Kolkata, situated on the banks of the Hooghly River, is a bustling city in West Bengal that serves as a hub for commerce, culture, and tourism. But amidst the city's bustling streets and towering skyscrapers, one can still find an abundance of birdlife.
Kolkata is home to a variety of bird species, both resident and migratory, that thrive in the city's parks, gardens, and wetlands. From the playful house sparrows to the majestic Brahminy kites, Kolkata offers a haven for birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts.
In this article, we will explore some of the most common and interesting bird species found in Kolkata and delve into the reasons for their presence in the city.
1. Asian openbill
The Asian openbill is a large stork found in the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia. It has a greyish or white body, glossy black wings and tail, with an adult having a gap between upper mandible and lower one.
Juveniles don't have this unique feature but will grow it as they mature.
They feed by wading through shallow water looking for snails, crustaceans and aquatic plants to eat from the surface of mudflats or marshes.
Due to its enormous size (up to 121 cm tall) it makes quite an impressive sight when flying.Scientific classification:
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2. Violet cuckoo
The Violet Cuckoo is a stunning bird with glossy violet feathers on its head and upper body. Its tail has a white tip and barred outer feathers, while the chin and upper breast are brightly iridescent.
The belly of the cuckoo is white with broad black, green or violet bars that contrast beautifully against its more vibrant plumage.
Adult males also have some reddish-brown patches around their throat area which adds to their alluring appearance.
These birds inhabit tropical forests throughout Southeast Asia where they feed mainly on insects, small lizards and fruits from trees such as figs, berries and mangos - making them quite popular amongst local wildlife.Scientific classification:
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3. Yellow-footed green pigeon
The Yellow-footed Green Pigeon is a common species of green pigeon found in the Indian subcontinent and parts of Southeast Asia. It has yellow feet and legs, with emerald green body plumage that stands out from its surroundings.
This vibrant bird is also the state bird of Maharashtra, where it's called "Haroli" or "Hariyal". Its diet consists mainly of fruit like Ficus racemosa, Terminalia arjuna, Syzygium cumini etc., which are important sources for wild animals.
With their impressive vocalizations and adaptability to different environments they have become popular among city dwellers as well.
The Yellow-footed Green Pigeon plays an important role in maintaining healthy ecosystems by providing food to other wildlife while dispersing seeds through defecation - helping propagate new plants across vast areas.Scientific classification:
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4. Rufous treepie
The Rufous Treepie is a member of the Corvidae family and native to the Indian Subcontinent, as well as parts of Southeast Asia. It has distinctive loud musical calls that make it easily recognizable.
This bird can be found in open scrub lands, agricultural areas, forests and even urban gardens due to its adaptability and omnivorous diet.
With its long tail feathers ranging from brown-black to greyish-brown on top with orange underneath; this species stands out among other birds.
They also have an interesting way of eating fruits: they peck at them while hovering midair. The Rufous Treepie is not only beautiful but also quite intelligent - their problem solving abilities are second only to those of primates.Scientific classification:
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5. Oriental magpie-robin
The Oriental magpie-robin is a beautiful passerine bird found across the Indian subcontinent and parts of Southeast Asia.
It can be easily identified by its black and white plumage, long tail that it holds upright while perched or foraging on the ground.
They are known to sing melodiously which makes them popular as cage birds in many countries.
These birds feed mainly on insects but also consume fruits, berries and nectar from flowers during certain times of the year.
Their population numbers have been declining due to destruction of their natural habitats like deforestation.
However, conservation efforts have seen some success in recent years with more areas being set aside for protection and preservation.Scientific classification:
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6. Coppersmith barbet
The Coppersmith barbet is an attractive Asian bird, easily recognizable by its bright crimson forehead and throat.
It has a call that sounds like a coppersmith striking metal with a hammer - hence its name.
These birds are found in the Indian subcontinent and parts of Southeast Asia where they build their nests inside trees, carving out holes for themselves.
They can often be seen perched high up on trees or wires during the day as they feed on fruit from nearby branches.
The vibrant colors of these birds make them stand out amongst other species in their habitat.Scientific classification:
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7. Fulvous-breasted woodpecker
The Fulvous-breasted Woodpecker is a bird of the Picidae family that can be found in Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, India and Myanmar. It has black upperparts with white bars running across it and red undertail feathers.
Its breast and belly are buff coloured with light flank barring while its sides have slight streaks of colouring too.
This medium-sized pied woodpecker is quite common to see when out exploring nature within these countries.
Many people may confuse this species for the Freckle-breasted Woodpecker as they were previously considered conspecifics.
If you're lucky enough to spot one of these beautiful birds then make sure you take a moment to admire their intricate markings before they fly away on their next adventure.Scientific classification:
8. Pale-billed flowerpecker
Pale-billed flowerpeckers are small birds with an average length of 8 cm. They have a pinkish curved beak that sets them apart from other similar species in the region.
These little birds can mainly be found throughout India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and western Myanmar; they're especially common in urban gardens where there's plenty of berry bearing trees for them to feed on.
Not only do they feast on nectar and berries but their loud chipping call is also quite noticeable when spotted around these areas. So next time you spot one out and about make sure to take notice of its unique features.Scientific classification:
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9. Red-whiskered bulbul
The Red-whiskered Bulbul is a passerine bird native to tropical Asia. It has an unmistakable black head, white cheek patch, and red whiskers on each side of its beak.
