NORTHERN INDIA: Bharatpur, Tigers and the Taj Mahal
1 - 21 DECEMBER 2007
BIRD LIST
Taxonomic order and nomenclature follow Clements, 6th edition updated 2007. 
Birds that are marked with (GO) were seen by the guide only.
Birds that are marked with (H) were only heard.
GREBES: Podicipedidae
Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis
Seen on wetlands around Bharatpur, Sultanpur Jheel and Bandhavgarh.
Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus
Just a few seen on Bund Baretha and wetlands beyond there.
PELICANS Pelecanidae
Great White Pelican Pelecanus onocrotalus
A group of 13 birds were seen feeding actively on a large wetland area well beyond Bund Baretha.
CORMORANTS: Phalacrocoracidae
Indian Cormorant Phalacrocorax fuscicollis
Only recorded on a couple of days - including a few on the Yamuna River, out the back of the Taj Mahal.
Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo
Commonly encountered on water bodies throughout the tour.
Little Cormorant Phalacrocorax niger
A common and regularly encountered cormorant on the tour.
ANHINGAS: Anhingidae
Darter Anhinga melanogaster
Seen in small numbers on wetlands near Bharatpur, at Sultanpur Jheel, and near Bandhavgarh.
HERONS, EGRETS AND BITTERNS: Ardeidae
Gray Heron Ardea cinerea
Present in small numbers on most wetland sites visited.
Purple Heron Ardea purpurea
Singles were recorded around Delhi, at Bund Baretha and on a large wetland in Bandhavgarh.
Great Egret Ardea alba
Commonly recorded throughout the tour.
Intermediate Egret Egretta intermedia
A little less commonly seen than the previous species, although still regularly recorded in a number of different sites.
Little Egret Egretta garzetta
Present at almost all wetland areas visited on the tour.
Indian Pond-Heron Ardeola grayii
Commonly recorded throughout the tour.
Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis
A very common roadside bird throughout northern India.
TAXONOMIC NOTE: Some authors (e.g. Rasmussen & Anderton 2005) split this form as a separate species, Eastern Cattle Egret B. coromandus.
Black-crowned Night-Heron Nycticorax nycticorax
Just a single bird was seen at Bund Baretha.
STORKS: Ciconiidae
Painted Stork Mycteria leucocephala
One of the spectacles of the tour was the large colony of these impressive storks nesting at Sultanpur Jheel; with others seen in Bharatpur, and large numbers were seen on several of the large wetlands beyond Bund Baretha.
Asian Openbill Anastomus oscitans
Three sightings involved a couple on Bund Baretha, a few more on one of the large wetlands beyond there, and a single on a lake in Bandhavgarh.
Black Stork Ciconia nigra
A group of 14 birds was found on a massive wetland beyond Bund Baretha, and was the only sighting on the tour.
Woolly-necked Stork Ciconia episcopus
Two singles were seen on the journey from Delhi to Bharatpur; a group of 7 and another group of 5 were seen on different large wetlands beyond Bund Baretha; and another single was seen at Sultanpur Jheel.
Black-necked Stork Ephippiorhynchus asiaticus
India's finest stork. A pair were seen in Keoladeo Ghana, and another single was seen at Sultanpur Jheel.
Lesser Adjutant Leptoptilos javanicus
An ugly, but now very localized species, singles were seen in Bandhavgarh on several occasions; and also on the large lake outside of Bandhavgarh's core area.
IBIS AND SPOONBILLS: Threskiornithidae
Black-headed Ibis Threskiornis melanocephalus
Mainly recorded around Delhi, at Okhla and Sultanpur Jheel.
Red-naped Ibis Pseudibis papillosa
AN INDIAN SUBCONTINENT ENDEMIC. We did well for this increasingly scarce Ibis, picking them up first on our drive between Bharatpur and Agra; and later on the banks of the Chambal itself. We also saw a few around Bandhavgarh, and on the journey between Delhi and the Ganges river crossing.
NB. This is also sometimes referred to as INDIAN BLACK IBIS.
Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus
A single was seen feeding on one of the small islands at Bund Baretha, and a group of 14 birds was seen on a large wetland beyond there.
Eurasian Spoonbill Platalea leucorodia
Noted on a number of the wetlands.
DUCKS, GEESE AND SWANS: Anatidae
Lesser Whistling-Duck Dendrocygna javanica
Fairly commonly recorded at a number of different wetland sites visited.
Greylag Goose Anser anser
Huge flocks were especially noted at Bund Baretha, although others were seen near Bandhavgarh and around Delhi.
Bar-headed Goose Anser indicus
Arguably the most handsome goose in the world. We saw some huge flocks on some of the larger wetlands beyond Baretha, and also recorded them along the banks of the Chambal River (with over 200 birds there alone), with a few others also at Sultanpur Jheel.
Ruddy Shelduck Tadorna ferruginea
A very attractive and common duck in northern India. Large concentrations were seen on the Kosi River by Ramnagar. Others were also picked up at Bund Baretha (and a number of wetlands in that area), and along the Chambal.
Comb Duck Sarkidiornis melanotos
Never in huge numbers, a maximum of 9 birds were seen on a large wetland beyond Bund Baretha. Others were seen on Baretha itself, and also along the Chambal River, and at Sultanpur.
Cotton Pygmy-goose Nettapus coromandelianus
A contender for the world's smallest goose, this diminutive goose was only recorded on Bund Baretha, with around 20 seen there. 
Eurasian Wigeon Anas penelope
Large numbers were seen at a number of different wetland sites.
Gadwall Anas strepera
Fairly commonly recorded at a variety of wetlands.
Eurasian Teal Anas crecca
Large concentrations were recorded at Okhla, Sultanpur and Bund Baretha.
Mallard Anas platyrhynchos
Not a common bird at all in northern India, with just a pair seen at Bund Baretha and a single male by Ramnagar Dam.
Spot-billed Duck Anas poecilorhyncha
A very striking and attractive Indian duck. First seen at Okhla, and later recorded around Bund Baretha, and Sultanpur.
NB. Sometimes called INDIAN SPOT-BILLED DUCK.
Northern Pintail Anas acuta
Commonly recorded, at a number of different sites.
Garganey Anas querquedula
A single bird was picked out from the thousands of waterfowl at Bund Baretha.
