Category “MigrantWatch tips”

Revised names for MigrantWatch species

Tuesday, 25 March, 2014

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


Leaf warbler ID made easy! Part III: Tips on identification

Friday, 22 March, 2013

By Mousumi Ghosh (with inputs from Umesh Srinivasan)

Tips for Identification

If you’re keen to start leaf warbler watching, you just need an ear for it! You can start with the commonly encountered leaf warbler species in our backyard like Hume’s Warbler (in North India) and Greenish Warbler (in South India) and fortunately, both are extremely vocal. Anytime I want to hear a Hume’s Warbler in winter here in Dehradun, I just have to strain my ears a bit and sure enough I can hear one (yes, it’s that common during winter in North India). Both are territorial in winter and call incessantly guarding their precious trees from the canopy. So, let’s get acquainted with some of the commoner species which visit us in the plains in winter (Here is an illustration to help you with some of the terms commonly used while describing warblers):

phylloscopus schematic_lite

Humes warbler - Raman DSC05060 cropped 1Hume’s Warbler (Phylloscopus humei):  One of the commonest leaf warblers, it has an overall dull colour with greenish upperparts and off-white underparts. Other features include a long supercilium, weak/absent crown-stripe, prominently pale tertial edges, no white margins to the tail, one prominent pale wing bar (just a faint vestige of the second wing bar may be visible). The darker legs and lower mandibles are diagnostic. Hume’s is among the smaller of leaf warblers; it breeds near the tree-line and is partial to birch forests in the summer. In the winter it is one of the commonest species found all over the plains of North India. It’s solitary in winter and calls incessantly from the crowns of trees. Call: A repeated, disyllabic ringing tiss-yip, buzzy wheezing tzzzeeeeeu, often given interspersed with calls.

Greenish_Warbler_I_IMG_0570_JM Garg cropped 1Greenish Warbler (Phylloscopus trochiloides): A common winter migrant in peninsular India, it is one of the larger leaf warblers. It has greyish-green upper parts and off-white underparts. Absence of coronal stripe, yellowish-white supercilium and a single wing bar are other features which help distinguish this species.

During the breeding season, Greenish Warbler occurs close to the tree-line in mixed-conifer forests and rhododendrons. In winter, it is territorial and partial to the canopy, from the top of which it calls incessantly to defend its precious territory. Call:  a disyllabic tisswit or chiswee.

Lemon-rumped Warbler (Phylloscopus chloronotus): This tiny little leaf warbler gets its name from its pale yellowish rump which is frequently exposed as it hovers at the edge of leaves to pick arthropod prey. It’s a rather active bird with olive lemon-rumped warbler_P1120734_Mohan Joshigreen upperparts, whitish underparts, dark bill and pale legs. The head is rather distinctive with a prominent pale yellow crown stripe, a broad yellowish supercilium and a very dark eye-stripe which broadens behind the eye and hooks under the ear coverts. Typically two yellowish wing bars are visible, the lower one being larger and more prominent. This species is an altitudinal migrant, spending the summer in the mixed coniferous, oak and rhododendron forests and retreating to the foothills in winter where it joins mixed-species flocks to forage mostly in the mid-canopy and undergrowth. More than two may be part of the same flock, daintily hovering around the vegetation and is an absolute treat to watch! Call: A high-pitched tsip or uist.

Apart from the above there are a number of other species of Phylloscopus warbler that can be observed in the Indian subcontinent. Most of these species migrate over long distances to winter in the Indian plains and peninsular India, some show an altitudinal migration, and a couple of them are resident throughout the year. Here is a very handy key for their visual identification compiled by Umesh Srinivasan.

Phylloscopus key 1

This concludes our three-part series on Phylloscopus warblers. We hope that these articles helped you in identifying the main species in this difficult group and also provided interesting information about the ecology of leaf warblers. We’d like to know if you liked this series and if you’d like us to run more such articles in the future on the MigrantWatch blog. Please do send in your comments and feedback at 

You can read Part I and Part II in this series of articles on leaf warblers.

Subscribe to the blog via email

Saturday, 3 November, 2012

We have added another way for you to be notified when any new material appears on the blog. Just enter your email address in the “straight to your inbox” form on the right panel here; and new blog posts will be delivered, well, straight to your inbox! You can unsubscribe at any time if you don’t like it.

Or, click on the little red icon just below the search box on the right to subscribe to the feed.

