South-west India 16th - 23rd February 2006

Published by Nick Moran (nickmoran76 AT

Participants: Nick Moran, Becca Moran


Nick Moran, British School – Al Khubairat, PO Box 4001
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, e-mail: nickmoran76 at


This was my second week-long trip to India in the space of three months and although nominally a ‘family’ holiday with my wife, I managed to secure a fairly serious birding itinerary focusing on the forests of Kerala and Tami Nadu. I am of course extremely grateful for Becca for her kindness and understanding! The only ‘casualty’ to the supposed non-birding nature of the trip was Top Slip, which she vetoed after reading a trip report about the less-than-salubrious accommodation there.

Although we recorded a relatively low total of 183 species, this included just 3 waders, 1 tern, 1 duck and no gulls, plus 16 out of 20 of the endemics, illustrating the high quality of the forest birding.

We had 8 full days in India, during which we spent 2 nights in Munnar, 2 in Ooty, 2 in Mudumalai and one in Thattekad. There were two long drives: Munnar to Ooty (8 hours) and Mudumalai to Thattekad (9 hours). The purpose of this report is primarily to update the information in Kolbjørn and Kjetil Schjølberg’s extremely comprehensive report from February 2003, and I would like to thank Kolbjørn for reviewing this update of his report. Nearly all the sites we visited are in that report and/or the Birdwatcher’s Guide to India. I have also provided current information on endemics/scarcer species in the annotated species list.

There are three sections to this report:

1) Resources
i. Helpful trip reports
ii. Field guides
iii. Contact information including notes on transport
2) Our itinerary
3) Annotated species list

Throughout the report, the following abbreviations are used:
NP = National Park
WLS = Wildlife Sanctuary
KL = Kerala
TN = Tamil Nadu

Exchange rate at the time of writing: 44 rupees = US$1 77 rupees = £1

1. Resources

i. Helpful trip reports
I took two trip reports on this trip – a brief ‘family holiday’ trip report from December 05 - January 06 by Erik Hirschfeld (EH) erik at and a fabulous 2003 trip report produced by Kolbjørn and Kjetil Schjølberg (K & KJS) bradypterus at , available at

ii. Field guide
I only took the Pocket Guide to the Birds of the Indian Subcontinent by Grimmett, C. Inskipp and T. Inskipp, which I picked up at Bharatpur on my previous trip for 695 rupees (about $15). I also took copies of the relevant sections of A Birdwatcher’s Guide to India by K. Kazmierczak and R. Singh and the India Lonely Planet.

iii. Contact information
I contacted Mr. Thomas Zacharias info at from Kalypso Tours at the very last minute, after I read that he efficiently organized a car and driver for EH earlier this year, and my email to Consortium Tours of India (K & KJS’s trip report) bounced. In fact this company seem not to exist any longer – rather, “Cosima Travel” based in Cochin (tel (00 91) 484 2360527 / 2381722 can assist with car and driver. We too were impressed by Thomas’s efficiency, and were very pleased with Arudesh(?) Ratheesh, our driver, who was very courteous and happy to meet the bizarre transport needs of birders! He can be contacted directly via G271 Tours & Travels, office: 5507271, mobiles: 9249415990 or 9447817360. Car and driver hire for eight days cost 14 000 rupees (US$ 320).

2. Our Itinerary

The sites we visited are superbly summarised in K & KJS’s trip report and A Birdwatcher’s Guide so I will simply present a list of places visited, in chronological order, with brief notes where needed.

As usual, early morning and late afternoon/evening were the best times for forest birding. We did the long drives between about 9am and 5pm – a chance to take in some of the scenery, catch up on bird notes or sleep!

