A trip to Kerala, SW India 19-25 May 2016 Part 1

The birding trip was all arranged and led by Sajan Raju, who did all the logistics, booked hotels, guides etc. I really recommend him as a tour guide to the southern part of India, he knows where the birds are and has a network of friends and birdguides through the southern part of India. With his help I had 107 lifers and saw 151 birds in total within one week, albeit of long car drives.

I flew to Cochin airport from Kuwait, and was greeted by Sajan at the airport early in the morning and off to Thattekkad.

At Thattekkad we were met by photographers and birders; Sunil Jaleel, PJ George, Pushpa CR, Santhosh Kumar, Teddy Nirappan and Rajeev Thattekkad who was the guide to find me the Sri Lanka Frogmouth. Here the forest is humid, hot and full of land blood-sucking leeches, these leeches bite the foot and introduce anticoagulant that prevents the victim blood from clotting, so when removed it produces a bleeding bite that may bleed more than a normal wound. Fortunately Rajeev our guide in the forest had an antiseptic diluted Dettol, he pours the antiseptic over the leech so it let it go and drops to the floor. I had a couple of bites but they soon let it go when poured with Dettol.

The first birds I saw in the forest where the Heart-spotted Woodpecker, River Tern and the Asian Openbill. I was so excited so to forget about the hot humid weather.

Acknowledgment: I would like to thank the following people who Sajan and I met during the trip and provided some help and guidance: Sunil Jaleel, PJ George, Pushpa CR, Santhosh Kumar, Teddy Nirappan, Rajeev Thattekkad, Roshnath Ramesh, Kuttettan Munnar, Anoop Kartha, Anish Elanad, Anith Anilkumar, Sunish Ashokan, and Yazdy Palia.

Below are the birds I saw at every site:

Bird names and taxonomy follows IOC v.7 (www.worldbirdnames.org)

19/05/2016 at Thattekkad, Kerala (45 species of which 34 lifers)

Asian Openbill (Anastomus oscitans) 3, Great Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo sinensis) 2, Indian Cormorant (Phalacrocorax fuscicollis) 2, Oriental Darter (Anhinga melanogaster) 2, Great White Egret (Ardea alba) 2, Intermediate Egret (Ardea intermedia) 3, Eastern Cattle Egret (Bubulcus coromandus) 2, Indian Pond Heron (Ardeola grayii) 4, Crested Honey-buzzard (Pernis ptilorhynchus ruficollis) 1, Rufous-bellied Hawk-Eagle (Lophotriorchis kienerii) 1, Shikra (Accipiter badius) 1, Red-wattled Lapwing (Vanellus indicus) 2, River Tern (Sterna aurantia) 3, Greater Coucal (Centropus sinensis) 1, Common Hawk-Cuckoo (Hierococcyx varius) 1, Indian Scops Owl (Otus bakkamoena) 1, Sri Lanka Frogmouth (Batrachostomus moniliger) 2, Little Swift (Apus affinis) 2, Crested Treeswift (Hemiprocne coronata) 2, Malabar Trogon (Harpactes fasciatus) 1, Malabar Grey Hornbill (Ocyceros griseus) 1, Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) 1, White-throated Kingfisher (Halcyon smyrnensis) 2, Dollarbird (Eurystomus orientalis) 1, White-cheeked Barbet (Psilopogon viridis) 2, Malabar Barbet (Psilopogon malabaricus) 1, White-bellied Woodpecker (Dryocopus javensis) 1, Heart-spotted Woodpecker (Hemicircus canente) 1, Plum-headed Parakeet (Psittacula cyanocephala) 2, Vernal Hanging-Parrot (Loriculus vernalis) 3, Ashy Woodswallow (Artamus fuscus) 2, Orange Minivet (Pericrocotus flammeus) 2, Black-headed Cuckooshrike (Lalage melanoptera) 1, Greater Racket-tailed Drongo (Dicrurus paradiseus) 2, Velvet-fronted Nuthatch (Sitta frontalis) 2, Red-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus cafer) 2, Red-whiskered Bulbul (Pycnonotus jocosus) 3, Yellow-browed Bulbul (Iole indica) 1, Jungle Babbler (Turdoides striata) 1, Oriental Magpie-Robin (Copsychus saularis) 2, White-bellied Blue-Flycatcher (Cyornis pallipes) 1, Pied Bushchat (Saxicola caprata) 2, Purple-rumped Sunbird (Leptocoma zeylonica) 1, Purple Sunbird (Cinnyris asiaticus) 1, White-browed Wagtail (Motacilla maderaspatensis) 2, Black-throated Munia (Lonchura kelaarti) 5.

