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Rufous-bellied woodpecker (Female): Dendrocopos hyperythrus


Rufous-bellied woodpecker (Female)
Dendrocopos hyperythrus

Rufous-bellied woodpecker (Female)
Dendrocopos hyperythrus
 
Rufous-bellied woodpecker: Dendrocopos hyperythrus
IUCN Status:
Least Concern
Gender:
Female
Age:
Adult
Characteristics of Female:
White barred mantle and wings; whitish face; rufous underparts, reddish near vent; a white-spotted black crown and nape
Characteristics of Male:
It differs in having red crown and nape;
Confusables:
None
Habitat:
Subtropical and Temperate forests
Food:
Berries, Caterpillars, Fruit, Grubs, Insects, Larve, Worms
Nesting:
Holes in Tree Trunks
Remarks:
Record shot
Taxonomy
Kingdom:
Animalia
Phylum:
Chordata
Class:
Aves
Order:
Piciformes
Family:
Picidae
Genus:
Dendrocopos
Species:
hyperythrus
Subspecies:
 
Spot Details
Spot Date:
05-Apr-15
Spotted at:
Vinayak, Pangot
District:
Nainital
State:
Uttarakhand
Country:
India
Camera:
Nikon D5100
Lens:
150- 600mm Tamron

 

 

 

Photographed at Vinayak, Pangot, Uttarakhand, India on 5.4.2015.

Camera used: Nikon D5100 DSLR with Tamron 150-600mm lens.
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Rufous-bellied woodpecker (Male): Dendrocopos hyperythrus

 
(This is a record shot. The gentleman went into hiding soon after and  I could not get a clear shot despite much waiting. I am posting for comparison with female in next post.My apologies for lack of clarity.)
 
  Rufous-bellied woodpecker: Dendrocopos hyperythrus
IUCN Status:
Least Concern
Gender:
Male
Age:
Adult
Characteristics of Male:
White barred mantle and wings; whitish face; rufous underparts, reddish near vent; red crown and nape;
 
Characteristics of Female:
It differs in having a white-spotted black crown and nape
 
Confusables:
None
Habitat:
Subtropical and Temperate forests
Food:
Berries, Caterpillars, Fruit, Grubs, Insects, Larve, Worms
Nesting:
Holes in Tree Trunks
Remarks:
Record shot
Taxonomy
Kingdom:
Animalia
Phylum:
Chordata
Class:
Aves
Order:
Piciformes
Family:
Picidae
Genus:
Dendrocopos
Species:
hyperythrus
Subspecies:
 
Spot Details
Spot Date:
05-Apr-15
Spotted at:
Vinayak, Pangot
District:
Nainital
State:
Uttarakhand
Country:
India
Camera:
Nikon D5100
Lens:
150- 600mm Tamron
 
 
Photographed at Vinayak, Pangot, Uttarakhand, India on 5.4.2015.
Camera used: Nikon D5100 DSLR with Tamron 150-600mm lens.

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Brown-fronted woodpecker: Leiopicus auriceps (Formerly - Dendrocopos auriceps)

Brown-fronted woodpecker:
Leiopicus auriceps (Formerly - Dendrocopos auriceps)
Brown-fronted woodpecker: Leiopicus auriceps; Formerly - Dendrocopos auriceps.
IUCN Status:   Least Concern
Pangot, 4th April, 2015.
Woodpeckers occupy a corner of my heart. In my childhood, golden flamebacks used to tattoo the trees outside the big viewing window in the verandah on the back portion of the house we lived in. Oh yes, those days I used to think Hoopoes were also woodpeckers! Both woodpeckers and Hoopoes were common daily visitors/residents. If I may add, with sparrows, spotted owlets, parakeets, peacocks, bulbuls and many more. How my city has changed since then! Today I drive distances to spot these very birds.
This gentleman was probably overcome by hunger to venture out in the thunderstorm that hailed, railed and rained down upon us through the previous night and morning of the photograph; and I was restless – overcome by ennui, chafing at being trapped-in by the constant rain. I decided to get my camera wet after all when I spotted this gent a little distance from my porch through the falling rain. To avoid rain in the photo – though that might have added a dimension – I stepped out from beneath the eaves and towards him. Woodpeckers, at least as far as my situation is concerned, are not seen often anymore in Delhi except in few remaining pockets of old trees arbours in the city. We both were hungry enough to be soaked.

