Look who's here from Mongolia!

Updated: Jan 26, 2020, 09:42 IST | Ela Das | Mumbai

The city is seeing winged visitors. Here's a guide to help you tell what bird is sitting by your window

Pics courtesy/ Prashant Gokrankar
Pics courtesy/ Prashant Gokrankar

Every winter, the birds that visit our country fly down from Europe, Mongolia, Northern China, the Himalayas and some parts of the African continent. They migrate towards warmer temperatures because in Alpine and snowy regions, the climate is too harsh to sustain food and water sources. Interestingly, against popular belief, the entire population of each migratory bird species doesn’t migrate as a routine. If food is still found in their original habitat, and breeding grounds continue to thrive in the winters, they stay put.

Self-taught wildlife expert and photographer, Prashant Gokrankar, who conducts butterfly and bird trails at Maharashtra National Park, helps you identify the migratory birds you are likely to spot in your neighbourhood.

Ashy Drongo

From: Breeds in the Himalayas, flies down from Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal and Arunachal

This omnivorous, dark plumed bird in shades of grey is an aerial hunter, acrobatic in movement. It finds its food of insects, berries and nectar in dense vegetation.
Found in: Open gardens across the city, and inside the Bhavan’s College campus.

Red Breasted Flycatcher


From: Central Asia and Europe

Another acrobatic bird that catches insects in the air mid-flight, this bird can immediately be spotted because of its red throat during mating season.
Found in: Feasting on the common housefly and honey bees, it can be spotted all across the city, but your best bet is the Veer Mata Jijabai Bhosale Udyan and Zoo.

Indian Golden Oriole


From: Migrates locally from the Himalayas

Similar in size to the common myna, the males can be spotted with their bright yellow feathers and deep black eyes (think Cleopatra-style kajal lined peepers).
Found in: Hunting for berries and nectar, most local gardens will be easy bird-watching grounds for this oriole.

Greenish Wobbler


From: Central Asia, Europe and Mongolia

Similar but tinier than the Blyth’s Reed Wobbler, this bird measures at nine centimetres with light, green-tinged feathers.
Found in: An opportunistic hunting bird, it requires dense, deciduous forests to feed on insects and butterfly eggs. Keep an eye out on tall trees in Goregoan and Aarey Colony.

Blyth’s Reed Wobbler


From: Found throughout Europe and Mongolia, it tends to stay on longer if the winters prolong in their country of origin.

Named after British zoologist Edward Blyth, this small wobbler measures at 11 centimetres from its beak to the tip of its tail. With a dull-brown camouflage plumage, the bird is extremely shy and elusive, hiding in bushes and making a distinct electric sound.
Found in: All over the city; however, you’ll have to keep an ear out to follow its electric call to spot it.

Tree Pipit


From: Alpine regions of the Himalayas

Smaller than the common myna, it has olive-green wings (not to be confused with the olive-backed pipit), feasting on berries, nectar and insects.
Found in: You’ll have better luck spotting the bird at Sanjay Gandhi National Park and Maharashtra Nature Park.

Who migrated to India?

Passerine birds, also known as singing birds, who find their food in trees and shrubs (comprising insects, fruits and smaller critters), lose their source of food once the trees shed their leaves in the winter. And waders, such as flamingoes and sand pipers, who hunt for food (fish and small marine life) in shallow waters, which freeze over once the cold season sets in.

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