Western India - Gujarat Kutch Birding and Wildlife Tour - November 2007

Published by Arpit Deomurari (deomurari AT gmail.com)

Participants: Arpit Deomurari (Birding Expert), Mr. Ken Hatshorn (UK) and Mr. John Hollyer (UK)





Fly this morning on Jet Airways from Mumbai to Bhuj. Met on arrival and transferred 1 ½ hours to KERC at Tera Village.


Full day birding looking particularly for Great Indian Bustard.


Full day birding in consultation

DAY 5 Wed 21st Nov: CHARI DAND – BHUJ

Full day birding before driving back to spend the night in Bhuj – 1 hr 15 minutes.


Drive about 6 hours to the Little Rann of Kutch where the last of the Indian Wild Ass has been given protection in a dedicated sanctuary. The Rann is a fascinating terrain – essentially the shallow bed of the sea that drains out in the dry months and gets flooded during the monsoon by the sea surging inland on the one hand and the seasonal streams in monsoon flood bringing in fresh water on the other. This mix of salt and sweet water provides ideal conditions for the prolific growth of crustaceans and other aquatic food for the flamingoes and other birds that breed and winter here in enormous numbers. Apart from the Wild Ass the Little Rann is also the home for a wide variety of species that include wolf, chinkara gazelle, nilgai, blackbuck antelope, desert fox and Asiatic Wild Cat.

In addition to the game drives this evening and the next morning you can visit Kharapat Rabari and Bahrwadi villages, tribes who have their own distinctive style of embroidery; then there are the nomadic Bajanias and Mirs, and the Paddhars, a tribe of fisher folk. Your accommodation here is in pleasant and comfortable rooms based on the local mud hut architecture.

DAY 7/8 Fri/Sat 23rd/24th Nov: LITTLE RANN

Rann Riders/Dasada

DAY 9 Sun 25th Nov: LITTLE RANN – GIR

Drive 4 – 5 hours to Gir and check-in at Lon Safari Camp. Game viewing to begin from the PM drive.

DAY 10/11 Mon/Tue 26th/27th Nov: GIR

Two full days of game viewing and bird watching


At one of the good hotels in Bhavnagar. Pm: visit Velavadar


Full day Velavadar


Drive 4 hours to Ahmedabad. Overnight at House of Mangaldas.

DAY 15 Sat 1st Dec: AHMEDABAD

Tour ends

Some Notable Sightings:

Kutch (Great Rann of Kutch):

As we have started from Kutch (Great Rann of Kutch), We had very good sightings of 5 White-naped Tit, 2 pairs were on the same bush and another single individual was 5-8 mtrs away on the other bush. But they had given us very good view also opportunity to shoot such beautiful bird.

Another important sighting for Kutch was the Red-throated Pipit. We came across this very dark pipit on the coastal wetland near Pingleshwar in Kutch region of Gujarat India on 19-11-2007.

After seeing this bird only two species come to our notice Pechora Pipit Anthus gustavi and Red-throated Pipit Anthus cervinus. But Pechora Pipit have brightish pink base to the lower mandible typically rather yellowish in Red-throated pipit. And Red-throated pipit have rather plainer upper parts than shown by Pechora pipit. This is the first authentic record for the Gujarat state.

After visiting Naliya Done and other area on the last day we had visited Chari Dhandh, A famous hot spot in Kutch for Raptors and Grey Hypocolious, We sighted 12 Grey Hypocolious on the roosting time. And in the morning in the same area we had seen many raptor species including Steppe Eagle, Tawny Eagle, Imperial Eagle, Common Buzzard, Long legged buzzard, Marsh Harriers, Oriental Hobby etc. This seasonal wetland has also large population of White Storks, and other wetland birds.

Also the Rock Eagle Owl, A recent split form Eurasian Eagle Owl was seen nesting on the “PAKHI BHEET” area of chari dhandh. This small hill in the Rann provides very good habitat for many species which also include Red-tailed Wheatear, Brown Rock Chat etc. A pair of Jungle cat with its kitten was observed on both days at PAKHI BHEET area.

Other notable species in Kutch were, Dusky Warbler, Desert Whitethroat, Desert Warbler, Common Buzzard, Pin-tailed Snipe, huge flock of Greater Short-toed Lark etc.

LRK ( Little Rann of Kutch):

After spending 4 days in Kutch we drove 7 hours to reach the Little rann of kutch area. We stayed at Rann Riders resort at Dasada.

The Nawa Talav famous wetland of Little Rann of Kutch was full with ducks, geese, cranes, and many waders.