20/05/2016 at Munnar, Idukki County (48 species of which 31 lifers)

Lesser Whistling-Duck (Dendrocygna javanica) 50, Cotton Pygmy-Goose (Nettapus coromandelianus) 7, Little Grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis) 2, Little Cormorant (Microcarbo niger) 3, Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea) 3, Crested Honey-buzzard (Pernis ptilorhynchus ruficollis) 1, Black Eagle (Ictinaetus malaiensis) 1, Brahminy Kite (Haliastur indus) 1, White-breasted Waterhen (Amaurornis phoenicurus) 2, Nilgiri Wood-Pigeon (Columba elphinstonii) 1, Spotted Dove (Streptopelia chinensis) 1, Common Emerald Dove (Chalcophaps indica) 1, Greater Coucal (Centropus sinensis) 1, Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis taprobana) 1, Chestnut-headed Bee-eater (Merops leschenaulti) 2, White-cheeked Barbet (Psilopogon viridis) 2, Brown-capped Pygmy Woodpecker (Dendrocopos nanus) 1, Black-rumped Flameback (Dinopium benghalense) 1, Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus peregrinator) 1, Blue-winged Parakeet (Psittacula columboides) 1, Vernal Hanging-Parrot (Loriculus vernalis) 2, Orange Minivet (Pericrocotus flammeus) 1, Long-tailed Shrike (Lanius schach) 1, Indian Jungle Crow (Corvus culminatus) 6, Dusky Crag-Martin (Ptyonoprogne concolor) 2, Hill Swallow (Hirundo domicola) 4, Grey-headed Canary-Flycatcher (Culicicapa ceylonensis) 2, Cinereous Tit (Parus minor) 2, Velvet-fronted Nuthatch (Sitta frontalis) 1, Red-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus cafer) 2, Red-whiskered Bulbul (Pycnonotus jocosus) 5, Square-tailed Bulbul (Hypsipetes ganeesa) 1, Common Tailorbird (Orthotomus sutorius) 1, Oriental White-eye (Zosterops palpebrosus) 4, Kerala Laughingthrush (Trochalopteron fairbanki) 1, Asian Fairy-bluebird (Irena puella) 1, Nilgiri Flycatcher (Eumyias albicaudatus) 1, White-bellied Blue Robin (Myiomela albiventris) 1, Malabar Whistling-Thrush (Myophonus horsfieldii) 1, Black-and-Orange Flycatcher (Ficedula nigrorufa) 1, Pied Bushchat (Saxicola caprata) 3, Southern Hill Myna (Gracula indica) 2, Jungle Myna (Acridotheres fuscus) 5, Nilgiri Flowerpecker (Dicaeum concolor) 2, Crimson-backed Sunbird (Leptocoma minima) 1, Loten’s Sunbird (Cinnyris lotenius hindustanicus) 1, White-browed Wagtail (Motacilla maderaspatensis) 3, Paddyfield Pipit (Anthus rufulus) 2.