Day 1 (16/2/06)
Arrive Kochin 0900
Grey-headed Bulbul site on NH49 to Munnar
Munnar – Cardamon Plantation
Night: High Range Club, Munnar (1390 rupees for a double room, meals extra)

Day 2 (17/2/06)
Early morning at Rajamalai NP – shola area around the first checkpoint only as the NP is closed Jan 10th – Feb 28th for the Nilgiri Tahr lambing season.
Patch of roadside shola on the road to Rajamalai, along a river before the turn off to Rajamalai NP.
Midday hill walk about 7km beyond the Elysium Hotel and about 0.5-1km after the High Range School. We followed a track along a narrow river valley that starts just before a sharp right hand bend in the road and a small bridge over the river. Our driver warned us of elephants here and we did see several piles of (old) dung. The path/track climbed steadily up through eucalyptus plantation before going through a small patch of shola. We then climbed the steep grassy hillside on the left side of the valley to be rewarded by finding 5-7 Nilgiri Pipits up on the ridge.
Evening walk into the grassy area above Deshadan resort in an attempt to find Broad-tailed Grassbird. The old logging track described in K & KJS’s report has now been surfaced all the way to its end, where it looks like a viewpoint will be constructed. I turned left off the track just before the end and followed a small path up through an area of overgrown plantation. After c.100m this path turned left, went through to the other side of the plantation then to a fire break along the edge of the grassy valley (which I think is the one that K & KJS describe in their report). Note that there was a locked gate at the start of the surfaced track (at the far edge of the Deshadan resort), which I circumnavigated as there was no-one around to ask about ‘proper’ access. Note that if following the map in K & KJS’s report, you need to turn up the narrow track signposted to Deshadan and Mist Valley resorts – the first section of this track is in poor condition but it gets better and looked easily negotiable in a normal car. The two resorts seemed like they would be excellent locations for birders to stay. Note: These two resorts were under early stages of construction during our visit.
Night: High Range Club, Munnar

Day 3 (18/2/06)
Drive from Munnar to Ooty
0845-1015 walk at Chinnar WLS. We did the track mentioned in A Birdwatcher’s Guide, on the left after the KL checkpoint and before the TN checkpoint. You now need to take a ‘guide’ to fend of the wildlife (with a small stick) – ours was cheerful enough but knew very little English and was certainly not a bird guide. The charge was 100 rupees per person for a 3 hour walk – unfortunately we only had time for one and a half hours but the price was fixed. Rules is rules…
Evening walk at Cairnhill Forest, Ooty
Night: Regency Villas, Ooty (c.1400 rupees, meals extra)

Day 4 (19/2/06)
Early am walk in Cairnhill Forest
Midday/early afternoon ‘non-birding’ in Ooty botanic gardens and around the lake
Late afternoon at the Potato Research Station, Muthoria – probably only worth it if like me you fail to get tickable views of Nilgiri Woodpigeon in Munnar... I ended up failing at both sites!
Night: Regency Villas, Ooty

Day 5 (20/2/06)
0730-0830 Sighur Ghat (between Ooty and Mudumalai, less than one hour from Ooty)
0900-1000 Sighur River bridge
Remainder of the day at/around Jungle Hut, just beyond the eastern perimeter of Mudumalai NP
Night: Jungle Hut, Mudumalai (1500 rupees, meals extra and quite expensive compared with elsewhere, especially beer at 125 rupees/bottle but worth it for the surroundings!)

Day 6 (21/2/06)
0645-0845 jeep drive in Bandipur NP – this was 1 hour drive from Jungle Hut but no jeep drives were available in Mudumalai due to the annual tiger survey, due to end 22nd Feb as far as we understood (the survey also affected Thattekad)
Remainder of the day at/around Jungle Hut, just beyond the eastern perimeter of Mudumalai NP
Night: Jungle Hut, Mudumalai

Day 7 (22/2/06)
Early am attempting to photograph Indian Pitta at Jungle Hut
Drive from Jungle Hut to Thattekad (9 hours more or less non-stop) – note that there is now a bridge over the Periyar river at Thattekad.
Evening/night: the Watchtower, Thattekad bird sanctuary (960 rupees for a twin room with spectacular forest views and sounds, plus 100 rupees park entry per person and 100 rupees for a meal for 3, delivered to the watchtower by canoe!) - although there was no running water (it is collected from the river instead) or electricity (the solar cells keep being damaged by thunderstorms) and it was much cooler at night than we expected, the tower was renovated 18 months ago and I would thoroughly recommend staying here, if only for a night or two. You’re only 1.5km from the park gate but it could be 100 times that, and we had Great Eared Nightjar, Malabar Grey Hornbill and loads of fireflies from the bedroom. The following morning a close herd of elephants meant we had to go elsewhere for our forest birding but our method of escape was by self-rowed dugout canoe, which proved great fun and a unique way to bird along the river.

