The Advisory Boar

By Abhijit Menon-Sen <>

Mangar banni: bird checklist

Mangar is one of many small villages nestled in the Aravali foothills near Delhi. In a region that is under increasing pressure from real estate development, Mangar is especially interesting because it adjoins a banni (sacred grove) that represents the largest remaining contiguous unspoiled Aravali habitat. The residents of Mangar and some neighbouring villages understand the value of this grove, and are exploring ways to secure lasting protection for the area.

The banni is important for many reasons, including its cultural significance, being a valuable groundwater resource, and being home to many species of trees, animals, and birds. I am studying the bird life of the banni and the area around it as part of an effort to establish its biodiversity value.

The banni comprises various distinct kinds of habitat, each with its own characteristic bird life. This is a work-in-progress checklist based on two visits to the area in September 2001, and will be refined as more data are collected. Considering the extent and richness of the habitat, there is no doubt that subsequent visits in winter and other seasons will add to this list significantly.


Update 2015-10-30: This checklist is no longer actively maintained.

First, the species seen inside the banni itself.

  1. Ashy Prinia Prinia socialis
  2. Asian Koel Eudynamys scolopaceus
  3. Asian Paradise-Flycatcher Terpsiphone paradisi
  4. Black Drongo Dicrurus macrocercus
  5. Black-rumped Flameback Dinopium benghalense
  6. Brown-headed Barbet Megalaima zeylanica
  7. Cinereous Tit Parus cinereus
  8. Common Myna Acridotheres tristis
  9. Common Tailorbird Orthotomus sutorius
  10. Coppersmith Barbet Megalaima haemacephala
  11. Eurasian Collared-Dove Streptopelia decaocto
  12. Greater Coucal Centropus sinensis
  13. Green Bee-eater Merops orientalis
  14. Greenish Warbler Phylloscopus trochiloides
  15. Hoopoe Upupa epops
  16. House Crow Corvus splendens
  17. Indian Golden Oriole Oriolus kundoo
  18. Indian Grey Hornbill Ocyceros birostris
  19. Indian Peafowl Pavo cristatus
  20. Indian Robin Saxicoloides fulicatus
  21. Jungle Babbler Turdoides striata
  22. Large-billed Leaf-Warbler Phylloscopus magnirostris
  23. Large Grey Babbler Turdoides malcolmi
  24. Laughing Dove Streptopelia senegalensis
  25. Lesser Whitethroat Sylvia curruca
  26. Oriental Magpie-Robin Copsychus saularis
  27. Oriental White-eye Zosterops palpebrosus
  28. Pied Cuckoo Clamator jacobinus
  29. Plum-headed Parakeet Psittacula cyanocephala
  30. Purple Sunbird Cinnyris asiaticus
  31. Red Collared-Dove Streptopelia tranquebarica
  32. Red-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus cafer
  33. Rock Pigeon Columba livia
  34. Rose-ringed Parakeet Psittacula krameri
  35. Rufous Treepie Dendrocitta vagabunda
  36. Shikra Accipiter badius
  37. White-throated Kingfisher Halcyon smyrnensis
  38. Yellow-crowned Woodpecker Dendrocopos mahrattensis
  39. Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica
  40. Grey-breasted Prinia Prinia hodgsonii
  41. House Sparrow Passer domesticus
  42. Rufous-fronted Prinia Prinia buchanani
  43. White-eyed Buzzard Butastur teesa
  44. White-throated Munia Euodice malabarica
  45. Yellow-throated Sparrow Petronia xanthocollis
  46. Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis coromandus
  47. Indian Pond-Heron Ardeola grayii

Species recorded in the area around the banni (not including any that are in the list above):

  1. Baya Weaver Ploceus philippinus
  2. Black Francolin Francolinus francolinus
  3. Black Kite Milvus migrans
  4. Common Hawk-Cuckoo Hieroccycx varius
  5. Crested Bunting Melophus lathami
  6. Crested Honey Buzzard Pernis ptilorhynchus
  7. Crested Lark Galerida cristata
  8. Egyptian Vulture Neophron percnopterus
  9. European Roller Coracias garrulus
  10. Graceful Prinia Prinia gracilis
  11. Grey Francolin Francolinus pondicerianus
  12. Plain Martin Riparia chinensis
  13. Indian Bushlark Mirafra erythroptera
  14. Indian Roller Coracias benghalensis
  15. Plain Prinia Prinia inornata
  16. Red-rumped Swallow Cecropis daurica
  17. Red-wattled Lapwing Vanellus indicus
  18. Short-toed Snake Eagle Circaetus gallicus
  19. Southern Grey Shrike Lanius meridionalis
  20. White-breasted Waterhen Amaurornis phoenicurus
  21. Yellow-eyed Babbler Chrysomma sinense
  22. Spot-billed Duck Anas poecilorhyncha

Additional species recorded in July 2010 by Monalisa Sen:

  1. Eurasian Thick-knee Burhinus oedicnemus
  2. Red-whiskered Bulbul Pycnonotus jocosus
  3. Small Minivet Pericrocotus cinnamomeus
  4. Brahminy Starling Sturnus pagodarum
  5. Brown Rock Chat Cercomela fusca
  6. Common Iora Aegithina tiphia

Notable sightings

The only previous record of Large-billed Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus magnirostris in the Delhi region was from the Ridge forest on September 8 2001 (Clive Harris, pers. comm.). There were at least four of these birds in a Ficus tree in the lower reaches of the banni on September 8 2011. These birds (and others, such as Western-crowned P. occipitalis) are doubtless overlooked on passage from the Himalayas to their wintering grounds in South India. Given the range of undisturbed habitats in the banni, it is quite likely a critical resource for such passage migrants.

Palam Vihar: bird checklist

Update 2015-10-30: This checklist is no longer actively maintained.

This is a list of bird species I have identified in Palam Vihar, wedged between the borders of Delhi and Haryana.

Read more…

Sultanpur National Park

Sultanpur is a nice place to go bird watching.

The Park is open from 0630 to 1800 from April 1 to September 30 (it closes at 1630 during "winter", from October 1 to March 31). You might have some trouble getting in at 0630 (you can always sneak in through the Rosy Pelican (the next gate to the left), but I didn't tell you that).

The entrance fee (in INR) is: 5 for an Indian and 40 for a foreigner. Parking fees: 2 for a bicycle, 5 for other two-wheelers, 10 for a car, and 50 for a heavy vehicle. You pay 25 to take a still camera inside, and 500 for a video camera (but if your equipment is imposing enough to look "professional", you get to pay 5000 instead, perhaps with a 2500 license for business use).

If you're tempted to round off a pleasant morning with breakfast at the Rosy Pelican, the aloo-ke-paranthe are nice; but be prepared for their legendary incompetence. Going hungry might well be preferable.


Here's one of the many ways to get to Sultanpur:

Read more…

Okhla Bird Sanctuary


One way to get to the Sanctuary is to go straight down NH2 (Mathura road) from Ashram chowk, and turn left under the flyover just after passing Apollo Hospital to the left. Keep going straight on, turn right at the end of the road, then turn left onto the Okhla Barrage. The Sanctuary gates are to your left shortly afterwards.

The other route is to go through NOIDA, but due to ongoing construction, many of the exits off the main road may now be blocked. Thus the former route via the Barrage is to be preferred.

See this map for an overview of the area.

Read more…