Thousands of cranes coming here for roosting and also for water is really a moment to enjoy.

The marshy habitat of Vanod Saran, nr. Dasada is also a very good hotspot for birders you can find good number of species over here including, White-tailed Lapwing, Greylag Geese, Bar-headed Geese, cranes, crakes and rails, etc. The show master of this wetland were the rosy pastor they were at least in 2000-5000 in strength comes here for roosting and their acrobatics are really great to see at sunset. The flocks of rosy pastor were also having small no. of Common or European Starling.

The biggest attraction of Little Rann of Kutch was sightings of 45 Sociable Plover. 22-11-2007, at Little Rann of Kutch near Vanod Village. A flock of 45 birds were seen roosting at a site where the author (Arpit Deomurari) has reported 27 same birds last(2006-2007) year also. This flock is considered as the largest flock of Sociable Lapwing found in India till date.

This Lapwing is also listed in the Red Data Book as a Critically Endangered Bird Species. They breed on open grassland in Russia and Kazakhstan. Three to five eggs are laid in a ground nest. These birds migrate south through Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Armenia, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Turkey, to key wintering sites in Israel, Syria, Eritrea, Sudan and north-west India. Birds winter occasionally in Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Oman. It feeds in a similar way, picking insects and other small prey mainly from grassland or arable.

In 2004 BirdLife International categorized this bird as critically endangered, due to a rapid population decline for poorly understood reasons. The main decline took place between 1960 and 1987, when the known population halved; it is presently some 20-25% of the 1930s population levels (BirdLife International 2006). The current population was estimated to be between 600 and 1,800 mature birds in 2006 (BirdLife International), but is currently being revised to the upward ent of that scale, possibly more, following the discovery of the species' previously unknown main wintering grounds in Syria, where 1500 birds of all ages were encountered.

Additionally, in October of 2007, a superflock of approximately 3,200 Sociable Lapwing was discovered in Turkey, according to Guven Eken, director of the Turkish Nature Association. The current IUCN classification is CR A3bc - meaning that the population is expected to decline in the next decade or so by 80%, but based on theoretical considerations and the known habitat destruction rather than direct observation of the birds. Thus, the new discoveries might mean that as more data becomes available, the species could be down listed to Endangered.

A Scientist working on the Sociable Lapwing Mr. Johannes Kamp has ringed 140birds (mostly juv.) in Pavlodar region, NE Kazakhstan, this year (two colour rings on each leg, combination always starting with a yellow ring). These birds are at the easternmost distribution border and thus supposed to go to India/Pakistan. Author (Arpit Deomurari) would like to ask any future observers to check these birds for color rings? The yellow ring is quite obvious to seeing the field.

Another highlilght of the Little Rann of Kutch were 8 Macqueen's Bustard (Chlamydotis macqueenii) in a 3 hours game drive and of course the largest lark of the world, Greater Hoopoe Lark (Alaemon alaudipes)

GIR National Park:

GIR National Park the last abode of Asiatic Lions produced some very good birds, some of them …Brown breasted Flycatcher (Muscicapa muttui), Jungle Prinia, Excellent view of Mottled Wood owl Pair, etc. We had very good sightings of 2 Lioness with 2 subadult cubs.

Velavadar Blackbuck National Park:

This park is famous as the largest concentration of Blackbuck in India and also Asia’s largest Roost of Harriers. We had all the harriers eg. Pallids, Montagu’s, Hen and Marsh Harriers etc. Apart from other birds we had really great sightings of Striped Hyena in the park for 3 visits. And we had good sightings of Indian Wolf also.