Northern Shoveler Anas clypeata
One of the commonest duck species in northern India.
Red-crested Pochard Netta rufina
A couple of big groups were seen around Bund Baretha, and a couple of lone females were seen during our Chambal River Cruise.
Common Pochard Aythya ferina
Just a few were seen at Okhla, Sultanpur, and around Bund Baretha.
Ferruginous Pochard Aythya nyroca
3 were seen roosting on an island on Bund Baretha.
NB. Sometimes called FERRUGINOUS DUCK.
Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula
Only recorded on the very first day in Delhi, when a small raft were seen at Okhla Barrage.
Common Merganser Mergus merganser
Just a single female bird was seen resting on the banks of the Chambal River.
NB. Sometimes called GOOSANDER.
OSPREY: Pandionidae
Osprey Pandion haliaetus
Two singles were seen beyond Bund Baretha.
HAWKS, EAGLES AND KITES: Accipitridae
Oriental Honey-buzzard Pernis ptilorhynchus
This extremely variable raptor was seen a number of times around Bharatpur, and also Bandhavgarh.
Black-shouldered Kite Elanus caeruleus
Small numbers were recorded at a number of different sites.
Black Kite Milvus migrans
Delhi must be the best place in the world for this scavenging raptor, where literally thousands were seen swarming over a rubbish dump, and lining the pylons all around. An impressive sight. 
Pallas' Fish-Eagle Haliaeetus leucoryphus
A pair of these much sought-after birds of prey, were nesting by the Kosi River near our final hotel, the Quality Inn. Excellent views were had of a pair devouring a recently caught fish.
Lammergeier Gypaetus barbatus
This is undoubtedly the top vulture in Asia, and quite possibly the world. Always heavily requested and never common, we were relieved to pick one up before we had even reached Naini Tal. Stopping for a kettle of raptors 10km before the town we picked up one of these superb scavengers cruising low over our heads.
NB. Sometimes also called BEARDED VULTURE or BONEBREAKER.
Egyptian Vulture Neophron percnopterus
A commonly encountered raptor on the Gangetic Plain.
White-rumped Vulture Gyps bengalensis
This striking and distinctive now critically-endangered vulture was first seen at Bandhavgarh, and later also seen near the Mongoli Valley around Naini Tal.
Indian Vulture Gyps indicus
AN INDIAN SUBCONTINENT ENDEMIC. Unfortunately another of India's critically endangered vulture species, due to the formerly widespread use of the veterinary drug Diclofenac. We were happy to see some largish (around 8 birds!) groups nesting at Bayena (near Bharatpur), and also on the cliffs beside Bandhavgarh Fort.
Himalayan Griffon Gyps himalayensis
Several of this huge pale griffons were seen in the Naini Tal area, especially around Vinayak our highest site of the tour (around 2,300m).
Eurasian Griffon Gyps fulvus
First picked up near our resort in Bandhavgarh, and later seen in the foothills also.
Red-headed Vulture Sarcogyps calvus
Just three sightings of another of India's troubled vultures, with two singles seen in Bandhavgarh; and a pair were found lurking expectantly near a blood-drenched carcass in the Bund Baretha area (that had also attracted a few Golden Jackals, a lone Striped Hyena and an Egyptian Vulture).
Short-toed Eagle Circaetus gallicus
A single very tatty looking individual was seen circling over a large bird-packed wetland in the Bund Baretha area.
Crested Serpent-Eagle Spilornis cheela
Just three sightings, in the Bandhavgarh area, and also a single in Keoladeo Ghana.
Western Marsh-Harrier Circus aeruginosus
Only recorded on the first day in Delhi, where 4 were seen in Okhla.
Shikra Accipiter badius
One of India's commoner raptor species, singles were run into in Bharatpur, Bund Baretha and around Bandhavgarh also.
Besra Accipiter virgatus
A single soaring bird was seen close to Pangot in the Himalayan foothills.
Eurasian Sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus
One was seen in Bandhavgarh, with another at Sultanpur Jheel close to Delhi.
Eurasian Buzzard Buteo buteo
A single soaring bird was seen at Sultanpur Jheel.
Long-legged Buzzard Buteo rufinus
One was seen on the Chambal River Cruise.
Indian Spotted Eagle Aquila hastata
NEAR-ENDEMIC. This scarce near-endemic was recorded only once as we came close to Bharatpur during our journey from Delhi to there.
Greater Spotted Eagle Aquila clanga
A bird was seen flying over the temple at Keoladeo Ghana, and then another adult bird was seen very well perched up at Sultanpur Jheel.
Steppe Eagle Aquila nipalensis
One of the most regularly recorded raptors in the foothills of the Himalaya.
Imperial Eagle Aquila heliaca
A bird was seen perched on a large island on a huge wetland beyond Bund Baretha; and later a young bird was seen really well perched on a small island in the jheel at Sultanpur.
Bonelli's Eagle Aquila fasciata
A nesting pair were seen close to our boat along the Chambal River; and later a pair were seen diving dramatically at some unidentified prey in the Bajun Valley, near Naini Tal.
Booted Eagle Aquila pennata
One flew over the nursery in Keoladeoa Ghana park.
Changeable Hawk-Eagle Spizaetus cirrhatus
Several sightings of long-crested cirrhatus 'race' were had in Bandhavgarh. This included a pair that were seen mating on an open snag in the grey light of dawn on one particular game drive.
NB. TAXONOMIC NOTE: This race is sometimes split by some authors as CRESTED HAWK-EAGLE.
Mountain Hawk-Eagle Spizaetus nipalensis
A low-flying adult was first seen by a small mountain lodge at Pangot, with a couple of further sightings in the Kumeria area on the edge of Corbett.
FALCONS: Falconidae
Collared Falconet Microhierax caerulescens
This tiny raptor was seen from our table in the garden of the Quality Inn as we enjoyed a great  curry feed for lunch, soon after our arrival there.
Eurasian Kestrel Falco tinnunculus
5 sightings at a number of different sites.
Red-necked Falcon Falco chicquera
This often hard to find falcon put on a great show for us this year. First our local guide picked up a distant bird that unfortunately did not linger leaving us gagging for more. Luckily only 30 minutes or so later Sam found a pair perched on a close roadside pylon that remained there for some time allowing photos and great scope views in the process. Definitely one of the best raptors of the trip.