Day 8 (23/2/06)
Thattekad bird sanctuary – we used Sudeesh here, the 17 year old mentioned in K & KJS’s 2003 report… he’s now 22 (?!) and due to leave for a naturalist job in Bangalore on 28.2.06. He had met us at the gate the previous day and encouraged us to stay in the watchtower. He took us to some virgin forest (called Umumulai or similar) 30 minutes beyond the Thattekad gate – easy to find by following the road through a few small villages until the plantations give way to proper forest. There are several tracks into the forest that could be explored, and the road itself was quiet and productive, even though we didn’t start birding there until 8am.
Afternoon drive to Kochi (2 hours)
Walk in agricultural and wasteland near the airport.
Night: Royal Wings Hotel (1150 rupees for a double room – mosquito net would be useful), for an early morning departure the next day.

3. Annotated bird species list

• Dates can be supplied on request – all sightings 16-23/2/06

• The distributions given are based entirely on our observations – the list should be read in conjunction with our itinerary.

• All names follow the nomenclature used in a Pocket Guide to the Birds of the Indian Subcontinent (Grimmett, C. Inskipp and T. Inskipp)

1. Painted Bush Quail Perdicula erythrorhyncha – 4 Rajamalai NP

2. Grey Junglefowl Gallus sonneratii – common in most habitats with trees

3. Indian Peafowl Pavo cristatus – only recorded in the Mudumalai area, where fairly common

4. Spot-billed Duck Anas poecilorhyncha – 4 Bandipur NP

5. Rufous Woodpecker Celeus brachyurus – 1 seen well from canoe Thattekad

6. White-bellied Woodpecker Dryocopus javensis – excellent views of 1 Umumulai forest (see Itinerary)

7. Heart-spotted Woodpecker Hemicircus canente – 1 Thattekad: what a dinky bird!

8. Brown-capped Pygmy Woodpecker Dendrocopos nanus nanus – 1 Bandipur NP

9. Yellow-crowned Woodpecker Dendrocopos mahrattensis – 1 Chinnar WLS, 1 Bandipur NP

10. Lesser Yellownape Picus chlorolophus – 1 Jungle Hut grounds

11. Streak-throated Woodpecker Picus xanthopygaeus – 1m 1f Bandipur NP

12. Black-rumped Flameback Dinopium benghalense benghalense – seen at several locations including Bandipur NP and Thattekad