21/05/2016 at Karapuzha, Wayanad County (35 species of which 11 lifers)

Lesser Whistling-Duck (Dendrocygna javanica) 50, Cotton Pygmy-Goose (Nettapus coromandelianus) 4, Indian Spot-billed Duck (Anas poecilorhyncha) 20, Indian Peafowl (Pavo cristatus) 4, Asian Openbill (Anastomus oscitans) 2, Little Cormorant (Microcarbo niger) 3, Great Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo sinensis) 2, Cinnamon Bittern (Ixobrychus cinnamomeus) 1, Intermediate Egret (Mesophoyx intermedia) 2, Eastern Cattle Egret (Bubulcus coromandus) 2, Black-headed Ibis (Threskiornis melanocephalus) 2, Crested Serpent-Eagle (Spilornis cheela melanotis) 3, Crested Goshawk (Accipiter trivirgatus peninsulae) 1, Brahminy Kite (Haliastur indus) 2, White-breasted Waterhen (Amaurornis phoenicurus) 1, Common Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus) 3, Eurasian Coot (Fulica atra) 5, Red-wattled Lapwing (Vanellus indicus) 10, Bronze-winged Jacana (Metopidius indicus) 2, River Tern (Sterna aurantia) 4, Spotted Dove (Streptopelia chinensis) 1, Grey-bellied Cuckoo (Cacomantis passerinus) 1, Crested Treeswift (Hemiprocne coronata) 3, Green Bee-eater (Merops orientalis beludschicus) 2, Long-tailed Shrike (Lanius schach) 1, Wire-tailed Swallow (Hirundo smithii) 2, Red-whiskered Bulbul (Pycnonotus jocosus) 10, Ashy Prinia (Prinia socialis) 3, Yellow-billed Babbler (Turdoides affinis) 2, Oriental Magpie-Robin (Copsychus saularis) 1, Pied Bushchat (Saxicola caprata) 6, Brahminy Starling (Sturnia pagodarum) 3, Common Myna (Acridotheres tristis) 4, Jungle Myna (Acridotheres fuscus) 50, Paddyfield Pipit (Anthus rufulus) 8.

22/05/2016 at Masinagudi, Nilgiris County, Tamil Nadu (26 species of which 5 lifers)

Indian Peafowl (Pavo cristatus) 6, Black-winged Kite (Elanus caeruleus) 1, Crested Honey-buzzard (Pernis ptilorhynchus ruficollis) 1, White-rumped Vulture (Gyps bengalensis) 1, Short-toed Eagle (Circaetus gallicus) 1, Black Kite (Milvus migrans) 7, Brahminy Kite (Haliastur indus) 2, Collared Dove (Streptopelia decaocto) 1, Spotted Dove (Streptopelia chinensis) 5, Spotted Owlet (Athene brama) 3, Indian Roller (Coracias benghalensis) 1, Brown-capped Woodpecker (Dendrocopos nanus) 2, Common Iora (Aegithina tiphia multicolor ) 2, Small Minivet (Pericrocotus cinnamomeus) 12, Orange Minivet (Pericrocotus flammeus) 3, Ashy Drongo (Dicrurus leucophaeus) 1, White-browed Fantail (Rhipidura aureola) 2, Rufous Treepie (Dendrocitta vagabunda) 1, House Crow (Corvus splendens) 4, Large-billed Crow (Indian Jungle) (Corvus macrorhynchos culminatus) 2, Red-rumped Swallow (Cecropis daurica) 2, Red-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus cafer) 3, Yellow-billed Babbler (Turdoides affinis) 7, Brahminy Starling (Sturnia pagodarum) 10, Jungle Myna (Acridotheres fuscus) 15, House Sparrow (Passer domesticus) 10.