NB. TAXONOMIC NOTE: This Asian race, chicquera, is sometimes split from the African race by some authors, and then re-named as RED-HEADED FALCON.
Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus
Just two sightings - firstly close to Bund Baretha and then another single close to the Mongoli Valley near Naini Tal.
PHEASANTS AND PARTRIDGES: Phasianidae
Black Francolin Francolinus francolinus (GO)
A female bird unfortunately only showed to the guide, before it slinked back into some dense scrub at Pangot.
Gray Francolin Francolinus pondicerianus
NEAR-ENDEMIC. Seen almost daily around Bharatpur, and also recorded at Sultanpur Jheel.
Hill Partridge Arborophila torqueola
A brilliant male bird sat in full view on an open road in front of our bus for several minutes, near Vinayak.
Painted Spurfowl Galloperdix lunulata
AN INDIAN SUBCONTINENT ENDEMIC. One of Bandhavgarh's undoubted star birds, this one took a little time in coming, before appearing two mornings in a row. The first involved a rufous female bird that remained in the open in the half light of dawn and therefore required the aid of a spotlight to get an eyeful; and the group the following day involved 3 birds, at least one of which was a brilliant white speckled male. 
Koklass Pheasant Pucrasia macrolopha
Unfortunately this proved a little tricky this year, with a close calling bird running behind us out of a view from everyone but our local guide.
Red Junglefowl Gallus gallus (H)
The original chicken. These were reasonably common during our time in Bandhavgarh.
Kalij Pheasant Lophura leucomelanos
This flashy pheasant was seen four times on the tour - three times around Naini Tal (including a noisy group in the Bajun Valley); and an extremely confiding pair were seen feeding on rice thrown out for them outside a small Hindu temple on the edge of Corbett National Park.
Indian Peafowl Pavo cristatus
INDIA'S NATIONAL BIRD. AN INDIAN SUBCONTINENT ENDEMIC. This superb pheasant is abundant in the Bharatpur area, large numbers of which were seen feeding out in the open fields in the early morning (a short time after they had left their roosting sites in the local villages).
BUTTONQUAILS: Turnicidae
Barred Buttonquail Turnix suscitator
A couple were flushed near our resort on the edge of Bandhavgarh.
CRANES: Gruidae
Sarus Crane Grus antigone
These superb, stately cranes were first seen on the drive between Delhi and Bharatpur; and later seen again on a large wetland beyond Bund Baretha. A small group were also seen by the roadside near the Ganges River crossing.
RAILS, GALLINULES AND COOTS: Rallidae
Brown Crake Amaurornis akool
An unusually bold pair were seen feeding right out in the open by a busy road for over 5 minutes, en-route to Bharatpur; with another equally confident pair by Bund Baretha.
White-breasted Waterhen Amaurornis phoenicurus
Almost daily around Bharatpur.
Purple Swamphen Porphyrio porphyrio
Okhla Barrage had some very impressive concentrations of this large gallinule, with well over a hundred birds seen there. A few were also seen in the Bharatpur area.
Common Moorhen Gallinula chloropus
A few were seen at a number of wetlands throughout.
Eurasian Coot Fulica atra
A few were seen at a number of wetlands throughout.
JACANAS: Jacanidae
Pheasant-tailed Jacana Hydrophasianus chirurgus
Just the one bird seen, at Bund Baretha.
Bronze-winged Jacana Metopidius indicus
A few were seen around Bund Baretha; and a few more were seen at a large wetland outside the core area of Bandhavgarh.
PAINTED-SNIPES: Rostratulidae
Greater Painted-snipe Rostratula benghalensis
This superb and distinctive shorebird had arrived in good numbers at Bharatpur this year, with around ten birds seen feeding in a dirty ditch in the town there.
IBISBILL: Ibidorhynchidae
Ibisbill Ibidorhyncha struthersii
BIRD OF THE TRIP. An easy choice for the top trip bird. It was hard to look past this enigmatic shorebird among the highlights, as it is not only a scarce and therefore a much wanted bird by listers, but is also an undeniably attractive and striking wader. We saw a pair of awesome Ibisbills along the Kosi River en-route to our final hotel.
AVOCETS AND STILTS: Recurvirostridae
Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus
One of the commonest shorebirds recorded in northern India, seemingly being found on any small patch of roadside water.
Pied Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta
A couple were seen on our very first day in Delhi at Okhla; with another also seen on the shores of the Chambal River.
THICK-KNEES: Burhinidae
Great Thick-knee Burhinus recurvirostris
This huge shorebird should ordinarily be 'a given' at the Chambal River, although proved strangely elusive there, with just a single bird found hiding in amongst the boulders just as we were leaving. All the more sweeter for that!
PLOVERS AND LAPWINGS: Charadriidae
River Lapwing Vanellus duvaucelii
This 'Asian Spur-winged Plover' was first seen in Bharatpur, and also seen on the banks of the Yamuna River, out the back of the Taj Mahal; and finally a good number of them were feeding among the boulders of the Kosi River, on the edge of Corbett.
Yellow-wattled Lapwing Vanellus malabaricus
AN INDIAN SUBCONTINENT ENDEMIC, (except for a few stragglers outside the region). Having seen them there only a few weeks previously, we focused on this area of dry open fields between Bharatpur and Bund Baretha, and found this confiding pair still in the same area.
Red-wattled Lapwing Vanellus indicus
A very common bird in the lowlands of northern India, and therefore recorded regularly throughout the plains.
White-tailed Lapwing Vanellus leucurus
Thin on the ground this year, with just three single birds seen, at Okhla, Sultanpur Jheel, and Kosi wetland en-route to Bharatpur.
Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius
A few were seen on a large wetland beyond Bund Baretha.
Snowy Plover Charadrius alexandrinus
A few were seen on the banks of the Chambal River, and at least 20 birds were found on a large wetland beyond Bund Baretha.
SANDPIPERS: Scolopacidae
Pintail Snipe Gallinago stenura
A walk through some damp rice paddies close to Bandhavgarh produced a number of Common Snipe, along with two Pintails that provided good side-by-side comparison.
Common Snipe Gallinago gallinago
Small numbers were recorded around Bharatpur, and a good number were also found close to Bandhavgarh.
Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa
A single bird was seen by the roadside en-route to Bharatpur from Delhi; and large numbers were recorded on a large wetland site beyond Bund Baretha.