Leaf warbler ID made easy! Part II: Wintering & Breeding

Wednesday, 17 October, 2012

By Mousumi Ghosh
Read Part I in this series of articles on leaf warblers

Wintering Season

To most of us, Phylloscopus leaf warblers belong to just one size category: tiny! And confusing. Every winter, these diminutive and inconspicuous birds envelope the subcontinent in a wave, migrating thousands of kilometres south from their breeding grounds in the Himalayas and beyond. Migrating long distances takes a lot of energy, particularly for smaller species. Small differences in body weights among species make a huge difference in deciding how far they have to travel for wintering. Small-sized warblers are geared to feed on small insects, which are available in good quantities right from the Himalayan foothills all the way down south. The larger Phylloscopus warblers (like Large-billed, Greenish, and Western-crowned) do not have it so easy, as their preferred food – large insects – are available in adequate supply only further south. Hence, in the wintering season smaller species don’t travel very far, with their southern limit being either the sub-Himalayan foothills (e.g. Lemon-rumped Warbler) or mostly up to Central India (e.g. Hume’s Warbler), where wintering ranges of larger species begin. In contrast, larger species  (e.g. Greenish and Western Crowned Warblers) travel farther south and all way to southern India and Sri Lanka.

A great deal of knowledge about the wintering ecology of Greenish Warblers has emerged from Madhusudan Katti’s work in the Kalakkad-Mundanthurai forests of Tamil Nadu. He found that individual birds, quite remarkably,  come back to the same wintering territory year after year!  Also, in years of scanty rainfall and limited food the birds were unable to eat enough to moult in time for their long journey back to their breeding sites. This shows how conditions in their wintering habitats may influence whether birds are able to make it back to breed; and this has obvious implications for the size of the population.

Several parallels exist between the way these birds breed and winter. For example, the species which breed on “top of the mountains” (Hume’s  and Greenish Warblers) spend the winter on “top of the trees”. Interestingly, while these two species are territorial in winter (both males and females defend territories), others, like the Western-crowned and Lemon-rumped Warblers, join mixed-species flocks. Although most species spend their breeding and wintering seasons in drastically different forests, they use similar foraging techniques. For instance, the Lemon-rumped Warbler (which breeds in conifer-mixed forests and winters in sal forests), mostly captures prey by hovering in the outer foliage of trees in both seasons.

Breeding Season

The Himalayas, because they provide such a huge variety of habitats, harbour one of the richest communities of leaf warbler species in the world. Twenty-one out of  the world’s 61 species of Phylloscopus are found in the Himalayan region. They occupy the entire range of habitats from tropical evergreen/deciduous forests in the foothills to the alpine meadows above the treeline. In the Himalayas the elevation zone 2500–3000 m supports the highest diversity of breeding warblers, where up to 9 species may breed together.

How do so many similar species coexist in one place? One reason is that while superficially leaf warblers are very similar, different species possess differently sized body parts. This is associated with differences in foraging behaviour. For instance, larger species eat larger insects and species with wider beaks catch more flying insects. Another way to allow coexistence is by occupying different elevation zones. To avoid competing for similar food using similar methods, each altitudinal zone in the mountain typically has one large species, a medium species and a small species, which capitalize on prey in accordance to their body sizes.
The overall drab colours of leaf warblers conceal subtle differences which not only indicate the habitat that they breed in, but also help in communicating and selecting mates. To the trained eye, visually distinguishing most of the leaf warblers involves relying on presence, number and colour of brighter patches such as wing bars, supercilium, rump patch and crown stripes. Species occurring in dense habitats, such as the Lemon-rumped Warbler, typically possess many bright patches (two wing bars, a distinct supercilium, crown stripe and rump patch). Such warblers often flash these patches to communicate. Additionally, males with brighter and longer wing bars are of higher quality (such males occupy larger territories) and are preferred by females. On the other hand, the Tickell’s Warbler, which breeds in open Juniper scrub, has no bright patches at all.

To be continued…Coming up next in this series: Tips for Identification of Phylloscopus Warblers

Re-Booting the identification of Hippolais warblers

Friday, 9 March, 2012

By R. Jayapal

Dr R. Jayapal is an assistant professor at the School of Human Ecology, Ambedkar University, Delhi. Essentially a birdwatcher trained in wildlife ecology and conservation, he has been doing ecological research on birds for more than 15 years, and has worked in various landscapes across India ranging from the Central Indian Highlands of Madhya Pradesh to the trans-Himalayas of Ladakh.

Until the 1990s, life used to be simple and straightforward for a serious warbler-watcher in the Subcontinent. One would know this was a Chiffchaff and that was a Booted Warbler. Although both had two subspecies wintering in our region, one normally wouldn’t bother about that as all the literature would say it was nearly impossible to identify them unless in hand. I also suspect that just identifying them authoritatively as a Chiffchaff or a Booted Warbler in the field was esoteric enough to impress and awe others. But things changed with the increased use of DNA to lump or separate species, supported by analysis of vocalizations in the field. These developments have both advanced the science of taxonomy and jolted us good old birdwatchers and subverted our long-cherished complacency.