This brightly colored bulbul feeds mainly on fruits but also eats small insects from time to time.
The birds are known for their loud call which consists of three or four notes in succession and can often be heard emanating from treetops or other high perches where it likes to sit conspicuously.
Introductions have been made in many parts of the world outside its original range, with populations establishing themselves successfully in various locations including Hawaii and Florida within the United States.Scientific classification:
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10. Black-hooded oriole
The Black-hooded Oriole is a beautiful and unique bird found in tropical southern Asia. It has black feathers on its head, giving it the name "black hooded".
Its diet consists of insects, fruit, especially figs which can be found in the tree canopy where they spend most of their time. They build nests high up on trees to lay their eggs - usually two per nest.
The orioles are active during daybreak and nightfall when they search for food or mates. Their bright colors make them noticeable even from afar making them an interesting sight for any nature lover with a keen eye.Scientific classification:
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11. Black-naped monarch
The Black-naped Monarch is a beautiful and agile passerine bird native to Southern and South East Asia.
With its distinct black patch on the back of it's head, this small but strong species stands out among other birds in the area.
The male has vibrant blue plumage with an elegant narrow black half collar ("necklace") which makes him even more attractive.
Females are comparatively duller with olive brown wings and light yellowish underparts which helps them blend into their environment better for camouflage purposes.
These birds feed mainly on insects, spiders and fruits making them beneficial as they help reduce pests while also providing nutrients to local vegetation by dispersing seeds from fruit consumption.Scientific classification:
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12. Eyebrowed thrush
The Eyebrowed Thrush is a beautiful species of bird belonging to the Turdidae family. With its distinctive eyebrows, this thrush can be found in dense coniferous forests and taiga regions from Siberia eastwards towards Japan.
It undertakes long migrations during winter when it heads south to China and Southeast Asia as far down as India.
While not common, there have been rare sightings of these birds in western Europe too. This songbird builds nests high up on trees where they lay 4-6 eggs each time.
These shy birds are beautifully patterned with shades ranging from greyish browns to blackish blues all over their bodies making them stand out against the darker hues of nature's lush green backgrounds.Scientific classification:
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13. Black-headed cuckooshrike
The Black-headed cuckooshrike is a bird species found in the Indian Subcontinent and Southeast Asia.
Males and females have different appearances, with the male having a black head and white underparts and the female being brownish-gray with a white belly.
They inhabit trees in forests and gardens, and feed on insects and berries. These birds are known for their beautiful songs and can often be heard singing loudly in the morning.
They are also known to be aggressive towards other bird species, and will defend their territory fiercely.
Their conservation status is listed as Least Concern, although habitat loss and fragmentation may pose a threat to their population in the future.Scientific classification:
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14. Verditer flycatcher
The verditer flycatcher is a beautiful bird found in the Himalayas to Sumatra. Known for its unique shade of blue, it has a dark patch above its bill base and between its eyes.
Adult males have an intense blue color all over their body except for the black eye-patch and grey vent.
Females, on the other hand, have a slightly different appearance. Their body is a mixture of light blue and green colors, and they also have a dark patch above their bill base.
These birds feed on insects, and they are often found in dense forests, gardens, and fruit orchards. They are known for their beautiful songs, which can be heard throughout their habitat.
Overall, the verditer flycatcher is a beautiful and fascinating bird that adds color and music to the natural world.Scientific classification:
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15. Siberian rubythroat
The Siberian rubythroat is a small bird found in the Old World. It was first described in 1776 by Peter Simon Pallas. Formerly known as a thrush, it is now classified as an Old World flycatcher.
This bird is often referred to as a chat, and is known for its migratory habits and insectivorous diet.
Despite its small size, the Siberian rubythroat is a fierce hunter and can often be seen darting through the air in pursuit of its prey.
With its striking ruby-red throat and distinctive coloring, it is a beloved bird among birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts alike.Scientific classification:
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16. Taiga flycatcher
The Taiga flycatcher, also known as the red-throated flycatcher, is a migratory bird that belongs to the family Muscicapidae. It was first identified by Peter Simon Pallas in 1811.
The female has brown upper parts with a blackish tail bordered by white. Her breast is buffish, while her underparts are predominantly white.
The male, on the other hand, has ear coverts and sides of the neck that are gray tinged with blue.
Breeding males exhibit orange on their throats. The Taiga flycatcher is known for its magnificent plumage, which is a sight to behold.
It is a highly migratory bird that is highly sought after by bird enthusiasts for its stunning colors and unique appearance.Scientific classification:
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17. Thick-billed green pigeon
The thick-billed green pigeon is a member of the Columbidae family. It was first described in 1789 and given the scientific name Treron curvirostra. It has a thick bill and is green in color.
The bird is native to certain regions in Asia, such as India and Sri Lanka. Its diet primarily consists of fruits and seeds.
The thick-billed green pigeon plays an important role in seed dispersal within its habitat.
It is considered to be a species of least concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. However, habitat destruction and hunting pose a threat to the species in certain areas.
Overall, the thick-billed green pigeon is a unique and interesting bird found in parts of Asia.Scientific classification:
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