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Top 10 Most Amazing Birds of India

Updated on October 17, 2016
India-Nepal profile image

Simona Rich is a blogger writing about India Travel, New Age Deception and Christianity .

Introduction

A place close to my home in Kerala.
A place close to my home in Kerala. | Source

When I moved to Kerala, the southern part of India, I was pleasantly surprised to see many different kinds of birds inhabiting this Indian state.

I've seen many colorful and unusual types of them, all having peculiar sounds and habits.

But although South India has probably the largest variety of birds because of its pleasant climate and lush greenery, other places of India attract beautiful winged creatures too.

In this hub I've shared some of the most beautiful birds of India that I've personally seen or read about. I hope you will find this compilation informative and entertaining!

1. Himalayan Monal

Himalayan Monal (Lophophorus Impejanus)
Himalayan Monal (Lophophorus Impejanus) | Source

This bird belongs to the Phasianidae family of birds.

It inhabits only a tiny part of the world - the very North of India, especially Kashmir, as well as Nepal. It thrives in those places and therefore its conservation status is of least concern.

This bird is the national bird of Nepal. People call it Danphe there. It's also known as Impeyan monal and Impeyan pheasant.

It's the national bird of the Indian state of Uttarakhand too, and people call it there simply Monal.

Only the male has iridescent rainbow-colored feathers - the female has a usual brown color that is seen in many other birds.

You can see the incredible shine of this pheasant's feathers in the video on your right.

2. Blue-Throated Barbet

Blue-Throated Barbet (Psilopogon Asiaticus)
Blue-Throated Barbet (Psilopogon Asiaticus) | Source

This bird belongs to the Asian barbet family. It can be spotted in the very North of India (where India borders Nepal) as well as in Pakistan.

Blue-throated barbets are much more widely spread in Southeast Asia, though, being native to Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Laos, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Thailand and Vietnam.

You can see the distribution map of blue-throated barbets here.

Their main habitation areas are:

  1. evergreen mountain forests
  2. cities with fruit trees
  3. deciduous forests
  4. teak forests
  5. gardens
  6. orchards

They feed on figs and other fruits, as well as berries and insects. These birds tend to stay in the same place all the time - they don't migrate.

The conservation status of these birds is of least concern.

You can get a good view of the blue-throated barbet in the video on your right.

3. Great Barbet

Great Barbet (Psilopogon Virens)
Great Barbet (Psilopogon Virens) | Source

Great barbet belongs to the Ramphastidae family of birds which comprises Asian barbets.

These birds can be spotted in the hills of Pakistan, India, southern China, Laos, Bhutan and Bangladesh. You can see their habitation zone on this map.

They are the largest birds of their species, measuring at 31–33 cm (12–13 in) in length. Both male and female are similar appearance-wise.

Although they might be hard to spot, they are easy to hear - their call is distinctive and quite high-pitched.

You can hear the sound that these birds make in the video on your right.

Like the previous two birds, great barbet inhabits the topmost part of India.

It's much more widely distributed throughout the southeastern Asia than the Indian subcontinent.

Great barbets typically build nests in tree holes and tend to stay inside the forests.

Both male and female birds share parental duties. They mainly feed on fruits and insects.

Their conservation status is of least concern.

Great barbets may adapt to the surrounding area for them to be more camouflaged, by, for example, developing browner shades of feathers.

You can see these birds' nests as well as hear their call in the video on your right.

4. Kalij Pheasant

Kalij Pheasant (Lophura Leucomelanos)
Kalij Pheasant (Lophura Leucomelanos) | Source

Kalij pheasant is a game bird found in the Himalayan foothills - from Pakistan to West Thailand.

Its preferred habitat is the forests of Nepal.

The male bird is more impressive-looking than the female, yet both of them share the same red faces.

Though this particular bird is quite common and widespread, its three other sub-species (oatesi, lineata and crawfurdi) are rare, and one species (moffitti) is threatened with extinction.