The Chiffchaff has been split into Common Chiffchaff and Mountain Chiffchaff (actually more, but that’s another story) and the erstwhile Booted Warbler has been found to consist of two species – Sykes’s Warbler (Hippolais rama) and Booted Warbler (Hippolais caligata). [They were initially treated so in 19th century, but then that was before the era of trinomial nomenclature].

Now to the mundane, but yet the most pertinent question –– is it possible to differentiate these two Hippolais warblers in the field? The answer is Yes and No… Yes, if you are careful to note down some subtle yet distinct field-characters and fortunate to observe the birds in fresh plumage closely. No, if you are a birder like me who does not have those discerning pair of eyes and who has this inexplicable habit of always encountering birds in worn plumage or moult, or worse, individuals showing intermediate characters (Apparently, they do hybridize).

To begin with, a birder is more likely to come across two types of Hippolais warblers: one that looks like a reed-warbler (Acrocephalus) but behaves typically like a leaf-warbler (Phylloscopus), and another the other way round. If this peculiarity strikes you in the field, well, half the battle is won. [Warning: Judging a bird as a look-alike or behave-alike can become subjective].

Sykes’s Warbler (H. rama), with a longer bill and a longer, graduated (i.e., narrowing in steps) tail, looks strikingly (!) like an Acrocephalus reed-warbler. It also has a relatively longish body (from bill to tail tip) that is accentuated by somewhat longer under tail-coverts. But, despite its reed-warbler-like appearance, its foraging behaviour is strangely reminiscent of a Phylloscopus leaf-warbler. You can see it actively gleaning and flycatching in the middle- and top canopy of tall shrubs and low trees, rarely descending down to ground-level vegetation. Both the Hippolais often twitch and flick open their tails, and while doing so, rama’s graduated tail feathers are hard to miss.

Other diagnostic characters of rama may be either difficult to observe in the field or may not always be conspicuously present in all the individuals. These include: a completely pale yellow lower bill lacking any dark-tip, absence of darker margin to the short white supercilium (just above the lores), and pinkish-brown legs (which are slightly darker compared to caligata’s pale yellow tarsus).

Booted Warbler (H. caligata) has a comparatively shorter bill and a squarish, shorter-looking tail with an abruptly-ending belly (owing to much shorter under tail-coverts). These features make the bird look rather like a Phylloscopus leaf-warbler. H. caligata distinctly lacks the proportionately long body plan of rama. When the tail is twitched open, the Phylloscopus-like squarer tail feathers are quite unmistakable (contra rama). The Booted Warbler invariably forages like an Acrocephalus reed-warbler among the undergrowth and herbage at the ground-level (though more tame than many Acrocephalus). It does, however, occasionally visit the middle canopy only to return to lower vegetation in a moment or so.

As described under rama, there are other diagnostic characters of caligata that may not always be useful in the field. These include a dark-tipped pale lower-bill, a dark supra-ocular margin just above the lores (present only in fresh plumage), and paler looking legs.

It is important to note that both rama and caligata have almost indistinguishable calls in their winter quarters – a hard and dry chuk. And it should be remembered here that NOT ALL individuals are identifiable with certainty in the field, as individuals with intermediate characters are ‘not uncommon’ (ah, what a wonderful phrase!). There have also been recent revisions in the taxonomy of Family Acrocephalidae resulting in placement of both these Hippolais taxa in the genus Iduna along with Thick-billed Warbler.

One should also keep in mind that the wintering ranges of both rama and caligata have not been completely worked out as all our current understanding is based on museum collections and subspecies identity was not possible in a majority of past sight records (For more information, see P.C. Rasmussen & J.C. Anderton, 2005. Birds of South Asia: The Ripley Guide. Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC & Lynx Edicions, Barcelona). For all practical purposes, both taxa are likely to occur in most parts of the Subcontinent (probably except the higher Himalayas and north-eastern hills) either as winter visitors or passage migrants.

If you do find these tips helpful (or hopeless) in the field, please do write to me as that would greatly reassure me (that I am not alone).

You can contact R Jayapal at[at]gmail[dot]com

A guide to the website

Friday, 16 July, 2010

MigrantWatch has an all-new look. Here is a tour of the site, with explanations, tips and tricks for key pages and activities.