Woodpeckers have stiff tail feathers which they use as 'stops' or additional props to keep them anchored steadily to the trunk as they climb or drill away into the tree. Clearly seen in this photo.
Details of the birds are as follows.
Gender:   Male
Age: Adult
Size: This is a smallish woodpecker and this specimen was about 15-17 cms in size. Maybe all curled up due to cold and rain. They can be up to 20 cms.
Characteristics of Male: White barred mantle – the upper back, so to speak; brownish forehead and forecrown; grey-white head; black moustachials continuing down on each side as patch on sides of breast; small black bill; black streaking on underparts; pinkish-red undertail coverts; all-black central tail feathers; red nape and yellow hindcrown;
Characteristics of Female:      dull yellow hindcrown and nape
Confusables:   with Yellow-crowned woodpecker – Yellow-crowned woodpecker has only two colours on crown and nape, spotted back instead of barred, and a red belly patch instead of a pink-red vent.
Habitat:   Subtropical and Temperate forests
Food:        Berries, Caterpillars, Fruit, Grubs, Insects, Larve, Worms
Nesting:   In hollows of dead trees or beneath fallen branches.
Call: Is described as chitter-chitter-chirrh-rh-rh. I haven't recorded its call but you may listen to it at Xeno-Canto (External Link).
Distribution: Resident – Mainly in Himalayas of Indian subcontinent; also Afghanistan, Balochistan, Nepal, Bhutan. Mainly India though.
Taxonomy
Kingdom:         Animalia
Phylum:   Chordata
Class:       Aves
Order:      Piciformes
Family:    Picidae
Genus:     Leiopicus
Species:   auriceps
Subspecies:      None
Change in Taxonomy: Leiopicus since 2014 References -Birdlife/IUCN/HBW. Three species in Leiopicus. Previously placed in  a large Genus - Dendrocopos. Dendrocopos auriceps, syn.: Leiopicus auriceps.
References: In addition to BirdLife/IUCN/HBW, also referred to Grimmett, Inskipp and Inskipp.
Photographed in Forests beyond Pangot, Uttarakhand, India on 4.4.2015.
Camera used: Nikon D5100 DSLR with Tamron 150-600mm lens.

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Himalayan bulbul: Pycnonotus leucogenys

Himalayan bulbul
Pycnonotus leucogenys
Himalayan bulbul: Pycnonotus leucogenys
IUCN Status: LC – Least Concern.
Place: Pangot. Also spotted at Sattal, a day earlier.
Date: 4th April, 2015.
Perhaps it is their crest or forward ruff that appears to convey an aura of confidence; perhaps it is the comfort with which they treat humans; whatever it is, these songbirds aren’t going to fly away from their roost just because you happen to be passing by with a camera and semi-fancy lens. They’re not as anthropophobic – hope it’s the correct word in the context - as other birds. They don’t seem to have suffered for it. In fact, bulbuls per se have established a relationship with humans who, by their activity, are a source of easy food. They are frequently found near human habitation.
In the wild, they prefer wooded valleys and bush-brushy hillsides. The Himalayan bulbuls reside across the Himalayas from Afghanistan, through Tajikistan and to Bhutan in the east, all along the ridge raised by the Indian subcontinent crashing into the Eurasian landmass all those years ago. In fact, they nest in the bushes, not too far above the ground.
Usually found in pairs. These two were perched on the bushy-scrubby slope of the mountainside below the path we were walking on. A little bit of leaning over was necessary and I couldn’t avoid the twigs across the frame. Of course I had other shots....but they are of rain-soaked bulbuls or of those perched between bright skies and I.
The crest, white cheeks and the yellow vents along with brownish-grey upperparts are distinctive of the mountain bulbuls. If you live in the plains in the subcontinent, you may be familiar with their red-vented cousin who also lacks the punky hairstyle.
But they beat a Morse code like tattoo like their plain cousins. If the plainsspeak goes tik tek, the Himalayan bulbuls may go chik chek and more. Just the dialect I guess. They have a wide vocabulary and can have variable songs and sequences.
They enjoy a rich varied diet – insects, berries, seeds, flower buds, nectar from flowers and fruits. They pounce on insects in the air as well from their perches. Around human habitation, they forage boldly and maintain well-fed appearances.
Both genders look similar...sometimes we must thank god we are humans instead of cursing ourselves...juveniles look duller brown in the head.
They hybridize with red-vented cousins also.
In a nutshell – brown forward-pointing crest and brownish nape; white patch on cheek with a black crescent at the back end of it; brown upperparts; greyish chest and underparts; yellow vent; dark eyes – brown-black iris; a pale ring around eye; may have a superciliary streak; black bill and legs, and a few nice songs.
Taxonomy:-
 