13. Greater Flameback Chrysocolaptes lucidus guttacristatus – pairs Cairnhill Forest and Bandipur NP and 1 Thattekad.

14. White-cheeked Barbet Megalaima viridis – common in most wooded habitats

15. Coppersmith Barbet Megalaima haemacephala – only recorded Chinnar WLS and Thattekad but probably overlooked

16. Malabar Grey Hornbill Ocyceros griseus – only recorded Thattekad, where it was common

17. Common Hoopoe Upupa epops – singles seen at several locations

18. Indian Roller Coracias benghalensis benghalensis – several roadside sightings

19. Dollarbird Eurystomus orientalis – 2 Thattekad

20. Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis – 1 Thattekad

21. Stork-billed Kingfisher Halcyon capensis capensis – 1 Thattekad

22. White-throated Kingfisher Halcyon smyrnensis – very common throughout

23. Pied Kingfisher Ceryle rudis – pair Thattekad

24. Green Bee-eater Merops orientalis ferrugiceps – singles and pairs at several locations

25. Blue-tailed Bee-eater Merops philippinus – 1 overhead Chinnar WLS

26. Chestnut-headed Bee-eater Merops leschenaulti – 3 Thattekad

27. Drongo Cuckoo Surniculus lugubris – 2 Umumulai Forest

28. Asian Koel Eudynamys scolopacea – heard commonly and several sightings Mudumalai and Thattekad

29. Greater Coucal Centropus sinensis – singles seen at several locations

30. Vernal Hanging Parrot Loriculus vernalis – common Thattekad

31. Rose-ringed Parakeet Psittacula krameri – 1 Bandipur NP was the only record

32. Plum-headed Parakeet Psittacula cyanocephala – several groups Bandipur NP

33. Malabar Parakeet Psittacula columboides – seen at most locations except Thattekad and Bandipur NP

34. Indian Swiftlet Collacalia unicolor – seen at several locations e.g., Jungle Hut, Thattekad

35. House Swift Apus affinis – only recorded Rajamalai NP

36. Alpine Swift Tachymarptis melba – only recorded Munnar

37. Crested Treeswift Hemiprocne coronata – 2-3 Chinnar WLS, 1f photographed roadside near Sighur River

38. Collared Scops Owl Otus bakkamoena – 1 Thattekad roosting in bamboo by the start of the wooden footbridge to the forest

39. Brown Fish Owl Ketupa zeylonensis – great views of a pair Chinnar WLS

40. Jungle Owlet Glaucidium radiatum radiatum – 1 Bandipur NP

41. Sri Lanka Frogmouth Batrachostomus moniliger – 1m 2f Thattekad, expertly located by Sudeesh

42. Great Eared Nightjar Eurostopodus macrotis – 1 from Watchtower, Thattekad

[42. Jerdon’s Nightjar Caprimulgus atripennis – heard only Thattekad]

43. Mountain Imperial Pigeon Ducula badia – 2 seen several heard Umumulai forest

44. Spotted Dove Streptopelia chinensis suratenis – common

45. Eurasian Collared Dove Streptopelia dacaocto – surprisingly only recorded Bandipur NP

46. Emerald Dove Chalcophaps indica – singles Munnar and Thattekad

47. Pompadour Green Pigeon Trenon pompadora affinis – 4-6 Thattekad

48. White-breasted Waterhen Amaurornis phoenicurus – several singles e.g., Munnar, Thattekad

49. Common Moorhen Gallinula chloropus – only recorded Munnar

50. Common Coot Fulica atra – 4-5 Ooty lake

51. Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus – 1 Munnar, 8 Ooty lake

52. Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos – 1 Ooty lake, 1 Thattekad

53. Red-wattled Lapwing Vanellus indicus – small numbers at several locations e.g., Munnar, Bandipur NP

54. Whiskered Tern Chlidonias hybridus – 65 Thattekad

55. Black-shouldered Kite Elanus caeruleus – 2 Ooty

56. Black Kite Milvus migrans – singles at several locations, subspecies not determined

57. Brahminy Kite Haliastur Indus – singles Munnar, Ooty and Thattekad

58. White-rumped Vulture Gyps bengalensis – 2 ad 1 imm near Sighur River bridge & later 1 ad 1 imm near Jungle Hut, possibly 2 of the original birds

59. Crested Serpent Eagle Spilornis cheela – 1 Bandipur NP, 2 Thattekad

60. Black Eagle Ictinaetus malayensis – 1 over High Range Club, Munnar

61. Eurasian Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus – 1 Kochi airport

62. Shikra Accipiter badius – 1 Chinnar WLS

63. Besra Accipiter virgatus – 1 Munnar, 2 Thattekad

64. Oriental Honey-Buzzard Pernis ptilorhynchus – 1 Bandipur, 1 Thattekad

65. Common Buzzard Buteo buteo – 2 Muthorai near Ooty

66. Booted Eagle Hieraaetus pennatus – 1 pale phase over Cardamom estate Munnar

67. Rufous-bellied Eagle Hieraaetus kienerii – 1 ad Chinnar WLS

68. Changeable Hawk Eagle Spizaetus cirrhatus – 1 Chinnar WLS, 1 Bandipur NP

69. Common Kestrel Falco tinnunculus – singles at several locations

70. Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis – singles Munnar, Bandipur NP

71. Oriental Darter Anhinga melanogaster – 2 Thattekad

72. Little Cormorant Phalacrocorax niger – 20+ roosting in reedbed Munnar, several Thattekad

73. Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo – only recorded Ooty lake, where 6-8 were present

74. Little Egret Egretta garzetta – 1 Thattekad and a few roadside sightings

75. Intermediate Egret Mesophoyx intermedia – 1 Thattekad

76. Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis – very common throughout