1. Registering
2. Exploring data
3. Contributing data
4. Uploading photos
5. Supporting the community
6. Fun things to do

1. Registering

The signup link enables you to set up a personal account with MigrantWatch. You’ll need this account if you want to upload sightings and accompanyingmw-register1 photos; download data to import into Google Earth or Excel; or comment on sightings and photos of others. We ask for your full name, and not a login name, because a scientific project like MigrantWatch needs each uploaded piece of information to be associated with an identifiable person. Please check first whether you are already registered by looking at the participants page. Although you are not required to provide your mobile number, please consider doing so, as we plan to soon implement a system by which you can interact with MigrantWatch over your phone.

2. Exploring data

All data collected under MigrantWatch is free for you to search and explore, and even to download, analyse and publish the results of your explorations. When using the data, please note that although we have tried to ensure data accuracy, we cannot guarantee that the database is free from errors.

  • Searching tips. When performing data searches, you can choose from a variety of filters – by Species, Location, State, Year, Sighting type, Participant; or any combination of these. The URL in the address bar of your browser changes when you press “go”, so if you want to run the same search in the future, simply bookmark that URL and come back to it later. You can also add your frequent searches to your
    mw-mapiconsOn the displayed map, locations of sightings are grouped into circles, with the number on the circle specifying the number of unique locations that match your search. The position of these circles is very approximate. As you zoom in, individual locations will begin to be displayed, whose position is accurate. You can click on the icon associated with an individual location to see details of the records at that location. Anyone can search the MigrantWatch database – you don’t have to be registered and logged in.
  • Downloading tips. Results of searches can be downloaded in two formats – KML and CSV. Both are plain-text files. KML files can be imported into geographic software like Google Earth and displayed there. CSV files have data fields separated by commas, and can be imported into spreadsheet software like Excel or OpenOffice for further analysis. mw-downloadThis file contains all the basic information about the records that match your search and should allow you to carry out your own analyses. Some information (like users’ email addresses) is excluded from this file to protect participant privacy. Please note that you must be registered and logged in to be able to download raw data.
  • Data interpretation. Although a large number of records in MigrantWatch are tagged as either First or Last sightings, please note that whether a particular record represents the first arrival of the species in an area depends on a variety of things, including the date since when the observer has been looking for migrants at that location, and how frequently he or she does so. Also, records marked as “General” may well represent the first or last reports of a species from a location. Please keep this in mind while exploring the database.

3. Contributing data

If you are registered with MigrantWatch we hope you will contribute to the community of participating volunteers by uploading your sightings of migrant birds. While MigrantWatch focusses on collecting information on First and Last sightings of migrants in a season, observations in the middle of the season can be added as General sightings. We define a season, based on winter Palaearctic migrants, as lasting from 1 July of one year to 30 June of the next.

  • Reporting sightings. Once you log in to your account, you will see a new set of links on the top right of the webpage. Among these are links to report sightings and edit sightings. Clicking on report sightings takes you to a form through which you can add your migrant sightings. Most of the fields in this form are self-explanatory. mw-locnotfoundPlease decide whether your sighting(s) are the First of the season, the Last of the season, or General sightings in between. When specifying the location of your sighting, please use the search box to see whether that location already exists in the database. Only if it does not exist, use the “add a new location” link.
  • Adding a new location. We now have a map-based interface for users to add information about a new location. This is because one of the most crucial pieces of information about a site is its geographic position. There are two ways in which you can specify the position of your new location. One is to use the search box. mw-addlocationFor example, type in “Botanical Gardens, Kolkata” and then click on Search. If the software finds a match, it will zoom in to that location. Please take a minute to check whether that is the location you intended, and whether the location Name, City and State were correctly filled in automatically. You can always make corrections by clicking directly on the map and by editing the text boxes. The second way is to bypass the search box entirely and simply zoom and click on the map. This is particularly useful if the Search gives the error “unable to geocode that address”. You can, of course, use a combination of search and click — for example to search for Bhopal, and then look manually for the IIFM campus. Specifying the geographical coordinates of your location is crucial, and we request that this be done with some care!
  • Finishing up with reporting your sightings.Once you have chosen an existing location or added a new one, you can then continue with the rest of the form. The information on particular species is entered in a series of boxes at the bottom of the form. If you want to submit information on more than one species at that location and of that sighting type (First/Last/General), you can click on “Add another species” and a fresh row of text boxes will appear. Once you’ve finished, click on “Submit your sighting”, and you will be taken to a page that summarises the information you have just contributed, and gives you the option to upload photos to accompany your sightings.