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Pycnonotidae
Genus: Pycnonotus
Species: leucogenys
Photographed in Forests beyond Pangot, Uttarakhand, India on 4.4.2015.
Camera used: Nikon D5100 DSLR with Tamron 150-600mm lens.

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Blue whistling thrush: Myophonus caeruleus

Blue whistling thrush
Myophonus caeruleus
Blue whistling thrush: Myophonus caeruleus ssp. temminckii
IUCN Status: LC – Least Concern.
Place: Pangot. Also spotted at Sattal, a day earlier.
Date: 4th April, 2015.
Being a commoner often makes people ignore one’s beauty. This is the problem with the Blue whistling thrush. Featured here is the subspecies  temmnickii which is a resident of the Himalayas, NE India, Tibet and Myanmar; and extending in a western direction up to Baluchistan. Further east, south-east, west and north-west are inhabited by different subspecies.
 
Coming back, being a common bird often excites little curiosity from people or deep interest from birdwatchers. Yet this is a beautiful bird. This is an adult, deep blue-black in colour with the head, shoulders and upperparts spangled with glistening silver-blue. One would think it was wearing the EU flag! Wings, tail and forehead are brighter blue. It has a stout yellow bill and black legs...as if dressed for a formal party. When sunlight falls on this bird, it has a brilliant steely-blue glint like a pistol.
 
The iris is dark brown.
 
It makes an almost human whistling sound. Many a-times this bird has startled me with its whistling in an almost quiet forest. One got used to it by and by, but initially it did sound human.
 
It’s about 25-30 cms in length. It spends a lot of time on the ground and near water. It feeds on snails, molluscs, crabs, insects, worms and berries.
 
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Muscicapidae
Genus: Myophonus
Species:caeruleus
Subspecies: temminckii
 
Both genders look alike. The juveniles are more brownish.
 
 
Photographed in Forests beyond Pangot, Uttarakhand, India on 4.4.2015.
Camera used: Nikon D5100 DSLR with Tamron 150-600mm lens.
 
 
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Chestnut-bellied rock thrush (Female) : Monticola rufiventris

Chestnut-bellied rock thrush (Female)
Monticola rufiventris
 
Chestnut-bellied rock thrush : Monticola rufiventris
Gender: Female
IUCN Status: Least Concerned
 
Pangot, Utttarakhand, 4.4.2015.
 
(Detaild to be put up)
 
 
 
 
 
 
Photographed in forests beyond Pangot, Uttarakhand, India on 4.4.2015.
Camera used: Nikon D5100 DSLR with Tamron 150-600mm lens
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Chestnut-bellied rock thrush (Male) : Monticola rufiventris

Chestnut-bellied rock thrush (Male)
Monticola rufiventris
Chestnut-bellied rock thrush : Monticola rufiventris
Gender: Male
IUCN Status: Least Concerned
 
Pangot, Utttarakhand, 4.4.2015.
 
There may be times during birding when one is petrified to take another step. Having trudged up metres of winding mountain paths barren for birding, one may unexpectedly happen upon a tree or an arbour where there are mind-boggling number of birds of various species in that condensed area. You can hear them sing all at once, and one's advancing foot is left hanging in the air, unmoving, statuesque, lest the clap of the boot striking stone may send the symphony rippling away into a mountain of solitude. For me, this was one such moment. A variety of arboreal birds were deep into a performance in that small arbour. Unfortunately, the rain and hail having just let up a short while ago, it was difficult for me to spot them all in the interplay of slanting sunlight and shifting leafy shadows. A couple of hours at most was at hand before the mountains wore the night and went off to sleep. It's not like in the plains - light comes on and goes early in the mountains.
 
