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crowflyHabitat Lost
(Movie clip)

Bird Habitats

The main birding habitats in India can be broadly classified into forests, scrubs,
grasslands, deserts and wetlands, each of these is home to a
characteristic population of bird species, quite different from those found in other habitats. Notable exceptions are some species to be met with in
any of these areas, such as the national bird, the Indian Peafowl, the
Blue Rock Pigeon and the Hoopoe.

Forests India's forests are of several types and as such, forests are an important habitat,
especially in terms of conservation as most of this country's threatened species and over
two-thirds of its endemic birds live in forests.

Coastal Mangrove Forests
These are typified by those of the Sunderbans in the east, are
a shelter for such species as the Mangrove Whistler and several species of Pittas.  

Tropical Deciduous Forests
These account for most of the forest cover of India's plains
and the plateau of the Deccan and offer a delightful array of avifauna for the enthusiastic
birder, ranging from several species of pigeons, parakeets and babblers to exotic and
flamboyant species like the Paradise Flycatcher and Racket-tailed Drongo. Other common
woodland birds are the Ioras, Leafbirds and several woodpecker species. Many raptors
are also to be met with in these jungles and birds like the Collared Scops Owl are
commonly sighted.  

Mountain Ranges
The mountain ranges of the Himalayas lining the north of the country
support Coniferous & Sub-Alpine Forests, home to a variety of characteristic Himalayan
species like the colourful Tragopans and Bamboo partridge. Other birds typically found
here are the finches, grosbeaks and

Dense Evergreen Forests
Dense Evergreen Forests are one of the most rewarding spots
for field ornithology in India, although these forests don't yield their rewards readily to the
impatient birdwatcher, unless one comes upon a blossoming or fruiting tree.
The evergreen forests in India occupy what are known as the Western Ghats in south-
west India as well as the north-eastern corner of the country, in the states of Assam,
Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh and Tripura. The birdlife of these regions shows a marked
tropical character, with frogmouths, laughing-thrushes and the breathtaking Fairy Bluebird
being some of the species to be seen. A host of endemic and rare birds also thrive in this
habitat ; the Great Pied and Wreathed Hornbills and two species of Cochoas are four of
the more uncommon species. 

Scrub jungle is found all over the area, interspersed often with heavier jungle
and most of the birds found here are also met often in cropland and cultivation and in
forest habitats. Species that are common in this region are several types of wren-warblers
and cuckoos, the Crow-Pheasant and the Indian Robin. 

This habitat also supports several endemic species and is represented by the
'terai', a belt of grassland at the foot of the Himalayas (which is extremely rich in wildlife)
as well as several pockets of grassland, primarily in central and peninsular India. The Great
Indian Bustard and the Bengal Florican are both distinctive species of this habitat and are
both facing certain extinction unless drastic measures are taken to safeguard their

Open and Cultivated Land
Open land & Cultivation is the easiest place to go to, to see
birds, especially for raptors, as many species of resident and migratory eagles,hawks,
falcons and harriers are commonly met with in these hunting grounds. The Short-toed
Snake Eagle and the Tawny Eagle are commonly seen residents, as are migratory birds
like Old World Kestrels, Red-headed Merlin, Booted Eagle and Montagu's Harrier.
Cultivation and open land are also host to a variety of larks, pipits and in wetter areas,

India not only has the hot Thar desert in the west but also the cold and
wind-swept deserts in the northernmost state of Kashmir. The hot deserts do
not house a very rich avifauna, the only endemic bird being the Stolicza's Bush Chat.
The cold deserts support such species as the Tibetan Lark and several
types of accentors. 

India has abundant wetlands in almost all of its areas, barring some
parts of the west and they are a major wintering ground for many species of waterfowl,
which seasonally augment the resident populations. Ducks and Geese spread far inland
and birds like the Shoveler, Garganey and Wigeon are very common. The Keoladeo Ghana
National Park is one of the best sites in the world for observing large populations of
migratory waterfowl. Migratory waders also arrive in large numbers and the shanks,
sandpipers and stints are not hard to find. Three species of cranes (including the
endangered Siberian Crane) visit the India wetlands in the winter months, as do several types of stork, herons, egrets and plovers. The two species of jacana - the Bronzewinged
and Pheasant-tailed are common residents.  The best time to visit India from an
ornithological standpoint is no doubt the months between October and April as, in addition
to the variety of resident species, migratory waterfowl, raptors, starlings and a host
of other species are also to be seen all around the Indian countryside.

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