Kalij pheasant has been introduced to Hawaii and became widespread in the country. It usually inhabits higher-altitude Hawaiian forests.There, however, it's known as invasive species because it consumes and disperses invasive plants' seeds.

You can have a good look at this bird on the video on your right.

5. Barred Buttonquail

Barred Buttonquail (Turnix Suscitator)
Barred Buttonquail (Turnix Suscitator) | Source

Barred buttonquail is a very common bird all over India as well as in Sri Lanka and the entire Southeast Asia.

Although these birds resemble quails, they actually belong to a separate family of buttonquails.

Sometimes, however, they join the flocks of real quails.

They are small round-bodied birds measuring 14 (5.5 in) to 18 cm (7 in) in length and weighting 35 to 50 grams, though the female, being larger, may weigh up to 70 grams.

These birds inhabit grasslands, agricultural fields and savannas. They feed on grass, seeds, worms, insects and invertebrates.

Female buttonquails are more strongly patterned and are the ones who build nests and do the courting! Their calls are also louder than those of male buttonquails. You can hear a strange sound that buttonquails make in the video on your right.

These birds are capable of flying, but only low, due to their short round wings. You can see their habitation range on this map.

6. Purple Sunbird

Purple Sunbird (Cinnyris Asiaticus)
Purple Sunbird (Cinnyris Asiaticus) | Source

This magnificent bird inhabits India and Sri Lanka. Sometimes they are confused with hummingbirds.

I confused them too when I saw the purple sunbird for the first time from my hotel balcony in Kerala thinking it to be the hummingbird!

So to recognize these two for what they are, I've created a simple infograph showing these two species side-by-side:

Different looks of a purple sunbird and hummingbird
Different looks of a purple sunbird and hummingbird | Source

Honeybirds are also thought by some to be related to these two, but are again a separate species.

You can read about the differences between these three species in this article.

Purple sunbird flies fast and direct, and, like hummingbirds, it can hover whilst collecting nectar from flowers. By the way, that's the reason its bill is curved - to easier collect the nectar which is its main food.

Apart from the nectar, it can also feed on spiders and all sorts of insects.

Purple sunbirds are very small (between 9 to 12 cm - 3.5 - 4.7 in) and have incredibly shiny feathers.You can especially see their feather shine by watching the video on your right. In the video you will also hear their distinctive call.

7. Black-Rumped Flameback

Black-Rumped Flameback (Dinopium Benghalense)
Black-Rumped Flameback (Dinopium Benghalense) | Source

Five Interesting Facts About Black-Rumped Flamebacks

  1. They are one of a few animals that can be born completely white, known in the animal kingdom as leucistic (you can see a leucistic peafowl here, for example).
  2. They have a long tongue by which they can capture insects.
  3. They may feed on nectar.
  4. They are treated by some humans as pests as they may cause damage to wooden structures.
  5. Sometimes they take over the nest holes of other birds.

This bird is also known as lesser goldenbacked woodpecker or lesser goldenback.

It belongs to the woodpecker family and is widely distributed throughout the Indian subcontinent.

Black-rumped flameback is one of a few woodpecker species that can be seen in urban areas.

They can be found in cities quite often due to their ability to adapt to such habitats - they make use of the wooden structures and may feed on fallen fruits and food scraps.

Black-rumped flamebacks can be spotted in Pakistan, the whole of India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, southern parts of Bhutan and Nepal.

You can take a closer look at this beautiful woodpecker by watching a video below:

8. Indian Roller

Indian Roller (Coracias Benghalensis)
Indian Roller (Coracias Benghalensis) | Source

Indian roller is a member of the roller family of birds. It's the national bird of the Indian state of Karnataka.

Its quite a distinctive-looking bird because of the beautiful shade of pale blue on wings and the upper part of its head.

When flying, the color show is even more extraordinary, as then you can see the deep blue color on the middle part of its wings.

This bird is widely distributed throughout the Indian subcontinent.

It also inhabits the Southeast Asia, even reaching westwards such places as Pakistan and the coastal areas of Dubai. You can see its distribution map here.

