Category “News”

Results out for Great Backyard Bird Count 2014!

Tuesday, 15 April, 2014

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, 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

Notes

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

Notes

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

Notes

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

Firethroat

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

Ruff

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, 24 March, 2014

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

 

Tagged Bar-headed Goose sighted again!

Monday, 9 December, 2013

Bar-headed goose - Prabhat Bhatti - croppedResighting of previously-tagged birds always generates a lot of excitement as it provides crucial information about migration patterns. The odds of sighting a tagged bird again are very low. So, it was a indeed a stroke of good luck when a tagged Bar-Headed Goose (bearing the tag ‘H55’) was seen and photographed by Parbhat Bhatti in Rupnagar in Punjab.

Read more about this interesting sighting in this news article by Vikram Jit Singh in The Hindustan Times. [Photo courtesy Parbhat Bhatti]

 

25,000th sighting on MigrantWatch!

Saturday, 9 November, 2013

MigrantWatch reached yet another landmark with the logging of the 25,000th record — a White Wagtail by Nil N. Mohite. Remarkably, this sighting was from Amravati (Maharashtra) again! It may be noted that Amravati also has the distinction of reporting the 10,000th, 15,000th, as well as the 20,000th observation on MigrantWatch!

Hearty congratulations to everyone from the MigrantWatch community who contributed to this effort!

MigrantWatch round-up: July 2013

Wednesday, 7 August, 2013

The latest news at MigrantWatch has been emailed to all participants via the July 2013 issue of the monthly round-up. If you are registered with us, but haven’t received this email, please check your spam folder; and add mw@migrantwatch.in to your address book. Please send us a message if you have any questions.

MigrantWatch round-up: June 2013

Tuesday, 9 July, 2013

The latest news at MigrantWatch has been emailed to all participants via the June 2013 issue of the monthly round-up. If you are registered with us, but haven’t received this email, please check your spam folder; and add mw@migrantwatch.in to your address book. Please send us a message if you have any questions.

MigrantWatch round-up: May 2013

Wednesday, 26 June, 2013

The May 2013 issue of the monthly round-up of the latest news at MigrantWatch has been sent to all participants. If you are registered with us, but haven’t received this email, please check your spam folder; and add mw@migrantwatch.in to your address book. Do send us a message if you have any questions.

MW round-up: March 2013

Wednesday, 10 April, 2013

The March 2013 issue of the monthly round-up of the latest news at MigrantWatch has been sent to all participants. If you are registered with us, but haven’t received this email, please check your spam folder; and add mw@migrantwatch.in to your address book. Do send us a message if you have any questions.

Does the Pied Cuckoo herald the monsoon?

Thursday, 4 April, 2013

Pied Cuckoo-4yrs

Does the arrival of the Pied Cuckoo herald the onset of the monsoon? The Pied Cuckoo Campaign was launched in 2009 to collect information to assess this age-old belief.

More than 600 sightings of this wonderful migrant have been contributed by over 200 MigrantWatchers so far; the first sighting dates among these were compared to monsoon arrival, as available with the Indian Meteorological Department (see the graph alongside). Each dot shows the earliest Pied Cuckoo report (after 1 May) for a broad location (an area roughly 200 Km across).

The results are fairly clear: Pied Cuckoos arrive before the monsoon in most parts of central and northern India (they are resident in southern India). You can see this from the pattern that most dots in the picture to the right are below the dotted horizontal line.

But the degree to which the arrival of the Pied Cuckoo precedes the monsoon varies from place to place, as can be seen from the scatter of the dots within each year. And even for the same general location, this varies from year to year (see how the coloured dots are in different places in different years).

What appears to be happening is that, where the monsoon arrives early, Pied Cuckoos arrive a few days before monsoon onset; but where the monsoon arrives late, the cuckoos arrive well in advance of monsoon onset.

So, overall, the old belief is true, and Pied Cuckoos tend to arrive before the monsoon — but to different degrees, depending on when the monsoon begins at each place.

Also see this article on Pied Cuckoo migration.