the most common of the vultures in the jostling, flapping rabble round a
sits around in trees or on buildings, looking like a heavy unkempt bird at rest, but like
all vultures a wonderful flier. Although a disgusting feeder, often entering a
pull out the entrails, it misses no opportunity to bathe when water is available. Found
throughout the area.
VULTURE - Torgos calvus
Striking-looking bird thinly distributed throughout the area except Sri Lanka. Noticeably
less sociable both at carcasses and when breeding than the two common, larger vultures,
and often seen singly. Despite its powerful bill, it is not a dominant species at a mixed
feeding group, but stands round the edge, awaiting a clear moment to snatch a morsel.
VULTURE - Gyps indicus
areas, particularly the Himalayan foothills and Bangladesh, it is found in greater numbers
than the White-backed Vulture, but is absent from the extreme south. Nests on cliff
precipices or old forts, often in small colonies. This bird is just as aggressive when
feeding as the white-backed, and has even been found trapped in a carcass.
VULTURE - Neophron percnopterus,
bedraggled-looking vulture is common throughout the India. It a bird of repulsive habit,
although as a devourer of every kind of garbage it may render some beneficial effects in
the absence of sanitation. Like an unkempt fowl when on the ground, where it waddled
easily, it is much more impressive in flight. The stick nest is placed in a tree or on a
building and two beautifully marked eggs are laid.
KITE - Elanus caeruleus
and sociable little kite is widely distributed, frequenting low-lying grasslands,
cultivation or light jungle. It beats slowly over a field, gliding with wings held in a
shallow V, or hovers to inspect a small area more closely. When perched, it has a trick of
drooping the wings and cocking the tail up.
KITE - Milvus migrans
One of the
most noticeable birds in the sub-continent this abundant and successful scavenger can be
seen soaring or flapping around villages and towns at all times. Avoiding only dense
forests, it is everywhere parasitic on man, and boldly swoops down to snatch food from the
busiest street or market. The flight is easy and graceful, on angled and flexing wings,
the tail being constantly used as a rudder.
HARRIER - Circus macrourus
countryside, whether stony field or lush grasslands. Usually seen quartering
methodically at no great height, alternately flapping and floating on up-turned wings, now
gaining and then losing height. An unsuspecting frog or lizard is pounced on from a few
feet above before escape is possible, but agile prey is not pursued. It is a winter
visitor to India.
HARRIER - C. aeruginosus
addicted to wet pastures, swamps and reedbeds than the pallid harrier. In the dark brown
plumage it can be confused with a Pariah Kite, but its habit of quartering
low over the
reeds is distinctive. On occasion, however, it likes to soar high in the air, the
primaries splayed out like fingers. It has earned a reputation for robbing the sportsman,
as it quickly pounces on a wounded duck or snipe. This bird is also a winter
FISH-EAGLE - Haliaeetus leucoryphus.
eagle is commonly seen around lakes, rivers or jheels, often sitting on a sandbank or
post. A powerful bird, it can kill large fish or other prey, Although sometimes eating
carrion, or robbing other birds. It creates havoc at nesting colonies of herons or
cormorants. It has a loud barking call which can be heard at great distances, and is found
across Northern India, from the western frontier till Assam.