77. Indian Pond Heron Ardeola grayii – very common throughout

78. Indian Pitta Pitta brachyura – 1 Jungle Hut

79. Asian Fairy Bluebird Irena puella – 1 Grey-headed Bulbul site en route to Munnar, 2 Thattekad

80. Golden-fronted Leafbird Chloropsis aurifrons – 1 Thattekad

81. Brown Shrike Lanius cristatus cristatus – singles at several locations e.g., Jungle Hut

82. Bay-backed Shrike Lanius vittatus – singles at Chinnar WLS, Bandipur NP and near Sighur River bridge

83. Long-tailed Shrike Lanius schach caniceps – singles at several locations e.g., Munnar, Jungle Hut

84. Rufous Treepie Dendrocitta vagabunda – singles at several locations e.g., Chinnar WLS, Thattekad

85. House Crow Corvus splendens – abundant especially near habitation

86. Large-billed Crow Corvus macrorhynchos – very common particularly in highlands and forested areas

87. Ashy Woodswallow Artamus fuscus – 2 Chinnar WLS, 2 near Kochi airport

88. Eurasian Golden Oriole Oriolus oriolus – 1 Sighur River bridge, 1 Thattekad

89. Black-hooded Oriole Oriolus xanthornus – seen at several locations e.g., Jungle Hut, Thattekad

90. Large Cuckooshrike Coracina macei – 1 Bandipur NP

91. Black-headed Cuckooshrike Coracina melanoptera – 1f Chinnar WLS, 1m Bandipur NP, 1m Umumulai

92. Small Minivet Pericrocotus cinnamomeus – small groups seen at several locations

93. Scarlet Minivet Pericrocotus flammeus – pairs Munnar and Bandipur NP

94. Bar-winged Flycatcher-shrike Hemipus picatus – singles and pairs Cairnhill forest, Thattekad

95. White-throated Fantail Rhipidura albicollis albogularis – 1 Ooty lake

96. White-browed Fantail Rhipidura aureola – singles at several locations

97. Black Drongo Dicrurus macrocercus – common in agricultural lowlands

98. Ashy Drongo Dicrurus leucophaeus longicaudatus – singles at several forest locations

99. White-bellied Drongo Dicrurus caerulescens caerulescens – as previous species

100. Bronzed Drongo Dicrurus aeneus – pairs Sighur River bridge and Thattekad

101. Greater Racket-tailed Drongo Dicrurus paradiseus – common Thattekad

102. Black-naped Monarch Hypothymis azurea – 3 Thattekad

103. Asian Paradise Flycatcher Terpsiphone paradisi – singles at several locations e.g., Thattekad

104. Common Iora Aegithina tiphia – singles & pairs at several locations e.g., Chinnar WLS and Thattekad

105. Large Woodshrike Tephrodornis gularis – 2 Thattekad

106. Common Woodshrike Tephrodornis pondicerianus – 2 Chinnar WLS

107. Blue-capped Rock Thrush Monticola cinclorhynchus – 1 stunning male Ooty botanic gardens, 1f Sighur Ghat

108. Malabar Whistling Thrush Myophonus horsfieldii – 2 High Range Hotel garden, Munnar, 1 watchtower Thattekad

109. Orange-headed Thrush Zoothera citrina cyanotus – seen at several locations including the Grey-headed Bulbul site, Sighur Ghat and river, Thattekad

110. Scaly Thrush Zoothera dauma dauma – 1 Cairnhill Forest Ooty

111. Eurasian Blackbird Turdus merula nigropileus – fairly common at Rajamalai NP and Cairnhill Forest

112. Nilgiri Blue Robin Myiomela major – 2 Cairnhill Forest, 1 between the 2 ‘shola plantation’ signs along the main track and 1 bathing exactly where K & KJS describe in their report. NOTE: formerly White-bellied Shortwing Brachyptera major major - taxanomic revision highlighted by Brian Sykes (OBC).