NB. TAXONOMIC NOTE: The birds recorded on the tour were of the limosa 'form', that is sometimes considered a separate species from the eastern melanuroides populations, and subsequently re-named WESTERN BLACK-TAILED GODWIT.
Eurasian Curlew Numenius arquata
Around 6 birds were seen beyond Bund Baretha.
Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos
Commonly recorded at a number of wetlands around Bharatpur.
Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus
Fairly common in the Bharatpur area, and also seen out the back of the Taj Mahal.
Spotted Redshank Tringa erythropus
Recorded at a few sites in the Bund Baretha area.
Common Greenshank Tringa nebularia
Recorded at a number of wetland sites in Rajasthan.
Marsh Sandpiper Tringa stagnatilis
Small numbers were recorded in the Bund Baretha area.
Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola
Recorded at a number of wetland sites in Rajasthan.
Common Redshank Tringa totanus
Recorded at a number of wetland sites in Rajasthan.
Little Stint Calidris minuta
Small numbers were seen on a large wetland beyond Bund Baretha.
Temminck's Stint Calidris temminckii
Small numbers were seen at a number of sites in Rajasthan, and also on the Kosi River in Uttaranchal.
Dunlin Calidris alpina
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Small numbers were seen on a large wetland beyond Bund Baretha. Small numbers were seen on a large wetland beyond Bund Baretha. Small numbers were seen on a large wetland beyond Bund Baretha. Small numbers were seen on a large wetland beyond Bund Baretha. Small numbers were seen on a large wetland beyond Bund Baretha. Small numbers were seen on a large wetland beyond Bund Baretha. Small numbers were seen on a large wetland beyond Bund Baretha. Small numbers were seen on a large wetland beyond Bund Baretha. Small numbers were seen on a large wetland beyond Bund Baretha. Small numbers were seen on a large wetland beyond Bund Baretha. Small numbers were seen on a large wetland beyond Bund Baretha. Small numbers were seen on a large wetland beyond Bund Baretha. Small numbers were seen on a large wetland beyond Bund Baretha. Small numbers were seen on a large wetland beyond Bund Baretha. Small numbers were seen on a large wetland beyond Bund Baretha. Small numbers were seen on a large wetland beyond Bund Baretha. Small numbers were seen on a large wetland beyond Bund Baretha. Small numbers were seen on a large wetland beyond Bund Baretha. Small numbers were seen on a large wetland beyond Bund Baretha. Small numbers were seen on a large wetland beyond Bund Baretha. Small numbers were seen on a large wetland beyond Bund Baretha. Small numbers were seen on a large wetland beyond Bund Baretha. Small numbers were seen on a large wetland beyond Bund Baretha. Small numbers were seen on a large wetland beyond Bund Baretha. Small numbers were seen on a large wetland beyond Bund Baretha. Small numbers were seen on a large wetland beyond Bund Baretha. Small numbers were seen on a large wetland beyond Bund Baretha. Small numbers were seen on a large wetland beyond Bund Baretha.
Ruff Philomachus pugnax
Small numbers were seen on a few wetlands in Rajasthan.
GULLS: Laridae
Great Black-headed Gull Larus ichthyaetus
A few were seen on both the Chambal and Ganges Rivers.
NB. This is sometimes also called PALLAS'S GULL.
Brown-headed Gull Larus brunnicephalus
Just a single bird was seen on our final crossing of the Ganges, that turned out to be our final addition to the trip.
Black-headed Gull Larus ridibundus
A large flock were flying around the Ganges River, that also contained a single Brown-headed Gull.
TERNS: Sternidae
Whiskered Tern Chlidonias hybrida
4 were seen on Bund Baretha, and a similar number were seen on a large wetland beyond there also.
Black-bellied Tern Sterna acuticauda
This fast-declining, and now localized species, was seen on our Chambal River Cruise. All birds seen were in black-bellied summer plumage.
River Tern Sterna aurantia
Recorded on two days in the Bund Baretha area.
SKIMMERS: Rynchopidae
Indian Skimmer Rynchops albicollis
36 of these threatened birds were found on our Chambal River Cruise, a key area for this now extremely localized, rare species. The boatman took us in well for some great close up looks.
SANDGROUSE: Pteroclidae
Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse Pterocles exustus
30 birds flew over our boat on the Chambal, and landed on the shore, where they allowed us to tee them up in the 'scope.
Painted Sandgrouse Pterocles indicus
AN INDIAN SUBCONTINENT ENDEMIC. As we worked the rocky sandstone boulders at Bund Baretha, in our search for White-capped Buntings, we disturbed a pair of these scarce grouse that flew low over our heads.
PIGEONS AND DOVES: Columbidae
Rock Pigeon Columba livia
Many of these 'pure bred' Rock Doves seen throughout the plains.
Oriental Turtle-Dove Streptopelia orientalis
A number of these handsome doves were seen around Bandhavgarh.
Eurasian Collared-Dove Streptopelia decaocto
Fairly commonly recorded at a number of sites.
Red Collared-Dove Streptopelia tranquebarica
A single was seen en-route to Bund Baretha; and another was seen at Sultanpur Jheel.
Spotted Dove Streptopelia chinensis
Commonly seen around Bandhavgarh.
Laughing Dove Streptopelia senegalensis
Commonly seen at a number of sites on the tour.
Yellow-footed Pigeon Treron phoenicopterus
This attractive green pigeon was first picked up at Okhla in Delhi, with more seen around Tughlaqabad Fort and Bandhavgarh.
PARROTS: Psittacidae
Alexandrine Parakeet Psittacula eupatria
This chunky huge red-billed parakeet was a regular bird around Bandhavgarh, including right within the grounds of our resort.
Rose-ringed Parakeet Psittacula krameri
India's commonest parakeet, the sights and sounds of them were a daily feature in the lowlands.
Slaty-headed Parakeet Psittacula himalayana
These dark-hooded montane parakeets were regularly seen during our day at Sat Tal in the Himalayan foothills.
NB. Sometimes alternatively called HIMALAYAN PARAKEET.
Plum-headed Parakeet Psittacula cyanocephala
India's most beautiful parakeet, their rich, cherry-colored heads were seen especially regularly around Bandhavgarh, including within our resort. Also seen a few times on our day trips out of Bharatpur.