This male of the species was sitting on an outward branch swaying in the breeze - lilting in and out of light and shadows with the rocking of the bough. I had to shoot into the sun from darkness. I couldn't get a better shot than this. And not due to lack of trying. Ask any birder - sometimes photographs just do not happen the way one wants them to. We call such a 'Record Shot' meaning exactly what it says - a shot for the record stating that the species has been spotted in a particular ecosystem unit.
 
My attention was swaying too anyway, trying to spot as many birds as I could. At least I spotted this gent's missus in the bargain. I'll put up her photo in a subsequent post.
 
Photographed in forests beyond Pangot, Uttarakhand, India on 4.4.2015.
Camera used: Nikon D5100 DSLR with Tamron 150-600mm lens
 
 
Photographed in forests beyond Pangot, Uttarakhand, India on 4.4.2015.
Camera used: Nikon D5100 DSLR with Tamron 150-600mm lens
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Ultramarine flycatcher (Female): Ficedula superciliaris

Ultramarine flycatcher (Female)
Ficedula superciliaris
 
Ultramarine flycatcher: Ficedula superciliaris
Gender: Female
IUCN status: Least Concern
Pangot, 5.4.2015
 
(Details follow)
 
Photographed in forests beyond Pangot, Uttarakhand, India on 4.4.2015.
Camera used: Nikon D5100 DSLR with Tamron 150-600mm lens
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Ultramarine flycatcher (Male): Ficedula superciliaris



Ultramarine flycatcher (Male)
 Ficedula superciliaris
 
 
Ultramarine flycatcher: Ficedula superciliaris
Gender: Male
IUCN status: Least Concern
Pangot, 5.4.2015
 
(Details follow)
 
Photographed in forests beyond Pangot, Uttarakhand, India on 4.4.2015.
Camera used: Nikon D5100 DSLR with Tamron 150-600mm lens

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Eurasian jay: Garrulus glandarius

Eurasian jay
 Garrulus glandarius
 
 
Eurasian jay: Garrulus glandarius
 
IUCN Status: Least Concern
 
 
Forests beyond Pangot on 4.4.2015
 
(Details to follow)
 
 
Photographed at forests beyond Pangot, Uttarakhand, India on 4.4.2015.
Camera used: Nikon D5100 DSLR with Tamron 150-600mm lens
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Black-headed jay : Garrulus lanceolatus

Black-headed jay
Garrulus lanceolatus
Black-headed jay
Garrulus lanceolatus

 
Black-headed jay : Garrulus lanceolatus
 
 
Pangot, 4.4.2015
 
 Plate 2 shows crown feathers rising in a crest during display - a rock pigeon had dared entered to share the area where this gent was feeding. That too on a rainy afternoon when all birds, almost starving due to two days of rain had ventured out regardless of hail and drops.

Also note the white beard.
 
(Details to follow)
 
 
Photographed at Khafal, Pangot, Uttarakhand, India on 4.4.2015.
Camera used: Nikon D5100 DSLR with Tamron 150-600mm lens
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Russet sparrow (Male): Passer rutilans

Russet sparrow (Male)
Passer rutilans
 
Russet sparrow: Passer rutilans
 
Gender: Male
 
IUCN: Least concern
 
My first sighting was a day earlier - another rain decimated day from birding point of view - on the banks of Gaula river near Chafi. Late evening, a male of the species was swaying on the tall grass/bajra reeds on the banks of the river. I was already in the river bed stalking a Crested kingfisher and accidentally spied the sparrow while looking back to secure a dry and balancing foothold in the riverbed. I shot pictures of him but from a great distance and with both of us swaying atop our respective perches. I'll keep that as a record shot.
 
(details to follow)
 
Photographed at Forests beyond Pangot, Uttarakhand, India on 4.4.2015.
Camera used: Nikon D5100 DSLR with Tamron 150-600mm lens.
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