On the Wing: Black-shouldered Kite

An attractive raptor even while perched, the Black-shouldered Kite is hard to forget once spotted hovering For a long time after I learned to identify this bird, also called the Black-winged Kite to differentiate it from the Australian  Black-shouldered Kite (Elanus axillaris), I did not witness its flight. During the winter dusk near my village in Rae Bareli, I always saw it hover over potential prey that it had spotted on the ground. All you needed was to scan the horizon and, eight times out of 10, you could spot this bird hovering. The kite hovers over open scrub or grassland patches with … Continue reading On the Wing: Black-shouldered Kite

On the wing: The Racket-tailed Drongo

The spectacle of a Racket-tailed Drongo in flight can make an air-show look like a cheap circus  The Greater Racket-tailed Drongo (Dicrurus paradiseus) is quite a character. The funky hairdo over the beak, the long-flowing tail and its ability to mimic scores of other birds makes it one very interesting chap to watch. This individual was found next to a huge congregation of birds – the only mixed flock we saw on our trip to ARRS last month. Other birds included Brown-cheeked Fulvettas, Blue-winged Parakeets and Yellow-browed Bulbuls.  The drongo would take off from its perch on the verge of … Continue reading On the wing: The Racket-tailed Drongo

On the Wing: Indian Silverbills

Ever wondered why some birds never fly? And we are talking of little birds, not ostriches and emus… Flit: v. To move lightly and swiftly.  I have always been amazed as to how some birds never seem to fly — they always flit. Whenever I have come across a flock of Indian Silverbills (Euodice malabarica), also called the White-throated Munia, I have had a hard time observing their wing movements. They always seem to be in a hurry and appear permanently unsettled. All one ever gets to see is a blur of wings accompanied by a soft buzz or a short hop.  … Continue reading On the Wing: Indian Silverbills