CUCKOOS: Cuculidae
Common Hawk-Cuckoo Cuculus varius
This accipiter-like cuckoo was seen during our very first session of birding at Okhla, and was our only tour sighting.
Indian Cuckoo Cuculus micropterus(H)
An unseasonal bird was heard giving its distinctive 'one green bottle' song in Bandhavgarh, although remained frustratingly hidden from view the whole time.
Asian Koel Eudynamys scolopaceus
Just the one was seen at Okhla Barrage in Delhi.
Sirkeer Malkoha Phaenicophaeus leschenaultii
AN INDIAN SUBCONTINENT ENDEMIC. First seen perched on top of the fort walls at Tughlaqabad in Delhi on our first afternoon; others were also seen in Bandhavgarh, and at the base of the Indian Vulture cliffs at Bayena.
Greater Coucal Centropus sinensis
Commonly recorded at many sites.
OWLS: Strigidae
Indian Scops-Owl Otus bakkamoena
AN INDIAN SUBCONTINENT ENDEMIC. These endemic owls are usually staked out in Bharatpur where the local guides know a couple of regular roost spots. So it proved again this year, with a pair found right beside the Keoladeo temple.
Oriental Scops-Owl Otus sunia
One of the finds of the tour was a fantastic rufous phase bird in the park at Bharatpur, hiding in a clump of well-chosen, rusty-colored, dead leaves.
Dusky Eagle-Owl Bubo coromandus
Another Bharatpur star bird. A pair were nesting in the park this year, with the male perched out nicely in the open for us.
Brown Fish-Owl Ketupa zeylonensis
We were lucky with this formidable owl this year. We saw our first one roosting during our very first game drive within Bandhavgarh. Our second one was at Kumeria, close to the Quality Inn, that was roosting a very short distance from a close by Tawny Fish-Owl, superb.
Tawny Fish-Owl Ketupa flavipes
While we were enjoying a brilliant Brown Fish-Owl glaring threateningly down at us in broad daylight, our local guide found one of these rusty-colored beasts roosting just yards away. Only in India!
Mottled Wood-Owl Strix ocellata
AN INDIAN SUBCONTINENT ENDEMIC. The 'usual' birds were surprisingly absent by the park gates at Bandhavgarh during our time, so we tried another spot in the evening of our first night, and ended up spotlighting a cracking bird. One of Bandhavgarh's key birds.
Brown Wood-Owl Strix leptogrammica(GO)
Unfortunately a roosting pair near Pangot had taken an untimely leave of absence during our stay. Another bird flashed in front of the bus headlights near Vinayak, although despite calling regularly had moved downhill before the rest of the group could get onto it. Frustrating.
Collared Owlet Glaucidium brodiei
The call of this owl usually has a great impact on small passerines in the Himalayan foothills, and was often well-utilized to stir up a mobbing party. Eventually on one occasion this cute little owl also came in to check out the recording, when it also swiveled its head round revealing the cracking unique 'false eyes' on the back of its spotted head.
Asian Barred Owlet Glaucidium cuculoides
Sam picked up a bird hunting within some open pines in broad daylight, near the town of Bajun, that posed nicely for photos.
Jungle Owlet Glaucidium radiatum
AN INDIAN SUBCONTINENT ENDEMIC. A pair put in an appearance several times within our resort at Bandhavgarh. A very welcome distraction during the compulsory late morning breaks from the park game drives.
Spotted Owlet Athene brama
This gregarious, cute owl was seen at both Okhla and Tughlaqabad Fort on our first days birding in Delhi. Other small groups were seen around Bharatpur and close to Bandhavgarh. The largest gathering involved four birds by the Keoladeo temple, that Bharatpur's parks is named after.
Brown Hawk-Owl Ninox scutulata
This bird had strangely eluded us on a tour a short time before this one, as we had not visited the Chambal area (a key area for the species), and surprisingly none were known to be roosting at that time within the Bharatpur area. Therefore it was a relief to have first a roosting bird within the Keoladeo Ghana park, and another spotlighted bird later the same day at the Chambal Safari Lodge.
NIGHTJARS: Caprimulgidae
Gray Nightjar Caprimulgus indicus
Another of Bharatpur's daytime stake-outs, we saw one at a day roost within the park.
Large-tailed Nightjar Caprimulgus macrurus
A superb, cryptically patterned individual allowed very close approach within Keoladeo Ghana, at a known daytime roost site.
Indian Nightjar Caprimulgus asiaticus
As we had not picked any up as we made our way out of the park following a number of game drives, we targeted this species outside the parks core area, and were rewarded with great views of a male bird hawking insects in our spotlight.
SWIFTS: Apodidae
Little Swift Apus affinis
Recorded in Delhi and in the Himalayan foothills, although only in small numbers.
TREESWIFTS: Hemiprocnidae
Crested Treeswift Hemiprocne coronata
First seen in the buffer zone around Bandhavgarh, and later enjoyed over lunch at the Quality Inn, Kumeria.
KINGFISHERS: Alcedinidae
Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis
Great views were especially achieved within our resort grounds at Bandhavgarh, where the small pond was a magnet for kingfishers.
Stork-billed Kingfisher Pelargopsis capensis
This much-requested bird is generally scarce on this circuit, so is a key species around Bandhavgarh, where initially it proved very elusive. However, once we'd broken the duck we saw them twice well within the park, and were then treated to cracking views around the small pond within our resort.
White-throated Kingfisher Halcyon smyrnensis
The most commonly recorded kingfisher on the tour, recorded at many sites.
Crested Kingfisher Megaceryle lugubris
We saw three of these fantastic 'fishers at the dam at Ramnagar, and later saw a few more during our final afternoons birding along the Kosi River in Kumeria.
NB. This species is also sometimes known as HIMALAYAN PIED KINGFISHER.
Pied Kingfisher Ceryle rudis
Seen a number of times around Bharatpur, and later along the Chambal River, near Bandhavgarh, and also at Sultanpur Jheel.
BEE-EATERS: Meropidae
Blue-bearded Bee-eater Nyctyornis athertoni
A pair of these large Bee-eaters eventually gave themselves up during our very last game drive within Bandhavgarh.
Green Bee-eater Merops orientalis
This gorgeous emerald-green bee-eater was recorded at a number of lowland sites on the tour.