113. Asian Brown Flycatcher Muscicapa dauurica – 2 Bandipur NP, 1 Jungle Hut

114. Rusty-tailed Flycatcher Muscicapa ruficauda – 2 Grey-headed Bulbul site on NH49 to Munnar

115. Brown-breasted Flycatcher Muscicapa muttui – 1 roadside shola between Munnar and Rajamalai NP

116. Taiga Flycatcher Ficedula albicilla – 1 or 2 Jungle Hut

117. Black-and-orange Flycatcher Ficedula nigrorufa – 1 Rajamalai NP, 2 Cairnhill Forest, 2-3 Muthorai

118. Nilgiri Flycatcher Eumyias albicaudata – fairly common e.g., Rajamalai NP, Cairnhill Forest

119. White-bellied Blue Flycatcher Cyornis pallipes – 2m Rajamalai NP, with excellent views of 1 behind the first checkpoint building, 1m 1f Thattekad

120. Tickell’s Blue Flycatcher Cyornis tickelliae – 1m Sighur River bridge, 1m Jungle Hut

121. Grey-headed Canary Flycatcher Culicicapa ceylonensis – common in forest

122. Indian Blue Robin Luscinia brunnea – singles at several locations e.g., Rajamalai NP, Cairnhill Forest, Jungle Hut

123. Oriental Magpie Robin Copsychus saularis – very common and conspicuous

124. Indian Robin Saxicoloides fulicata fulicata – fairly common in dry, open wooded habitat e.g., Chinnar WLS

125. Pied Bushchat Saxicola caprata – very common in open habitat

126. Chestnut-tailed Starling Sturnus malabaricus malabaricus – several flocks at flowering trees Jungle Hut and Bandipur NP

127. Brahminy Starling Sturnus pagodarum – as previous species but in greater numbers. Also feeding on dry fields

128. Rosy Starling Sturnus roseus – c.30 over wasteground near Kochi airport

129. Common Myna Acridotheres tristis – common in lowlands

130. Jungle Myna Acridotheres fuscus – common in highlands, apparently replacing previous species

131. Hill Myna Gracula religiosa – small numbers in most forest areas; numerous Thattekad

132. Chestnut-bellied Nuthatch Sitta castanea – singles and pairs at Sighur River bridge, Jungle Hut & Bandipur NP

133. Velvet-fronted Nuthatch Sitta frontalis – singles and pairs in Munnar and Ooty area

134. Great Tit Parus major stupae – singles and pairs Ooty and Thattekad

135. Black-lored Tit Parus xanthogenys (aplonotus?) – 2 roadside shola between Munnar and Rajamalai

136. Dusky Crag Martin Hirundo concolor – several around Munnar

137. Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica – singles at several locations

138. Red-rumped Swallow Hirundo daurica (nipalensis?) – the most numerous hirundine, seen commonly at Jungle Hut and Thattekad

139. Grey-headed Bulbul Pycnonotus priocephalus – 1 flycatching with Red-whiskered Bulbuls upstream of Sighur River bridge. Frustratingly brief views.

140. Black-crested Bulbul Pycnonotus melanicterus gularis – only seen at the Grey-headed Bulbul site on NH49 to Munnar

141. Red-whiskered Bulbul Pycnonotus jocosus – very common and widespread

142. Red-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus cafer humayuni – common and widespread

143. White-browed Bulbul Pycnonotus luteolus – inconspicuous; 2 Sighur River bridge, 1 roadside near the bridge, 2 Chinnar WLS

144. Yellow-browed Bulbul Iole indica – c.10 at the NH49 Grey-headed Bulbul site, 1 Umumulai forest Thattekad

145. Black Bulbul Hypsipetes leucocephalus ganeesa – noisy groups at several locations in the highlands

146. Grey-breasted Prinia Prinia hodgsoni (rufula/pectoralis?) – 3 Jungle Hut

147. Ashy Prinia Prinia socialis stewarti – several small groups e.g., hills near Munnar, Muthorai

148. Oriental White-eye Zosterops palpebrosus – very common in most habitats with trees

[Locustella sp. – 1 on grassy slope above Deshadan resort Munnar most closely resembled Pallas’s Grasshopper Warbler, though Grasshopper Warber is apparently more likely here]

149. Blyth’s Reed Warbler Acrocephalus dumetorum – common in most habitats with scrub/bushes

150. Thick-billed Warbler Acrocephalus aedon – 1 Sighur River bridge

151. Syke’s Warbler Hippolais rama – 1 by the large pond in Jungle Hut grounds showed a faint olive tinge to the upper parts and had a more Acrocephalus-like face than typical caligata

