Data migration to eBird – Part 2: How

Wednesday, August 5, 2015 11:31

[Read Part I: Why]

MW plus eBirdAs part of our ongoing effort to move the entire MigrantWatch database to eBird, we will be asking you to undertake a few simple steps. Doing this will ensure that all your existing data are safely transferred to the eBird database, and are copied to your eBird account.

Here is the sequence of events:

  1. Data submission will be disabled on the MigrantWatch website from 10 August onwards.
  2. All MigrantWatch data will be uploaded to eBird by 15 August 2015. The information will be initially stored under an account with name MigrantWatch (group account).
  3. Thereafter, your migrant observations will be ‘shared‘ with you from the MigrantWatch group account. Here is the procedure:

— Please ensure that you have an eBird account. If you don’t already, it’s easy to sign up.
— You will receive emails asking you to accept your observations (called ‘lists’ in eBird) into your eBird account.
— As soon as you accept these lists, they will be copied into your eBird account.
— You may have to accept multiple lists, but once you have done so, nothing more needs to be done.
— Any photographs that you have put up on MigrantWatch will also be automatically embedded into your observations.
— Once you’ve successfully migrated to eBird, we urge you to submit all your subsequent observations and pictures through your eBird account.

We encourage you to please visit Bird Count India for more about eBird, tips for its use, and related topics.

Please also see Part 1 of this post in which we have outlined how (and why) MigrantWatch data are being moved to eBird.

Do write to us at if you have any questions or need any assistance about migrating to eBird.

Data migration to eBird – Part 1: Why

Wednesday, August 5, 2015 11:31

MW plus eBirdSince 2007, MigrantWatch has brought together hundreds of birders across India to pool our observations of migratory birds. Over the years MigrantWatchers have collectively contributed more than 30,000 observations — a commendable effort indeed!

in the future, we’d like to make it more enjoyable and easy to share bird sightings. We’d also like to make the information contributed as valuable as possible for research and conservation. In order to achieve these goals we need to transition to the next level. This is where eBird comes into the picture.

eBird has a lot to offer for the birdwatcher, for example:

  • a global, birder-friendly platform – eBird is used by tens of thousands of birders across the world to maintain their birding lists. It currently holds millions of bird records and is very easy to use.
  • a comprehensive database for your observations – When you go out birding you watch all birds, and not just migrants. eBird enables you to upload complete lists of the birds you saw during a particular trip. This means you have the convenience of keeping a full record of all your birdwatching sessions at one place.
  • exciting features to enhance your birdwatching experience – eBird makes it easy to upload your birding lists, allows you to explore your records through exciting visualizations, helps you maintain your life lists and makes sharing your bird lists very simple. You can also embed photos, videos or sound files to accompany each sighting. What’s more, you can use a smartphone app to submit data to eBird.
  • higher quality data for research and conservation – Complete lists, as encouraged by eBird, provide information on not only which species are present, but also about which ones are absent. This kind of information is of greater value than presence-only information. The data on eBird is also ported up to the Avian Knowledge Network and the Global Biodiversity Information Facility, through which anyone can explore and download all the data.
  • increasing use in India – over the past 1.5 years, birdwatchers in India are increasingly using eBird to maintain their birding records and to run bird projects. eBird in India is administered by the Bird Count India partnership, of which MigrantWatch is a member, together with a large number of other Indian groups. Currently, over 1.7 million bird observations have been uploaded by Indian birders, thus making eBird the largest database on birds of India.

As you know, MigrantWatch has been partnering with eBird since 2013 and we have been encouraging you to upload your observations through eBird. A large number of MigrantWatchers have now completely moved to eBird to log their observations. Our next step is to migrate the entire MigrantWatch data to eBird during which all your MigrantWatch observations will be safely transferred to the eBird database and to your account in eBird.

As part of this exercise you would be required to do a few simple things to transfer your MigrantWatch records to eBird, which are described in Part 2 of this post: How.

MW round-up: May/June 2014

Tuesday, August 5, 2014 5:01

The latest news at MigrantWatch has been emailed to all participants via the May/June 2014 issue of our round-up. You can see an archive of these messages here.

If you are registered with us, but haven’t received this email, please check your spam folder; and add to your address book. Please send us a message if you have any questions.

Celebrating the monsoon

Monday, June 30, 2014 4:29

GreenHumour-monsoon-snippetMaster cartoonist, keen observer of nature, and wry observer of birdwatchers, Rohan Chakravarty has drawn a cartoon-poem on the meaning of the first monsoon rains.

