white barring on flight feathers and clean white tail edgings. Under parts and head plain pale buff with black Y-shaped mark on neck and cheeks, red crown in male and black in female. Black marks under eyes unique. Vent pink.

The Long-tailed Minivet (Pericrocotus ethologus) is a species of bird in the Campephagidae family. Wide range of open forest types, including broad leaf and pine (Pinus) forests, light. In Himachal Pradesh bird is a breeding visitor.

Long Tailed MinivetMale nominate race has head and upper parts to upper back black, glossed blue, lower back to upper tail-coverts scarlet and upper wing glossy black. The breeding seasons lasts from April –June. Nest built by both sexes, a neat cup of grass stems, fine twigs, rootlets or moss, with cobweb and lichen on outside. Mainly feeds on insects, beetles (Coleoptera), flies (Diptera), insect larvae and spiders.

The Himalayan Vulture or Himalayan Griffon Vulture (Gyps himalayensis) is closely related to the European Griffon Vulture (G. fulvus) and once considered a subspecies of it, this species is found along the Himalayas and the adjoining Tibetan Plateau. It is one of the two largest old world vultures and true raptors.

Himalayan Griffon

This is a “huge” vulture and is perhaps the largest and heaviest bird found in the Himalayas.

Adults have a ruff that is long and pale brown with white streaks. The ruff feathers are long and spiky. The head is covered in down which is yellowish in adults but whitish in immature vultures. The underside and under-wing coverts are quite pale brown or buff. The legs are covered with buffy feathers and the feet can vary from greenish-grey to white.

In flight the long fingers are splayed and there is a pale patagial stripe on the underwing. The wing and tail feathers are dark and contrast with the pale coverts and body, one of the best methods to distinguish this species from the slightly smaller Griffon Vulture.

A field study estimated an average of 9 kg (20 lb) for the Himalayan Vulture, but weights can vary with conditions from 8–12 kg (18–26 lb).The wingspan of birds varies greatly depending on the method used to measure themand published measurements vary from 2.56 to 3.1 m (8.4 to 10.2 ft).

Historically, Himalayan Vultures regularly fed on human corpses left out on Celestial burial grounds.This species is fairly contentious around other scavengers and typically dominates other meat-eaters at carrion, though is subservient to Gray Wolves (Canis lupus), Snow Leopards (Panthera uncia) and Cinereous Vultures at carcasses. In a large party, these vultures can reportedly strip a human or sheep carcass of all meat in 30 minutes and do the same to a yak carcass in roughly 120 minutes.

Himalayan Vultures have been observed feeding on pine (Pinus roxburghii) needles, an unexplained behavior that cannot be for obtaining nutrition.

Variegated Laughing Thrush (Trochalopteron variegatum) is a medium-sized Olive and Buffy Laughing Thrush (24 – 26cm).

Variegated Laughing ThrushBroad pale area between dark mask and black throat-stripe, black tail with broad grey sub terminal band pale eye and forehead, short white post-ocular streak, rufus belly, vent and greater secondary coverts.

Found open forest (fir, birch or oak) with dense rhododendron and bamboo or bushes. In winter found often in open willow groves and occasionally in gardens. Found from 1800m to 2400m, in winter down to 1000m during extreme winter weather.

It feeds on insects, fruits and berries. During breeding season found in pairs, otherwise found in groups up to 20 birds. Usually not shy. Breeding season is from April to August.

Bird species and mammals from district Shimla 29 – 30 March 2013
Mr. Dion Hobgoft & Sanjay Verma
1 Himalayan Griffon
2 Lammergeier
3 Koklass Pheasant
4 Hill Partridge
5 Oreintal Turtle Dove
6 Slatey – Headed Parakeet
7 Koel
8 Great Barbet
9 Brown – fronted Pied Woodpecker
10 Himalayan Pied Woodpecker
11 Grey – faced Woodpecker
12 Long – Tailed Minivet
13 Himalayan Bulbul
14 Black Bulbul
15 Blue Whistling Thrush
16 Chestnut Bellied Rock Thrush
17 Black Throated Thrush
18 Grey – Winged Blackbird
19 White – Collared Blackbird
20 Himalayan Blue tail (Bush – Robin)
21 Stone-chat
22 Grey Bush-chat
23 Pied Bush-chat
24 Rufous – Bellied Nittava
25 Verditer Flycatcher
26 Rofous – gorgeted Flycatcher
27 Grey – headed Canary Flycatcher
28 Streaked Laughing thrush
29 Black – chinned Babbler
30 White – browed Shrike – Babbler
31 Brown – flanked Bush – Wabler
32 Grey – hooded Warbler
33 Greenish Warbler
34 Blyth’s Leaf Warbler
35 Hume’s Warbler
36 Spot – winged Tit
37 Bar – tailed Tree Creeper
38 White – tailed Nuthatch
39 White – cheeked Nuthatch
40 Altai Accentor
41 Rufous – breasted Accentor
42 Rock Bunting
43 House Sparrow
44 Russet Sparrow
45 Pink – browed Rose finch
46 Black and Yellow Grosbeak
47 Common Myna
48 Ashy Drongo
49 Spotted Nutcracker
50 Large – billed Crow
51 Eurasian Jay
52 Lanceolated Jay
53 Red – Billed Blue Magpie
54 Grey Tree pie
55 Ultramarine Flycatcher
56 Fire capped Tit
57 Rufos Sibia
58 Gold crest
1 Rhesus Macaque
2 Himalayan Langur
3 Yellow – throated Marten
4 Golden Jackal

2 Responses to Bird watching

  1. Anonymous says:

    Have fun experimenting and keep me posted on the adventure!Looks amazing! Will have to take this on when I have some spare time

  2. Anonymous says:

    I’m still learning from you, as I’m making my way to the top as well. I certainly love reading everything that is written on your site.Keep the stories coming. I loved it!

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