Species Lists

No. Scientific name Common name
1 Francolinus francolinus Black Francolin
2 Francolinus pondicerianus Grey Francolin
3 Coturnix coturnix Common Quail
4 Perdicula asiatica Jungle Bush Quail
5 Perdicula argoondah Rock Bush Quail
6 Dendrocygna javanica Lesser Whistling-duck
7 Anser anser Greylag Goose
8 Anser indicus Bar-headed Goose
9 Tadorna ferruginea Ruddy Shelduck
10 Sarkidiornis melanotos Comb Duck
11 Nettapus coromandelianus Cotton Pygmy-goose
12 Anas strepera Gadwall
13 Anas penelope Eurasian Wigeon
14 Anas platyrhynchos Mallard
15 Anas poecilorhyncha Spot-billed Duck
16 Anas clypeata Northern Shoveler
17 Anas acuta Northern Pintail
18 Anas querquedula Garganey
19 Anas crecca Common Teal
20 Aythya ferina Common Pochard
21 Aythya nyroca Ferruginous Pochard
22 Aythya fuligula Tufted Duck
23 Turnix sylvatica Small Buttonquail
24 Jynx torquilla Eurasian Wryneck
25 Dendrocopos nanus Brown-capped Pygmy Woodpecker
26 Dendrocopos mahrattensis Yellow-crowned Woodpecker
27 Dinopium benghalense Black-rumped Flameback
28 Megalaima haemacephala Coppersmith Barbet
29 Upupa epops Common Hoopoe
30 Coracias garrulus European Roller
31 Coracias benghalensis Indian Roller
32 Alcedo atthis Common Kingfisher
33 Halcyon smyrnensis White-throated Kingfisher
34 Ceryle rudis Pied Kingfisher
35 Merops orientalis Green Bee-eater
36 Clamator jacobinus Pied Cuckoo
37 Cuculus canorus Eurasian Cuckoo
38 Eudynamys scolopacea Asian Koel
39 Phaenicophaeus leschenaultii Sirkeer Malkoha
40 Centropus sinensis Greater Coucal
41 Psittacula krameri Rose-ringed Parakeet
42 Psittacula cyanocephala Plum-headed Parakeet
43 Cypsiurus balasiensis Asian Palm Swift
44 Apus affinis House Swift
45 Hemiprocne coronata Crested Treeswift
46 Otus bakkamoena Collared Scops Owl
47 Bubo bubo Eurasian Eagle Owl
48 Strix ocellata Mottled Wood Owl
49 Athene brama Spotted Owlet
50 Asio flammeus Short-eared Owl
51 Caprimulgus indicus Grey Nightjar
52 Caprimulgus mahrattensis Sykes's Nightjar
53 Caprimulgus macrurus Large-tailed Nightjar
54 Caprimulgus asiaticus Indian Nightjar
55 Columba livia Rock Pigeon
56 Streptopelia turtur European Turtle Dove
57 Streptopelia orientalis Oriental Turtle Dove
58 Streptopelia senegalensis laughing Dove
59 Streptopelia chinensis Spotted Dove
60 Streptopelia decaocto Eurasian Collared Dove
61 Treron phoenicoptera Yellow-footed Green Pigeon
62 Chlamydotis macqueenii Macqueen's Bustard
63 Grus antigone Sarus Crane
64 Grus virgo Demoiselle Crane
65 Grus grus Common Crane
66 Gallicrex cinerea Watercock
67 Porphyrio porphyrio Purple Swamphen
68 Gallinula chloropus Common Moorhen
69 Fulica atra Common Coot
70 Pterocles exustus Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse
71 Pterocles indicus Painted Sandgrouse
72 Gallinago stenura Pintail Snipe
73 Gallinago gallinago Common Snipe
74 Limosa limosa Black-tailed Godwit
75 Limosa lapponica Bar-tailed Godwit
76 Numenius phaeopus Whimbrel
77 Numenius arquata Eurasian Curlew
78 Tringa totanus Common Redshank
79 Tringa stagnatilis Marsh Sandpiper
80 Tringa nebularia Common Greenshank
81 Tringa ochropus Green Sandpiper
82 Tringa glareola Wood Sandpiper
83 Xenus cinereus Terek Sandpiper
84 Actitis hypoleucos Common Sandpiper
85 Arenaria interpres Ruddy Turnstone
86 Calidris minuta Little Stint
87 Calidris temminckii Temminck's Stint
88 Calidris ferruginea Curlew Sandpiper
89 Philomachus pugnax Ruff
90 Hydrophasianus chirurgus Pheasant-tailed Jacana
91 Burhinus oedicnemus Eurasian Thick-knee
92 Esacus recurvirostris Great Thick-knee
93 Himantopus himantopus Black-winged Stilt
94 Recurvirostra avosetta Pied Avocet
95 Pluvialis fulva Pacific Golden Plover
96 Charadrius dubius Little Ringed Plover
97 Charadrius alexandrinus Kentish Plover