The image here is only a snippet. Follow the link and scroll down to see why we at MigrantWatch particularly love this cartoon.

Thanks, Rohan!

PS. Rohan’s Green Humour blog is full of wonderful cartoons and trenchant observations — do take a look!

Pied Cuckoo, Pied Cuckoo, where are you?

Friday, May 23, 2014 6:23
Pied Cuckoo migration and the monsoon. By Rohan Chakravarty

Pied Cuckoo migration and monsoon winds. Illustration by Rohan Chakravarty

As regular MigrantWatchers know, we run a Pied Cuckoo Campaign every year, from May to August. The idea behind this campaign is to better understand the timing of migration of the species, as it wafts across the Arabian Sea from east Africa to land on our soon-to-be-green land. More specifically, this applies to the population of Pied Cuckoos that migrates to central and northern India; in southern India, the species can be seen year-round (as you can see from these nice eBird maps on the Bird Count India website).

Over the years (the campaign started in 2009), your sightings of Pied Cuckoo have enabled a better understanding of its migration in relation to the onset of the monsoon. You can see some summaries of the information collected on various MigrantWatch blog posts, including an analysis of the very first campaign, a comparison between 2009 and 2010, and animated map of Pied Cuckoo sightings, and a summary of four years of arrivals in relation to the monsoon.

Please do be on the looking for the species, and remember that you can contribute your observations to either MigrantWatch or eBird.


30,000th record on MigrantWatch!

Monday, May 5, 2014 9:12

We are happy to announce that the MigrantWatch database has now crossed 30,000 reports of Indian migrants. The 30,000th report was of 50 Rosy Starlings from near Basni in Chhattisgarh. It was uploaded by veteran MigrantWatcher Mr Arun MK Bharos, pictured here.

Mr Bharos was profiled on this blog earlier, and you can see all his MigrantWatch sightings here.

Here are links to the announcements of earlier landmarks: 25,000th sighting | 20,000th sighting | 15,000th sighting | 10,000th sighting

The growing database of migrant sightings owes its existence to participants like Mr Bharos and all other MigrantWatchers. Thank you for all your efforts!

Monthly eBirding Challenges

Monday, May 5, 2014 8:45

challenge-logoAs we announced earlier, MigrantWatch is working more and more closely with eBird to make the two databases compatible such that sightings reported to either website can easily be collated to understand patterns of bird migration in India.

We encourage you to submit you observations to eBird, especially if you are listing all species (resident and migrant) that you observe on a bird outing. Now, a new series of monthly birding challenges for India adds a bit of fun to our birding and listing activities. Bird Count India, a consortium of organizations and groups interested in bird listing and monitoring, is running these monthly challenges, which has a particular goal or target for participants each month.

Do take a look, and we encourage you to participate! The challenge for May is to upload at least four complete lists to eBird each week of the month. The details are here.

Results out for Great Backyard Bird Count 2014!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014 6:51

GBBC 2014 was a record event for India! Over 1,100 birders participated, contributing more than 3,000 lists, which contain observations of 823 species — this is the largest number of species contributed to the GBBC by any country in the world!

Visit this link to see the results for GBBC India, lists of participants, and other interesting details.

Many thanks to all who contributed! But the story doesn’t end with GBBC. Here is an exciting activity for all of us to take part in — the eBirding Challenge for India — which started on 1 April 2014, and will continue all through the year.

Revised names for MigrantWatch species

Tuesday, March 25, 2014 5:33

Species names in MigrantWatch have remained unchanged since the start of the project, and an update is long overdue. We have now changed the names of some of the species in the MigrantWatch database, following following recent revisions in taxonomy and nomenclature.

As part of our efforts to integrate more closely with eBird, we decided to follow the eBird naming system, which, in turn, is synchronized with the Clements Checklist of the Birds of the World.

A practical consequence of this is that it is now much easier for you to upload your MigrantWatch sightings to your eBird account if you wish to do so. Note that the scientific names of species in MigrantWatch now match Clements/eBird exactly, and the English names are the same as if you set your preferences in eBird to “English (India)” as recommended for Indian birders.

A concise summary of changes is given below for your convenience (the complete list of changes can be downloaded here: MW name changes 2014-03-23). We urge you to refer to this list before submitting observations.

Both English and scientific names changed

Old name

Updated name


Common Stonechat

Saxicola torquata

Common/ Stejneger’s Stonechat (Siberian Stonechat)

Saxicola maurus

The former Common Stonechat has been split, following which the  species in India is the Siberian Stonechat, S. maurus.