152. Common Tailorbird Orthotomus sutoris (guzuratus?) – surprisingly Jungle Hut was the only location where this species was recorded frequently

153. Tickell’s Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus affinis – several at locations around Munnar, with 2-3 together in scrub in the grassland above Deshadan resort

154. Greenish Warbler Phylloscopus trochiloides (mostly apparently trochiloides or viridanus) – the most common warbler, encountered in most suitable habitats

155. Large-billed Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus magnirostris – seen well Cairnhill Forest, several heard Thattekad

156. Tytler’s Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus tytleri – after trying to string one at Sighur River bridge, I got reasonable views of 1 in the forest behind Jungle Hut. The dark bill was particularly noticeable

157. Western Crowned Warbler Phylloscopus occipitalis – 1-2 Thattekad. Possibly overlooked elsewhere

158. Nilgiri/Rufous-breasted Laughingthrush Garrulax cachinnans – 2 Cairnhill forest Ooty, 1 moved quickly through the canopy near the ‘cairn’ up the main track and 1 gave much better views in a fruiting tree along the stream K & KJS mention in their report

159. Grey-breasted Laughingthrush Garrulax jerdoni fairbanki – fairly common in wooded habitats around Munnar e.g., Rajamalai NP, Deshadan resort

160. Puff-throated Babbler Pellorneum palustre – 2 Sighur Ghat, 1 Jungle Hut

161. Indian Scimitar Babbler Pomatorhinus horsfieldii horsfieldii – seen at various locations e.g., Cairnhill forest, Jungle Hut

162. Tawny-bellied Babbler Dumetia hyperythra albogularis – 2 Chinnar WLS

163. Dark-fronted Babbler Rhopocichla atriceps atriceps – small parties at several locations e.g., NH49 Grey-headed Bulbul site and Umumulai/Thattekad

164. Rufous Babbler Turdoides subrufus – 3 Sighur Ghat

165. Jungle Babbler Turdoides striatus – common and conspicuous in most wooded habitat

166. Yellow-billed Babbler Turdoides affinis affinis – a flock of c.7 Bandipur NP were particularly distinctive with whitish hoods and rumps. Not recorded elsewhere but possibly overlooked, depending on whether or not all affinis in this area are as strongly marked as these birds were

167. Brown-cheeked Fulvetta Alcippe poioicephala – small groups at the NH49 Grey-headed Bulbul site and Sighur River bridge

168. Rufous-winged Bushlark Mirafra assamica – 2 wasteland near airport, singing from wires and derelict buildings

169. Malabar Lark Galerida malabarica – 2 hills above Munnar

170. Pale-billed Flowerpecker Dicaeum erythroryhnchos – 3 Jungle Hut, almost certainly overlooked elsewhere

171. Plain Flowerpecker Dicaeum concolor concolor – recorded at several locations, best views behind the first checkpoint at Rajamalai NP

172. Purple-rumped Sunbird Nectarina zeylonica – 1m Chinnar WLS, several Jungle Hut

173. Crimson-backed Sunbird Nectarina minima – 2m seen well Thattekad; possibly overlooked elsewhere

174. Purple Sunbird Necatarina asiatica – singles at various locations

175. Little Spiderhunter Arachnothera longirostra – 1 Thattekad

176. House Sparrow Passer domesticus – common, especially around habitation in lowlands

177. Chestnut-shouldered Petronia Petronia xanthocollis – common at flowering trees Jungle Hut and Bandipur NP

178. White-browed Wagtail Motacilla maderaspatensis – singles and pairs at several locations near water

179. Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea – common, especially along roads in the highlands

180. Paddyfield Pipit Anthus rufulus – 2 High Range golf course Munnar

181. Nilgiri Pipit Anthus nilghiriensis – 5-7 on grassy hills above High Range school. Fantastic ‘scope views, eventually!

182. Black-throated Munia Lonchura kelaarti jerdoni – 6-8 behind first checkpoint at Rajamalai NP

183. Common Rosefinch Carpodacus erythrinus – seen frequently in the highlands, in flocks of up to 15