98 Charadrius mongolus Lesser Sand Plover
99 Charadrius leschenaultii Greater Sand Plover
100 Vanellus malarbaricus Yellow-wattled Lapwing
101 Vanellus indicus Red-wattled Lapwing
102 Vanellus gregarius Sociable Lapwing
103 Vanellus leucurus White-tailed Lapwing
104 Cursorius coromandelicus Indian Courser
105 Larus heuglini Heuglin's Gull
106 Larus brunnicephalus Brown-headed Gull
107 Larus ridibundus Black-headed Gull
108 Larus genei Slender-billed Gull
109 Gelochelidon nilotica Gull-billed Tern
110 Sterna caspia Caspian Tern
111 Sterna aurantia River Tern
112 Sterna hirundo Common Tern
113 Sterna albifrons Little Tern
114 Chlidonias hybridus Whiskered Tern
115 Pandion haliaetus Osprey
116 Pernis ptilorhyncus Oriental Honey-buzzard
117 Elanus caeruleus Black-shouldered Kite
118 Milvus migrans Black Kite
119 Haliastur indus Brahminy Kite
120 Gyps bengalensis White-rumped Vulture
121 Gyps indicus Long-billed Vulture
122 Gyps fulvus Eurasian Griffon
123 Aegypius monachus Cinereous Vulture
124 Circaetus gallicus Short-toed Snake Eagle
125 Spilornis cheela Crested Serpent Eagle
126 Circus aeruginosus Eurasian Marsh Harrier
127 Circus macrourus Pallid Harrier
128 Circus pygargus Montagu's Harrier
129 Accipiter badius Shikra
130 Accipiter nisus Eurasian Sparrowhawk
131 Butastur teesa White-eyed Buzzard
132 Buteo buteo Common Buzzard
133 Buteo rufinus Long-legged Buzzard
134 Aquila clanga Greater Spotted Eagle
135 Aquila rapax Tawny Eagle
136 Aquila nipalensis Steppe Eagle
137 Aquila gurneyi Gurney's Eagle
138 Hieraaetus pennatus Booted Eagle
139 Spizaetus cirrhatus Changeable Hawk Eagle
140 Falco tinnunculus Common Kestrel
141 Falco chicquera Red-necked Falcon
142 Falco subbuteo Eurasian Hobby
143 Tachybaptus ruficollis Little Grebe
144 Podiceps cristatus Great Crested Grebe
145 Anhinga melanogaster Darter
146 Phalacrocorax niger Little Cormorant
147 Phalacrocorax fuscicollis Indian Cormorant
148 Phalacrocorax carbo Great Cormorant
149 Egretta garzetta Little Egret
150 Egretta gularis Western Reef Egret
151 Ardea cinerea Grey Heron
152 Ardea purpurea Purple Heron
153 Casmerodius albus Great Egret
154 Mesophoyx intermedia Intermediate Egret
155 Bubulcus ibis Cattle Egret
156 Ardeola grayii Indian Pond Heron
157 Butorides striatus Little Heron
158 Nycticorax nycticorax Black-crowned Night Heron
159 Phoenicopterus ruber Greater Flamingo
160 Phoenicopterus minor Lesser Flamingo
161 Plegadis falcinellus Glossy Ibis
162 Threskiornis melanocephalus Black-headed Ibis
163 Pseudibis papillosa Black Ibis
164 Platalea leucorodia Eurasian Spoonbill
165 Pelecanus onocrotalus Great White Pelican
166 Pelecanus crispus Dalmatian Pelican
167 Mycteria leucocephala Painted Stork
168 Anastomus oscitans Asian Openbill
169 Ciconia nigra Black Stork
170 Ciconia episcopus Woolly-necked Stork
171 Ephippiorhynchus asiaticus Black-necked Stork
172 Lanius isabellinus Rufous-tailed Shrike
173 Lanius cristatus Brown Shrike
174 Lanius schach Long-tailed Shrike
175 Lanius meridionalis Southern Grey Shrike
176 Dendrocitta vagabunda Rufous Treepie
177 Corvus splendens House Crow
178 Corvus validus Long-billed Crow
179 Oriolus oriolus Eurasian Golden Oriole
180 Pericrocotus cinnamomeus Small Minivet
181 Pericrocotus erythropygius White-bellied Minivet
182 Rhipidura aureola White-browed Fantail
183 Dicrurus macrocercus Black Drongo
184 Dicrurus leucophaeus Ashy Drongo
185 Dicrurus caerulescens White-bellied Drongo
186 Hypothymis azurea Black-naped Monarch
187 Terpsiphone paradisi Asian Paradise-flycatcher
188 Aegithina tiphia Common Iora
189 Aegithina nigrolutea Marshall's Iora
190 Tephrodornis pondicerianus Common Woodshrike
191 Muscicapa dauurica Asian Brown Flycatcher
192 Muscicapa muttui Brown-breasted Flycatcher
193 Ficedula parva Red-throated Flycatcher