Eurasian Golden Oriole

Oriolus oriolus

Indian Golden Oriole

Oriolus kundoo

The former Eurasian Golden Oriole has been split, following which the species in India is the Indian Golden Oriole, O. kundoo.

Orphean Warbler

Sylvia hortensis

Eastern Orphean Warbler

Sylvia crassirostris

Orphean Warbler has been split, following which the species in India is the Eastern Orphean Warbler, S. crassirostris.

English name changed

Old name

Updated name


Eurasian Skylark

Skylark (Sky Lark)

Grasshopper Warbler

Common Grasshopper-Warbler

Red-throated Flycatcher

Red-breasted Flycatcher

The former Red-throated Flycatcher had two subspecies, which are now recognised as separate species: Red-breasted and Red-throated. The Red-breasted Flycatcher retains the scientific name Ficedula parva, while the red-throated form is now Taiga Flycatcher Ficedula albicilla

Red-breasted Flycatcher

Taiga Flycatcher

Spangled Drongo

Hair-crested Drongo

Hair-crested Drongo retained to prevent confusion with the Spangled Drongo found in Australia

Scientific name changed

Old name

Updated name


Alpine Swift

Tachymarptis melba

Apus melba

Asian Brown Flycatcher

Muscicapa dauurica

Muscicapa latirostris

Black-headed Gull

Larus ridibundus

Chroicocephalus ridibundus

Black-winged Cuckooshrike

Coracina melaschistos

Lalage melaschistos

Booted Warbler

Hippolais caligata

Iduna caligata

Bridled Tern

Sterna anaethetus

Onychoprion anaethetus

Bristled Grasswarbler

Chaetornis striatus

Chaetornis striata

Broad-billed Sandpiper

Limicola falcinellus

Calidris falcinellus

Brown-headed Gull

Larus brunnicephalus

Chroicocephalus brunnicephalus

Buff-breasted Sandpiper

Tryngites subruficollis

Calidris subruficollis

Caspian Tern

Sterna caspia

Hydroprogne caspia

Demoiselle Crane

Grus virgo

Anthropoides virgo

Dusky Thrush

Turdus naumanni

Turdus eunomus

The former Turdus naumanni has been split

Eurasian Crag-Martin

Hirundo rupestris

Ptyonoprogne rupestris


Luscinia pectardens

Calliope pectardens

Great Black-headed Gull

Larus ichthyaetus

Ichthyaetus ichthyaetus

Greater Spotted Eagle

Aquila clanga

Clanga clanga

Grey Bushchat

Saxicola ferrea

Saxicola ferreus

Heuglin’s Gull

Larus heuglini

Larus fuscus heuglini

Considered subspecies of the Lesser Black-backed Gull (Larus fuscus) which has a complex taxonomy

Himalayan Rubythroat

Luscinia pectoralis

Calliope pectoralis

Indian Blue Robin

Luscinia brunnea

Larvivora brunnea

Lesser Crested Tern

Sterna bengalensis

Thalasseus bengalensis

Little Tern

Sterna albifrons

Sternula albifrons

Pied Thrush

Zoothera wardii

Geokichla wardii

Rosy Starling

Sturnus roseus

Pastor roseus


Philomachus pugnax

Calidris pugnax

Siberian Blue Robin

Luscinia cyane

Larvivora cyane

Siberian Rubythroat

Luscinia calliope

Calliope calliope

Slender-billed Gull

Larus genei

Chroicocephalus genei

Sooty Tern

Sterna fuscata

Onychoprion fuscatus

Sykes’ Warbler

Hippolais rama

Iduna rama

Thick-billed Warbler

Acrocephalus aedon

Iduna aedon

Whiskered Tern

Chlidonias hybridus

Chlidonias hybrida


Demoiselle Crane ringed in Mongolia sighted in Rajasthan

Monday, March 24, 2014 4:35

Demoiselle Crane ringed - Subhash Gogi (copy)MigrantWatcher Subhash Gogi spotted and photographed a ringed Demoiselle Crane at Khichan village, Jodhpur district, Rajasthan on the afternoon of 6th March 2014. The ring on the bird was red-coloured and bore the number 667.

Further inquiries revealed that the crane was originally ringed in Mongolia on 24th July 2013.

We encourage MigrantWatchers to keep a lookout for ringed birds, as they provide vital information about the fascinating phenomenon of bird migration, which is still poorly understood.

Photo: Subhash Gogi