ROLLERS: Coraciidae
Indian Roller Coracias benghalensis
A harbinger of good fortune in Hindu culture, they were a regular feature on roadside wires in the Bharatpur area, and were later recorded a number of times in Bandhavgarh.
HOOPOES: Upupidae
Eurasian Hoopoe Upupa epops
Picked up fairly regularly throughout the tour.
HORNBILLS: Bucerotidae
Indian Gray Hornbill Ocyceros birostris
AN INDIAN SUBCONTINENT ENDEMIC. First seen in the grand hotel grounds of the Bagh at Bharatpur, where a small group were often roosting in the area. Also recorded a number of times around Bandhavgarh, where again a pair were seen in our very birdy resort grounds. Also seen once near Corbett at the tour end.
Malabar Pied-Hornbill Anthracoceros coronatus
An INDIAN SUBCONTINENT ENDEMIC. (Only found in India and Sri Lanka). One of Bandhavgarh's key species. Luckily they were not too difficult there, especially around dusk where small groups became very vocal prior to roosting, making them easier to locate We saw them twice on afternoon game drives, with a group of 6 during our first drive, and a party of 6 a few days later.
BARBETS: Capitonidae
Great Barbet Megalaima virens
This classic montane barbet was first seen right beside Vikram's Vintage Inn in Naini Tal. Others were then seen at Sat Tal and near the Mongoli Valley, also both in the Himalayan foothills.
Brown-headed Barbet Megalaima zeylanica
AN INDIAN SUBCONTINENT ENDEMIC. First seen on our first morning at Okhla in Delhi, and then recorded a number of times in the Bharatpur area (including within Keoladeo Ghana park). Also seen a few times in the Bandhavgarh area, including within the grounds of our bird-rich resort.
Lineated Barbet Megalaima lineata
The garden of a small mountain lodge en-route to Naini Tal held a few of these streak-headed barbets.
Blue-throated Barbet Megalaima asiatica
This attractive barbet was unsurprisingly popular, getting a worthy mention when running through the tour highlights at the end. Just two sightings this year, with a pair at Sat Tal, and another viewing near Mongoli in the Himalayan foothills.
Coppersmith Barbet Megalaima haemacephala
Recorded at Okhla in Delhi, around Bharatpur, and also in Bandhavgarh.
WOODPECKERS: Picidae
Eurasian Wryneck Jynx torquilla
Two singles were seen in the Delhi area, at Okhla and Sultanpur Jheel.
Speckled Piculet Picumnus innominatus
This tiny woodpecker, one of the smallest in Asia, was seen in a large bird wave in the Pangot area.
Brown-capped Woodpecker Dendrocopos moluccensis
This pale-eyed 'pecker was seen in the grounds of our Bandhavgarh resort, and later seen in a small mountain lodge garden on our way to Naini Tal.
NB. This nanus 'race' is sometimes split off as INDIAN PYGMY WOODPECKER.
Gray-capped Woodpecker Dendrocopos canicapillus
This pygmy woodpecker was seen twice in the Kumeria area around Corbett.
NB. Also known as GREY-CAPPED PYGMY-WOODPECKER.
Brown-fronted Woodpecker Dendrocopos auriceps
AN INDIAN SUBCONTINENT ENDEMIC. A little scarce on this tour, with just the one lone bird seen in a passing flock at Sat Tal.
NB. Also known as BROWN-FRONTED PIED WOODPECKER.
Fulvous-breasted Woodpecker Dendrocopos macei
A NEAR-ENDEMIC SPECIES. This scarce woodpecker was seen feeding in some open pines at Sat Tal.
Yellow-crowned Woodpecker Dendrocopos mahrattensis
A pair were seen en-route to Bund Baretha, and three further sightings followed in the Bandhavgarh area.
NB. Also known as YELLOW-FRONTED PIED WOODPECKER.
Rufous-bellied Woodpecker Dendrocopos hyperythrus
One of the top woodpeckers in the Himalayas, where the greatest woodpecker diversity on the tour occurs. We found this bird surprisingly easy on this tour, getting them three separate times there (these included two red-capped males, and one spotty crowned female). On all occasions the birds were extremely confiding, and remained in full view for over 5 minutes and were much appreciated for that!
Himalayan Woodpecker Dendrocopos himalayensis
AN INDIAN SUBCONTINENT ENDEMIC (primarily in the Himalayas). Two separate birds were found in Pangot, feeding in some open pines along the Bagar road.
NB. Also known as HIMALAYAN PIED WOODPECKER.
Lesser Yellownape Picus chlorolophus
For the second year in a row this species was found in company with a Greater Yellownape for superb side-by-side comparison, this time in the Mongoli area, near Naini Tal.
Greater Yellownape Picus flavinucha
We enjoyed three sightings of this flashy woodpecker in the Himalayan foothills.
Streak-throated Woodpecker Picus xanthopygaeus
Just the one was seen in Bandhavgarh.
Gray-faced Woodpecker Picus canus
This large woodpecker was seen 4 times in the foothills, including a number of times around Sat Tal.
Black-rumped Flameback Dinopium benghalense
AN INDIAN SUBCONTINENT ENDEMIC. This handsome flameback (is there a bad one?!), was seen two or three times around Bharatpur, a few further times in Bandhavgarh, and also as we descended from the Himalayan foothills.
White-naped Woodpecker Chrysocolaptes festivus
AN INDIAN SUBCONTINENT ENDEMIC. Another of Bandhavgarh's key species. We narrowly missed one in our resort there shortly after arrival, and finally picked up a noisy party of three birds that responded really well to tape, coming in and flashing their crisp white napes at us.
NB. Also known as WHITE-NAPED FLAMEBACK.
LARKS: Alaudidae
Indian Bushlark Mirafra erythroptera
AN INDIAN SUBCONTINENT ENDEMIC.  Two sightings on the tour, firstly beyond Bund Baretha, and later another single at Sultanpur Flats in Haryana.
Ashy-crowned Sparrow-Lark Eremopterix griseus
AN INDIAN SUBCONTINENT ENDEMIC. This striking lark was run into en-route to Bund Baretha, and also around Sultanpur Jheel where a great number of larks were seen in our short time there.
NB. Also known as ASHY-CROWNED FINCH-LARK.