194 Eumyias thalassina Verditer Flycatcher
195 Cyornis tickelliae Tickell's Blue Flycatcher
196 Culicicapa ceylonensis Grey-headed Canary Flycatcher
197 Luscinia svecica Bluethroat
198 Copsychus saularis Oriental Magpie Robin
199 Saxicoloides fulicata Indian Robin
200 Phoenicurus ochruros Black Redstart
201 Saxicola macrorhyncha Stoliczka's Bushchat
202 Saxicola torquata Common Stonechat
203 Oenanthe picata Variable Wheatear
204 Oenanthe pleschanka Pied Wheatear
205 Oenanthe xanthoprymna Rufous-tailed Wheatear
206 Oenanthe deserti Desert Wheatear
207 Oenanthe isabellina Isabelline Wheatear
208 Cercomela fusca Brown Rock-chat
209 Sturnus pagodarum Brahminy Starling
210 Sturnus roseus Rosy Starling
211 Sturnus vulgaris Common Starling
212 Acridotheres tristis Common Myna
213 Acridotheres ginginianus Bank Myna
214 Parus major Great Tit
215 Parus nuchalis White-naped Tit
216 Riparia riparia Sand Martin
217 Hirundo concolor Dusky Crag Martin
218 Hirundo rustica Barn Swallow
219 Hirundo smithii Wire-tailed Swallow
220 Hirundo daurica Red-rumped Swallow
221 Pycnonotus leucotis White-eared Bulbul
222 Pycnonotus cafer Red-vented Bulbul
223 Hypocolius ampelinus Grey Hypocolius
224 Cisticola juncidis Zitting Cisticola
225 Prinia buchanani Rufous-fronted Prinia
226 Prinia hodgsonii Grey-breasted Prinia
227 Prinia gracilis Graceful Prinia
228 Prinia sylvatica Jungle Prinia
229 Prinia socialis Ashy Prinia
230 Prinia inornata Plain Prinia
231 Zosterops palpebrosus Oriental White-eye
232 Cettia cetti Cetti's Bush Warbler
233 Acrocephalus melanopogon Moustached Warbler
234 Acrocephalus agricola Paddyfield Warbler
235 Acrocephalus dumetorum Blyth's Reed Warbler
236 Acrocephalus stentoreus Clamorous Reed Warbler
237 Hippolais caligata Booted Warbler
238 Orthotomus sutorius Common Tailorbird
239 Phylloscopus collybita Common Chiffchaff
240 Phylloscopus fuscatus Dusky Warbler
241 Phylloscopus affinis Tickell's Leaf Warbler
242 Phylloscopus trochiloides Greenish Warbler
243 Phylloscopus occipitalis Western Crowned Warbler
244 Dumetia hyperythra Tawny-bellied Babbler
245 Turdoides caudatus Common Babbler
246 Turdoides malcolmi Large Grey Babbler
247 Turdoides striatus Jungle Babbler
248 Sylvia communis Greater Whitethroat
249 Sylvia curruca Lesser Whitethroat
250 Sylvia nana Desert Warbler
251 Sylvia hortensis Orphean Warbler
252 Mirafra cantillans Singing Bushlark
253 Mirafra erythroptera Indian Bushlark
254 Eremopterix grisea Ashy-crowned Sparrow Lark
255 Ammomanes phoenicurus Rufous-tailed Lark
256 Ammomanes deserti Desert Lark
257 Alaemon alaudipes Greater Hoopoe Lark
258 Melanocorypha bimaculata Bimaculated Lark
259 Calandrella brachydactyla Greater Short-toed Lark
260 Calandrella raytal Sand Lark
261 Galerida cristata Crested Lark
262 Galerida deva Sykes's Lark
263 Alauda gulgula Oriental Skylark
264 Dicaeum concolor Plain Flowerpecker
265 Nectarinia asiatica Purple Sunbird
266 Passer domesticus House Sparrow
267 Petronia xanthocollis Chestnut-shouldered Petronia
268 Dendronanthus indicus Forest Wagtail
269 Motacilla alba White Wagtail
270 Motacilla maderaspatensis White-browed Wagtail
271 Motacilla citreola Citrine Wagtail
272 Motacilla flava Yellow Wagtail
273 Motacilla cinerea Grey Wagtail
274 Anthus rufulus Paddyfield Pipit
275 Anthus campestris Tawny Pipit
276 Anthus similis Long-billed Pipit
277 Anthus cervinus Red-throated Pipit
278 Ploceus philippinus Baya Weaver
279 Lonchura malabarica Indian Silverbill
280 Lonchura punctulata Scaly-breasted Munia
281 Emberiza buchanani Grey-necked Bunting
282 Emberiza striolata House Bunting
283 Emberiza melanocephala Black-headed Bunting

Arpit Deomurari

Trip Report with Pictures is here.

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