To catch a prey, the Indian roller sits motionless at a high vantage point, from which it scans the area for a potential catch. When spotted, it quickly drops down and snatches it, and then immediately returns to its original place to consume it.

Sometimes, however, the Indian roller feeds on the ground too. It is an omnivorous bird mainly feeding on frogs.

In general, it prefers to stay on open ground, cultivated fields, local parks and lower-elevation cities.

You can see the close-up of the Indian roller in the video on your right.

9. Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher

Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher (Ceyx Erithaca)
Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher (Ceyx Erithaca) | Source

Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher is also known as the black-headed kingfisher (though its head is not black!) or three-toed kingfisher.

It belongs to the family of Alcedinidae.

It can be spotted in India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam.

It's a small bird that's around 13 cm in length (5.1 in), and it mainly likes to inhabit lowland forests.

When hatching, both male and female incubate the eggs. Eggs hatch in 17 days.

Parents feed their young with geckos, skunks, crabs, snails, frogs, crickets, and dragonflies. After 20 days of hatching, baby birds develop enough wing feathers to be able to fly.

You can see a beautiful video of the oriental dwarf kingfisher on your right.

10. Indian Peafowl

Indian Peafowl (Pavo Cristatus)
Indian Peafowl (Pavo Cristatus) | Source

Indian peafowl is a national bird of India. The male birds of this family are called peacocks, whilst female - peahens. The offspring are sometimes called peachicks.

Indian peafowl belongs to the species of peafowl that is native to South Asia.

It's comforting to know that one of the most beautiful birds in the world (if not the most beautiful) has a stable population, and is not endangered.

These birds usually live on the ground in open forests or on cultivated lands. They feed on berries, grains, and may also prey on snakes, lizards and small rodents.

They make loud noises when there's a danger present, such as a wild animal.They also call their mates by a distinctive call.

They usually live in small groups. If there's some danger present, they try to escape by running rather than flying. For roosting, however, they choose high trees rather than the ground.

You can see the full splendor of the peacock in the video on your right.

Summary

The Indian subcontinent and the surrounding areas are home to some of the most beautiful birds in Asia.

The southern region of India is inhabited by probably the largest number of birds due to its pleasant climate, an abundance of greenery, as well as all types of insects serving as food to birds.

Although all birds are beautiful in their own way, in this hub I've mentioned the ones that I found truly extraordinary. I hope you enjoyed reading about them and watching their videos.

Please check my profile to find more hubs about all types of topics on India.

Please take this poll!

Which bird, out of this list, do you find most beautiful?

See results

Did You Know?

India is home to a staggering number of bird species - presently counted as 1180, with 6.8% being endangered and 7.1% - globally threatened.

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    • India-Nepal profile image
      Author

      Simona Rich 11 months ago from Nepal

      Thank you, RTalloni, yes, it's wonderful to witness such majestic birds in real life!

    • India-Nepal profile image
      Author

      Simona Rich 11 months ago from Nepal

      Yes, Glenn, I've also noticed that the colorful birds tend to be in tropical regions, whilst less colorful - in colder climates, so that's also interesting - maybe to adapt to their surroundings? But I'm not sure! Thank you for great things you said about my hub.

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 11 months ago from the short journey

      Thanks for this look at these beautiful birds. To see them in real time would be an amazing experience.

    • Glenn Stok profile image

      Glenn Stok 11 months ago from Long Island, NY

      You did a great job writing this article about the various birds of India, Simona. You've compiled a lot of interesting and educational information about them too.

      It's amazing how colorful many birds are. I wonder what the evolutionary reason is for the beautiful colors. I guess it's to attract their mate, but it also makes them stand out to predators, so it's questionable.

    • India-Nepal profile image
      Author

      Simona Rich 11 months ago from Nepal

      Nell, omg you know what? Mine too!! The first time I saw it in Kerala I had to find out its name!! And I also had no idea why I liked it that much!

      Thank you for your comment!

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 11 months ago from England

      What a great hub! and I love all the birds, but my favorite is the Purple Sunbird, I have no idea why! lol! wonderful!