Rufous-tailed Lark Ammomanes phoenicura
AN INDIAN SUBCONTINENT ENDEMIC. A pair of these very distinctive larks showed well at the base of the vulture cliffs at Bayena.
Greater Short-toed Lark Calandrella brachydactyla
A small group were seen on our journey to Bund Baretha, and later a huge flock of over 150 birds was seen near Sultanpur Jheel. 
Crested Lark Galerida cristata
Seen first in the dry agricultural lands en-route to Bund Baretha, and then seen again on the banks of the Chambal, and fairly commonly at Sultanpur Jheel.
SWALLOWS: Hirundinidae
Plain Martin Riparia paludicola
Fairly commonly recorded in the Bharatpur area, and later also seen at Sultanpur Jheel.
Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica
Commonly recorded throughout the tour.
Wire-tailed Swallow Hirundo smithii
This extremely attractive hirundine was seen most regularly around our resort at Bandhavgarh, where a pair spent the whole time hawking insects over the small pond outside our cabins. Also seen along the Chambal River.
Eurasian Crag-Martin Ptyonoprogne rupestris
A lone bird was seen at Vinayak, with a few more a little lower down in the Pangot area of the Himalayan foothills.
Dusky Crag-Martin Ptyonoprogne concolor
A pair were seen at the attractive sandstone fort of Tughlaqabad in Delhi, with a couple of others seen on our two day trips out of Bharatpur.
Asian Martin Delichon dasypus
A single flock of these montane martins were found in Pangot, on our final day in the foothills.
NB. Also known as ASIAN HOUSE-MARTIN.
Nepal Martin Delichon nipalense
2 birds were seen in a flock of Asian Martins at Pangot.
NB. Also known as NEPAL HOUSE-MARTIN.
Red-rumped Swallow Cecropis daurica
Commonly recorded in the Himalayan foothills.
Streak-throated Swallow Petrochelidon fluvicola
AN INDIAN SUBCONTINENT ENDEMIC.  A single was first seen at Bund Baretha, although a much better bird showed really well as it hawked low for insects over a small wetland close to our resort at Bandhavgarh.
NB. Also known as INDIAN CLIFF SWALLOW.
WAGTAILS AND PIPITS: Motacillidae
Oriental Pipit Anthus rufulus
Surprisingly, just a single sighting of two birds on our way to Bund Baretha, sharing the field with a bunch of Ashy-crowned Sparrow-larks, Greater Short-toed Larks and others.
NB. Also known as PADDYFIELD PIPIT.
Long-billed Pipit Anthus similis
This large, distinctive pipit was seen feeding at the base of the fort walls, at Tughlaqabad in the heart of Delhi, (during our first afternoons birding).
Tawny Pipit Anthus campestris
A pair were seen beyond Bund Baretha, with another seen near a large lake close to Bandhavgarh. However, the biggest numbers were on the dry flats at Sultanpur, where around 50 birds were seen.
Olive-backed Pipit Anthus hodgsoni
Seen on a number of occasions, including in the Bharatpur area, in our resort grounds at Bandhavgarh, and also in the Himalayan foothills.
Tree Pipit Anthus trivialis
Just the one confirmed sighting, on one of our day trips out of Bharatpur. 
White Wagtail Motacilla alba
A number of different 'races' were seen on this tour, where there was a bewildering number of variants ran into within the white wagtail group at a variety of wetland sites throughout. These included individuals that appeared to be from the personata group, sometimes referred to as MASKED WAGTAIL; in addition to a whole host of other variants including ones that looked like they were from the alboides, BLACK-BACKED WAGTAIL group.
White-browed Wagtail Motacilla madaraspatensis
AN INDIAN SUBCONTINENT ENDEMIC. A scattering of sightings were made during the start of the tour (including in Delhi itself), and later also seen along the Chambal and Kosi Rivers.
Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava
Beema type, SYKES'S WAGTAILS, were seen on two days only. A singleton was seen during our first birding session at Okhla in Delhi, and then literally hundreds were seen by a huge wetland beyond Bund Baretha, where many were attracted by the farmer who was busy tilling his field.
Citrine Wagtail Motacilla citreola
Mainly seen during the first part of the tour around Bharatpur, although around 10 were seen on our first morning at Okhla, and others were noted at Sultanpur.
Gray Wagtail Motacilla cinerea
A scattering of sightings throughout.
CUCKOO-SHRIKES: Campephagidae
Large Cuckoo-shrike Coracina macei
Only recorded around Bandhavgarh, where 4 separate singles were seen (including within the grounds of our resort).
Small Minivet Pericrocotus cinnamomeus
This delightful minivet was seen during our last mornings birding within Keoladeo Ghana, and then again in Bandhavgarh.
Long-tailed Minivet Pericrocotus ethologus
Small groups were picked up in Sultanpur Jheel, and at Sat Tal in the Himalayan foothills.
Scarlet Minivet Pericrocotus flammeus (H)
Strangely only heard within a passing flock on the edge of Corbett. I guess we were a little busy trawling through the 'wave' for other things!
Bar-winged Flycatcher-shrike Hemipus picatus 
A whole bunch of these distinctive pied birds were found within a passing bird wave near Kumeria.
BULBULS: Pycnonotidae
Black-crested Bulbul Pycnonotus melanicterus
This striking bulbul was fairly common within the grounds of a small mountain lodge, that we visited as we ascended the Himalayas towards our base for exploring there, Naini Tal.
Red-whiskered Bulbul Pycnonotus jocosus
First seen at Okhla on our very first day, and then not seen again until we visited a small mountain camp en-route to Naini Tal, (where they were positively common within their small garden).
White-eared Bulbul Pycnonotus leucotis
This striking bird was first seen in Delhi on our first day (at Tughlaqabad Fort), and then seen almost daily around Bharatpur, that included within the grand gardens of our large hotel, the Bagh.
White-cheeked Bulbul Pycnonotus leucogenys
AN INDIAN SUBCONTINENT ENDEMIC. This floppy crested bulbul was very common once we reached their Himalayan foothill home.
NB. Also known as HIMALAYAN BULBUL.
Red-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus cafer
One of northern India's commonest birds, that was encountered regularly throughout.
Mountain Bulbul Ixos mcclellandii
A couple of these scarce birds came in to mob an owl recording being judicially used to rouse up passing passerines, within a small valley in Sat Tal.