22/05/2016 at Mudumalai NP, Nilgiris County, Tamil Nadu (29 species of which 8 lifers)

Grey Francolin (Francolinus pondicerianus) 1, Grey Junglefowl (Gallus sonneratii) 2, Woolly-necked Stork (Ciconia episcopus) 28, White-rumped Vulture (Gyps bengalensis) 2, Changeable Hawk-Eagle (Nisaetus cirrhatus cirrhatus) 1, Black Kite (Milvus migrans govinda) 8, Feral Pigeon (Columba livia) 3, Laughing Dove (Streptopelia senegalensis cambayensis) 3, Yellow-footed Pigeon (Treron phoenicopterus) 1, Common Hawk-Cuckoo (Hierococcyx varius) 1, Spotted Owlet (Athene brama) 1, Little Swift (Apus affinis) 3, Eurasian Hoopoe (Upupa epops ceylonensis) 2, Chestnut-headed Bee-eater (Merops leschenaulti) 2, Indian Roller (Coracias benghalensis) 1, Coppersmith Barbet (Psilopogon haemacephalus indicus) 2, Brown-capped Pygmy Woodpecker (Dendrocopos nanus) 1, Yellow-crowned Woodpecker (Dendrocopos mahrattensis) 1, Streak-throated Woodpecker (Picus xanthopygaeus) 2, Common Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus objurgatus) 1, Ring-necked Parakeet (Psittacula krameri manillensis) 2, Common Iora (Aegithina tiphia multicolor) 1, Small Minivet (Pericrocotus cinnamomeus) 2, Black-headed Cuckooshrike (Lalage melanoptera) 1, White-browed Fantail (Rhipidura aureola) 1, Red-rumped Swallow (Cecropis daurica nipalensis) 3, Oriental White-eye (Zosterops palpebrosus) 2, Indian Robin (Copsychus fulicatus) 2, Pale-billed Flowerpecker (Dicaeum erythrorhynchos) 1.

23/05/2016 at Pulpally, Wayanad County, Kerala (2 lifers)

Flame-throated Bulbul (Pycnonotus gularis) 1, Tickell’s Blue-Flycatcher (Cyornis tickelliae) 1.

23/05/2016 at Sarovaram Biopark, Kottoooli, Kozhikode County, Kerala (11 of which 2 lifers)

Purple Heron (Ardea purpurea) 1, Great White Egret (Ardea alba) 1, Eastern Cattle Egret (Bubulcus coromandus) 2, Black-crowned Night-Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax) 2, Brahminy Kite (Haliastur indus) 6, Asian Koel (Eudynamys scolopaceus) 1, Black-rumped Flameback (Dinopium benghalense) 1, Black-hooded Oriole (Oriolus xanthornus maderaspatanus) 2, Rufous Treepie (Dendrocitta vagabunda parvula) 2, Jungle Myna (Acridotheres fuscus) 2, Loten’s Sunbird (Lotenius hindustanicus) 1.

24/05/2016 at Elanad, Thrissur County, Kerala, Kerala (10 of which 5 lifers)

Grey-bellied Cuckoo (Cacomantis passerinus) 1, Yellow-crowned Woodpecker (Dendrocopos mahrattensis) 1, Lesser Yellownape (Picus chlorolophus chlorigaster) 1, Large Cuckooshrike (Coracina macei macei) 1, Rufous Treepie (Dendrocitta vagabunda parvula) 2, House Crow (Corvus splendens) 2, Orange-headed Thrush (Geokichla citrina cyanota) 1, Malabar Starling (Sturnia blythii) 1, Golden-fronted Leafbird (Chloropsis aurifrons insularis) 2, House Sparrow (Passer domesticus indicus) 3.

25/05/2016 at Kole Wetlands–Aranattukara, Thrissur County, Kerala (9 of which 7 lifers)

Little Egret (Egretta garzetta) 2, Watercock (Gallicrex cinerea) 5, Yellow-wattled Lapwing (Vanellus malabaricus) 8, Zitting Cisticola (Cisticola juncidis salimalii) 11, Ashy Prinia (Prinia socialis) 2, Plain Prinia (Prinia inornata) 3, Streaked Weaver (Ploceus manyar) 4, Red Avadavat (Amandava amandava) 5, Tricolored Munia (Lonchura malacca) 5.