4. Uploading photos

You can upload photos to accompany your sighting either at the time you submit your sighting information, or at any time after that, by going to edit sightings. Photos should be of the species you are reporting. At the moment, we can’t accept photos of general habitat, landscapes, and so on. Each photo will be tagged with the sighting details you have given for that bird. You can upload up to four photos to accompany each sighting. Uploading photos has multiple uses. They can be used to corroborate species identification; to examine plumage variation across time or space; and simply to share your photos with your friends and the larger MigrantWatch community. Photos need not be of high quality to suit these purposes!

5. Supporting the community

  • Comment on sightings/photos. A new feature on our website is that each site has a unique page, and so has each photo uploaded. We have also enabled comments, so that anyone logged in can comment on each others’ sightings and photos.
  • Check location correctness. Just like sightings, and photos, each location also has its own unique page, and by clicking on it you can see various details about that location including its geographical coordinates, if we have them. If you think there is an error in the geographical coordinates of a location, do drop us an email at We will soon have a facility for users to provide comments on individual locations, including suggesting corrections.
  • Help ensure data accuracy. In general, we would be grateful if you can help ensure data accuracy by verifying the information that you upload, and by adding a comment or otherwise informing us if you have reason to doubt the accuracy of any piece of information on MigrantWatch, including species identity, sighting dates and geographical coordinates of locations.

6. Fun things to do

Although MigrantWatch has a serious purpose, which is to document migration timing and monitor whether this is changing as the climate is changing, we hope that you will also enjoy various aspects of participating!

  • Share photos. Photos are a great way to tell others of your sightings — and comments allow a conversation to grow around them.
  • Share experiences. There are various ways to tell others more about your migrant sightings. One is as comments on your own photos. But if you would like to share a longer experience, perhaps with some background material on the species you saw or the location, you could potentially contribute a piece to the MigrantWatch blog. If you have ideas for such a piece, please do contact us.
  • Explore migration information. The website contains various resources on birds, migration, and citizen science. There is also a species guide for the 15 highlighted migrants covered by MigrantWatch. If you come across other resources or information that should be added here, we’d love to hear from you!

Happy migrantwatching!

New webpage features

Thursday, 1 July, 2010

On 5 July 2010 we launched a completely overhauled and redesigned website for MigrantWatch. Here is a listing of new features:


  • Photos. You can add up to 4 photos to accompany each of your sightings, no matter when you reported them. Each photo has a public URL, so that you can share it with your friends, who can then comment. A photo gallery allows you to view and comment on any photo uploaded to MigrantWatch.
  • New species guide. The species guide is now improved, with easier navigation.
  • New sidebars. In the sighting form and several other pages, you can quickly perform searches or see new material by clicking on the links in the sidebar on the right.
  • Sighting page. Each sighting has a unique page, which gives details of the sighting, including any photos. Any registered user can comment on the sighting. Click here for an example. A unique URL makes sharing information easier!
  • Location page. Each location has a page with unique URL which shows the location on a map and also has the annual (since 2007) list of birds reported from that location. Click here for an example.
  • Watchlists. Once you have logged in to your account, you can add or edit your watchlist, which is a convenient way to pre-specify data searches that you are interested in. For example, if you specify one of your watch items as Greenish Warbler, Kanha National Park, then clicking on this item runs a data search with species and location pre-filled.
  • Uploading data

  • Single sighting form. Earlier, there were three separate forms through which sightings could be submitted – one each for First, General, and Last sightings. These three have now been merged into one, and you can choose the sighting type on that form.
  • Add new location using a map. Adding a new location is now easier using our map-based interface. You can search for a location already geocoded by Google Maps, or else you can click on the map to specify any other place. If the geocoded Location or City names are incorrect, you can correct them manually.
  • My Locations removed. The earlier My Locations feature stands removed. You can report sightings from any location without adding it to a separate My Locations list.
  • Exploring data

  • Viewing data. An important part of MigrantWatch is making data openly available to anyone who wants to to explore further. The view data page is much improved, with options to filter the data according to your interests, and then view the results on a map or in tabular form. When zoomed out on the map, records from multiple locations cluster into a single icon, which resolves into individual locations as you zoom in. Data can now be downloaded in KML as well as CSV format. KML is a file format commonly used to display geographical data. You can use it to visualise sightings in, for example, Google Earth or Google Maps.
  • Sharing data. Data searches are represented by shareable URLs, so now if you want to share a particular map or data table with your friends, you can simply copy and paste the URL into an email. For example, Kedar Champhekar’s sightings are here:
    Or, if you wanted to share sightings from Sultanpur National Park from the migration season 2008-09:

We would appreciate it if you could report errors or bugs on the webpage to us at