Ashy Bulbul Hemixos flavala
This fetching bird came in with the mountain bulbuls to mob an owl tape, at Sat Tal.
Black Bulbul Hypsipetes leucocephalus
This was very commonly seen in the Himalayan foothills.
LEAFBIRDS: Chloropseidae
Blue-winged Leafbird Chloropsis cochinchinensis
A few of this distinctive race, jerdoni, were seen in the grounds of our resort in Bandhavgarh (a key bird there).
NB. TAXONOMIC NOTE: This endemic race is often split by authors as JERDON'S LEAFBIRD.
Golden-fronted Leafbird Chloropsis aurifrons
As with the previous species, found visiting a number of flowering blooms in the grounds of our Bandhavgarh resort.
IORAS: Aegithinidae
Common Iora Aegithina tiphia
Seen a number of times in Bandhavgarh.
DIPPERS: Cinclidae
Brown Dipper Cinclus pallasii
A pair of these rusty dippers were seen diving in and out of the clear water rapids of the Kosi River, close to our inn on the edge of Corbett.
ACCENTORS: Prunellidae
Himalayan Accentor Prunella himalayana
A large wheeling flock of around 40 birds was seen at Vinayak, with a further flock found unexpectedly  lower down at Pangot the following day.
NB. Also known as ALTAI ACCENTOR.
Rufous-breasted Accentor Prunella strophiata
A pair of these gorgeous accentors were very appropriately first seen as we combed the 'accentor fields' at Sat Tal, and another was later picked up again near Bajun.
Black-throated Accentor Prunella atrogularis
The toughest and most sought-after of the accentors. We first saw one on a specific, targeted search at Sat Tal, and later saw a much brighter adult bird close to the small mountain lodge at Pangot.
THRUSHES: Turdidae
Blue Rock-Thrush Monticola solitarius
A pair were found at the base of the vulture cliffs at Bayena.
Blue Whistling-Thrush Myophonus caeruleus
A great common bird in the foothills, with around 50 counted jumping on and off the mountain road during one morning alone.
Orange-headed Thrush Zoothera citrina
A gorgeous, gorgeous zoothera, that makes all the other normally interesting zoothera species look a little lame in comparison! Firstly a couple of plain-headed, citrina 'race' birds were seen around a temple in Bharatpur; and then a 'Tiger-headed' cyanota bird showed well by our jeep in Bandhavgarh.
Plain-backed Thrush Zoothera mollissima
A pair of these scarce birds were flushed up near Vinayak, with one giving great views as it fed in the open by this quiet, high mountain road.
Scaly Thrush Zoothera dauma
A very shy, skulking bird was first seen only by the guides at Bandhavgarh as we hunted for tigers; another much more obliging bird was observed feeding furtively in some low scrub at Sat Tal.
Long-billed Thrush Zoothera monticola
For the guide anyway, one of the top trip birds (due to being a long held 'bogey bird'!) A fantastic bird was disturbed as we made our way down from Vinayak, which then conveniently alighted in some open roadside pines, where (with a little neck straining and the onset of 'warbler-neck', we eventually all managed great looks at this huge-billed, shy mountain zoothera). The bird even allowed us the luxury of alighting from our vehicle and lining up the scope straight on it, as a group of noisy local woodcutters walked right underneath it. I thought this bird was meant to be shy!
Tickell's Thrush Turdus unicolor
A couple of sightings were made from our jeep rides in Bandhavgarh.
Gray-winged Blackbird Turdus boulboul
In what was clearly a good year for thrushes in the Naini Tal area, we found a couple of striking black male birds in the Sat Tal valley.
CISTICOLAS AND ALLIES: Cisticolidae
Zitting Cisticola Cisticola juncidis
1 was seen at Okhla in Delhi on our first day, with a further two seen in the grasslands of Bandhavgarh.
Striated Prinia Prinia crinigera
Two separate birds were seen near Pangot.
Rufous-fronted Prinia Prinia buchanani
AN INDIAN SUBCONTINENT ENDEMIC. An area of dry arid country proved again excellent for this unobtrusive species where one bird gave great views at our known spot just after we got out of the bus, during our day beyond Bund Baretha.
Gray-breasted Prinia Prinia hodgsonii
Fairly commonly seen in Bandhavgarh.
Graceful Prinia Prinia gracilis
Only seen in the reedbeds of Oklhla, on our first days birding in Delhi.
Jungle Prinia Prinia sylvatica
AN INDIAN SUBCONTINENT ENDEMIC. Another endemic prinia that we picked up during our superb days birding beyond Bund Baretha.
Yellow-bellied Prinia Prinia flaviventris
Another reedbed prinia that put in an appearance at Okhla, in Delhi on our first day.
Ashy Prinia Prinia socialis
Fairly commonly recorded around Bharatpur, and in Delhi also.
Plain Prinia Prinia inornata
Along with Ashy Prinias, a regularly recorded prinia during  the first section of the tour, around Delhi and Bharatpur.
OLD WORLD WARBLERS: Sylviidae
Chestnut-headed Tesia Tesia castaneocoronata
This superb sprite, once again 'danced' for us, as it circled us excitedly on our final afternoons birding in the Himalayas, in the bottom of the Bajun Valley.
Aberrant Bush-Warbler Cettia flavolivacea(H)
Just heard during an impromptu roadside stop, for an Asian Barred Owlet, between Naini Tal and Mongoli.
Blyth's Reed-Warbler Acrocephalus dumetorum
This front heavy warbler was seen several times around our bird-rich resort in Bandhavgarh.
Clamorous Reed-Warbler Acrocephalus stentoreus
Heard in the Bund Baretha area, and then somewhat belatedly seen at Sultanpur Jheel.
NB. TAXONOMIC NOTE: Some authors split this brunnescens 'race' as INDIAN REED-WARBLER.
Common Tailorbird Orthotomus sutorius
A regularly recorded species at a number of sites.
Common Chiffchaff Phylloscopus collybita
Recorded at Okhla in Delhi first, and later that day at Tughlaqabad Fort. Although most commonly seen feeding around the lilies within the scenic pond in our Bandhavgarh resort.
Sulphur-bellied Warbler Phylloscopus griseolus
A few were seen, typically feeding on or close to the ground, from our much-used jeep in Bandhavgarh. <