25/05/2016 at Kalamassery–HMT Estate Area, Ernakulam County, Kerala (8 of which 2 lifers)

Brahminy Kite (Haliastur indus) 2, Ruddy-breasted Crake (Zapornia fusca) 1, Grey-headed Swamphen (Porphyrio poliocephalus poliocephalus) 3, Greater Coucal (Centropus sinensis) 1, Stork-billed Kingfisher (Pelargopsis capensis) 1, Black Drongo (Dicrurus macrocercus macrocercus) 2, Malabar Starling (Sturnia blythii) 5, Golden-fronted Leafbird (Chloropsis aurifrons insularis) 2.


Wild Gaur Bos gaurus

Sambar Deer Rusa unicolor

Spotted Deer Axis axis

Asian Elephant Elephas maximus

Indian Palm Squirrel Funambulus palmarum

Indian Giant Squirrel Ratufa indica

Indian Boar Sus scrofa cristatus

Southern Plains Grey Langur Semnopithecus dussumieri

Acknowledgment: I would like to thank the following people who helped during my trip and bird guided me: My bird guide Sajan Raju, Sunil Jaleel, PJ George, Pushpa CR, Santhosh Kumar, Teddy Nirappan, Rajeev Thattekkad, Roshnath Ramesh, Ahmmed Basheer.

My new birds (lifers) 106 Species:

