Birds of Morni: Himalayan Griffon

Himalayan Griffons, Gajhan Escarpment, Bhoj Balag Morni Hills (Jan 2016)

Himalayan Griffons, especially juveniles, winter in Morni Hills and are frequently spotted soaring high on thermals especially where the breeze from the southern plains meet the sheer Gajhan escarpment.

Himalayan Griffons, Gajhan Cliff, Bhoj Balag Morni Hills (Jan 2016)
Himalayan Griffon, Rasoon, Bhoj Balag Morni Hills (Jan 2016)
Himalayan Griffon, Muwas, Morni Hills Feb 2017

Birds of Morni: Grey Wagtail

Grey wagtail (Motacilla cinerea) is a small wagtail with a yellow throat (black in breeding males) and vent, whitish underparts and grey upper parts. It has a narrow white supercilium. It can be spotted wagging its tail energetically as it forages for insects in meadows or shallow marshes.

Grey Wagtail, Bhoj Darara, Morni Hills (September)

Grey Wagtail, Bhoj Darara, Morni Hills (September)

Birds of Morni: Crested Bunting

Crested Bunting is about 6″ in size and is generally found in low-lying, grassy hills and areas with terraced cultivation.The head and body in males is a shiny blue-black with a prominent feathery crest at the back of the head. The wings and the tail are chestnut brown/ rufous. The females have streaked upper parts and breast. It feeds on grass seeds and grain. It nests from April to August.

Crested Bunting, at Diyothi, Bhoj Darara, Morni Hills (July)

Crested Bunting, at Diyothi, Bhoj Darara, Morni Hills (July)

Crested Bunting, Diyothi, Bhoj Darara, Morni Hills (July, 2014)- the feathery crest

Crested Bunting, Diyothi, Bhoj Darara, Morni Hills (July, 2014)- the feathery crest

Birds of Morni: Jungle Bush Quail

Jungle Bush Quail (Perdicula asiatica) is a quail of the Indian subcontinent, about 6″ in length that feeds largely on seeds of grasses (sometimes also on insects). It breeds after the rains. The male has a heavily barred, white belly and underparts (females have chestnut breast and belly). Head has red and white streaks.

Jungle Bush Quail, Chhamla, Morni Hills

Jungle Bush Quail, Chhamla, Morni Hills

Birds of Morni: Little Cormorant

Little Cormorant can be spotted foraging in small ponds, lakes and streams either alone or in small loose groups. It swims underwater in search of fish and perches itself with open wings on rocky-outcrops or branches of fallen trees projecting from the water  to dry itself after emerging from a dip. It is a little less than 2 feet in size and is blackish-brown with a white throat patch. The beak is whitish. The feet are webbed. It breeds during monsoon season in North India and may nest in colonies with Pond Herons and Little Egrets. It has been sighted by the Tramp in the Water-Harvesting Dams at Kambala and Bunga.

Little Cormorant, Water Harvesting Dam,Kambala, Morni Hills

Little Cormorant, Water Harvesting Dam,Kambala, Morni Hills

Little Cormorant (Photo courtesy Kuljit Bains)

Little Cormorant (Photo courtesy Kuljit Bains)

 

Birds of Morni: Wallcreeper

Wallcreeper (Tichodroma muraria) a blue-grey bird of the mountains, about 6” in size, with striking crimson wings and dark tail and flight feathers. It is found in the Himalayas at elevations of 1000-3000 metres and moves to lower elevations in winters. It feeds on insects and spiders and can be seen hopping up and down a cliff face in search of food. Is solitary and territorial in winters (non-breeding season).

Wallcreeper, Cliff face near Water Harvesting Dam at Katli, Bhoj Paonta, Morni Hills

Wallcreeper, Cliff face near Water Harvesting Dam at Katli, Bhoj Paonta, Morni Hills

Wallcreeper-Hunting for food, Cliff face near Water Harvesting Dam at Katli, Bhoj Paonta, Morni Hills

Wallcreeper-Hunting for food, Cliff face near Water Harvesting Dam at Katli, Bhoj Paonta, Morni Hills

Wallcreeper- Blue-Grey Plummage, Cliff face near Water Harvesting Dam at Katli, Bhoj Paonta, Morni Hills

Wallcreeper- Blue-Grey Plummage, Cliff face near Water Harvesting Dam at Katli, Bhoj Paonta, Morni Hills