439 Indian Spot-billed Duck Anas poecilorhyncha

1508 Grey Junglefowl Gallus sonneratii

1636 Indian Peafowl Pavo cristatus

2056 Asian Openbill Anastomus oscitans

2063 Wooly-necked Stork Ciconia episcopus

2092 Black-headed Ibis Threskiornis melanocephalus

2209 Cinnamon Bittern Ixobrychus cinnamomeus

2286 Eastern Cattle Egret Bubulcus coromandus

2428 Little Cormorant Microcarbo niger

2458 Indian Cormorant Phalacrocorax fuscicollis

2493 Oriental Darter Anhinga melanogaster

2640 White-rumped Vulture Gyps bengalensis

2662 Crested Serpent Eagle Spilornis cheela melanotis

2717 Changeable Hawk-Eagle Nisaetus cirrhatus cirrhatus

2748 Rufous-bellied Hawk-Eagle Lophotriorchis kienerii

2756 Black Eagle Ictinaetus malaiensis

2832 Crested Goshawk Accipiter trivirgatus peninsulae

3047 Brahminy Kite Haliastur indus

3620 White-breasted Waterhen Amaurornis phoenicurus

3644 Ruddy-breasted Crake Porzana fusca

3702 Watercock Gallicrex cinerea

3990 Yellow-wattled Lapwing Vanellus malabaricus

4144 Bronze-winged Jacana Metopidius indicus

4621 River Tern Sterna aurantia

4838 Nilgiri Wood pigeon Columba elphinstonii

4983 Spotted Dove Spilopelia chinensis

5080 Common Emerald Dove Chalcophaps indica

5452 Yellow-footed Green Pigeon Treron phoenicopterus

5903 Greater Coucal Centropus sinensis

6144 Grey-bellied Cuckoo Cacomantis passerines

6184 Common Hawk-cuckoo Hierococcyx varius

6317 Indian Scops Owl Otus bakkamoena

6789 Spotted Owlet Athene brama

6998 Sri Lanka Frogmouth Batrachostomus moniliger

7353 Crested Treeswift Hemiprocne coronate

8829 Malabar Trogon Harpactes fasciatus

8903 Dollarbird Eurystomus orientalis

9008 Stork-billed Kingfisher Pelargopsis capensis

9459 Chestnut-headed Bee-eater Merops leschenaultia

9592 Malabar Grey Hornbill Ocyceros griseus

9960 White-cheeked Barbet Psilopogon viridis

 10015 Malabar Barbet Psilopogon malabaricus

10016 Coppersmith Barbet Psilopogon haemacephalus indicus

10339 Heart-Spotted woodpecker Hemicircus canente

10454 Brown-capped Pygmy Woodpecker Yungipicus nanus

10516 Yellow-crowned Woodpecker Leiopicus mahrattensis

10895 White-bellied Woodpecker Dryocopus javensis

10961 Lesser Yellownape Picus chlorolophus chlorigaster

10977 Streak-throated Woodpecker Picus xanthopygaeus

11021 Black-rumped flameback Dinopium benghalense

11958 Plum-headed Parakeet Psittacula cyanocephala

11975 Blue-winged Parakeet Psittacula columboides

12293 Vernal Hanging Parrot Loriculus vernalis

18023 Ashy Woodswallow Artamus fuscus

18116 Common Iora Aegithina tiphia multicolor

18139 Large Cuckooshrike Coracina macei macei

18345 Black-headed Cuckooshrike Coracina melanoptera

18428 Small Minivet Pericrocotus cinnamomeus

18466 Orange Minivet Pericrocotus flammeus

19268 Black-hooded Oriole Oriolus xanthornus maderaspatanus

19395 Great Racket-tailed Drongo Dicrurus paradiseus

19435 White-browed Fantail Rhipidura aureola

20158 Rufous Treepie Dendrocitta vagabunda parvula

20314 Indian Jungle Crow Corvus culminatus

20730 Grey-headed Canary-flycatcher Culicicapa ceylonensis

20997 Cinereous Tit Parus minor

21637 Flame-throated Bulbul Pycnonotus gularis

21646 Red-whiskered Bulbul Pycnonotus jocosus

21937 Yellow-browed Bulbul Acritillas indica indica

22026 Square-tailed Bulbul Hypsipetes ganeesa

22229 Hill Swallow Hirundo domicola

22237 Wire-tailed Swallow Hirundo smithii

22265 Dusky Crag Martin Ptyonoprogne concolor

23529 Ashy Prinia Prinia socialis

23545 Plain Prinia Prinia inornata inornata

23768 Common Tailorbird Orthotomus sutorius

24422 Jungle Babbler Turdoides striata

24429 Yellow-billed Babbler Turdoides affinis

24615 Kerala Laughingthrush Trochalopteron fairbanki

25157 Oriental White-eye Zosterops palpebrosus

25411 Asian Fairy Bluebird Irena puella

26115 Velvet-fronted Nuthatch Sitta frontalis

26446 Southern Hill Myna Gracula indica

26457 Jungle Myna Acridotheres fuscus

26497 Malabar Starling Sturnia blythii

26498 Brahminy Starling Sturnia pagodarum

26675 Orange-headed Thrush Geokichla citrina cyanota

27282 Oriental Magpie-robin Copsychus saularis

27485 White-bellied Blue Flycatcher Cyornis pallipes

27501 Tickell’s Blue Flycatcher Cyornis tickelliae

27600 Nilgiri Flycatcher Eumyias albicaudatus

27847 White-bellied Blue Robin Myiomela albiventris

27887 Malabar Whistling Thrush Myophonus horsfieldii

27984 Black-and-Orange Flycatcher Ficedula nigrorufa

28304 Golden-fronted Leafbird Chloropsis aurifrons insularis

28404 Pale-billed Flowerpecker Dicaeum erythrorhynchos

28407 Nilgiri Flowerpecker Dicaeum concolor

28651 Purple-rumped Sunbird Leptocoma zeylonica

28654 Crimson-backed Sunbird Leptocoma minima

28862 Loten’s Sunbird Lotenius hindustanicus

29294 Streaked Weaver Ploceus manyar

29648 Red Avadavet Amandava amandava

29797 Black-throated Munia Lonchura kelaarti

29816 Tricoloured Munia Lonchura malacca

30003 White-browed Wagtail Motacilla maderaspatensis

30021 Paddyfield Pipit Anthus rufulus