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Birds of India

The Indian subcontinent, is very rich in biodiversity. Out of the more than 9,000 birds of the world, the Indian subcontinent contains about 1,300 species, or over 13% of the world’s birds. One of the main reasons for high avian diversity in India is the presence of diverse habitats, from the arid cold desert of Ladakh and Sikkim to the steamy, tangled jungles of the Sunderbans to the wet, moist forests of the Western Ghats and Arunachal Pradesh.

White-rumped Vulture (Gyps bengalensis) was present in large numbers until the 1990s and declined rapidly in numbers since; up to 99.9% between 1992 and 2007. In 1985 the species was described as "possibly the most abundant large bird of prey in the world". This vulture builds its nest on tall trees often near human habitations in northern and central India. It feeds mostly on carcasses of dead animals which it finds by soaring high in thermals. It often moves in flocks.

The Indian Vulture (Gyps indicus) has a bald head, very broad wings and short tail feathers. The species breeds mainly on cliffs, but is known to use trees to nest in Rajasthan. Like other vultures it is a scavenger, feeding mostly from carcasses of dead animals which it finds by soaring over savannah and around human habitation. They often move in flocks. The specie has suffered a 99%–97% population decrease between 2000-2007 due to poisoning caused by the veterinary drug diclofenac.

The Slender-billed Vulture (Gyps tenuirostris) is found from the Gangetic plain north, west to HP, south potentially as far as northern Odisha, and east through Assam. This species has suffered a marked decline in its numbers in recent years. Captive-breeding programs in India are aiming to conserve the species, and it is hoped that vultures can be released back in the wild

Red-headed Vulture (Sarcogyps calvus), also known as the Asian King Vulture, Indian Black Vulture or Pondicherry Vulture was abundant, across the country. Today the range of the Red-headed Vulture is localized primarily to northern India. It is usually in open country and in cultivated and semi-desert areas. It is also found in deciduous forests and foothills and river valleys. It is usually found up to an altitude of 3000m from sea level.

Egyptian Vulture (Neophron percnopterus), also called the White Scavenger Vulture or Pharaoh's Chicken. feed mainly on carrion but are opportunistic and will prey on small mammals, birds, and reptiles. Egyptian Vultures also use twigs to roll up wool for use in their nest.Populations of this species have declined in the 20th century and some island populations are endangered by hunting, accidental poisoning, and collision with power lines.

Egyptian Vulture (neophron percnopterus ginginianus) feeds on large carcasses with other vulture species and scavenges for trash around human settlements. It attends kills, but is not able to feed until the larger, more dominant vulture species have finished. It hunts for food while soaring at a high altitude or perching on rocks. Larger eggs are broken with the use of stones, or they are picked up and thrown on the ground.

The Purple Cochoa (Cochoa purpurea) is a brightly coloured bird found in dark forested areas and is found in the canopy, where it often sits motionless. This bird appears dark in the shade of the forest and the colors become clear only when it is lit by the sun. The crown is silvery blue and a black mask runs over the eye. A grey carpal patch is present at the base of the black wing feathers and a wing patch is prominent. The tail is silvery blue with a black terminal band.

The Rufous-necked Hornbill (Aceros nipalensis) is a species of hornbill. Numbers have declined significantly due to habitat loss and hunting. It is estimated that there are now less than 10,000 adults remaining. With a length of about 117 centimeters (46 in), it is among the largest Bucerotine hornbills.

Green Cochoa (Cochoa viridis): This Himalayan thrush is moss green, the male has a blue crown, blue wings and tail with a broad black band on the tail. The female has a more greenish body with some rusty spots on the wing coverts. Usually seen in pairs or small groups sitting in tall trees, they usually feed close to the ground, on molluscs, insects and berries. They sometimes launch aerial sallies to capture insects. The song is a thin and clear feeeee that dies away.

The Great Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo) is a common and widespread bird species. It feeds on the sea, in estuaries and on freshwater lakes and rivers.The Great Cormorant can dive to considerable depths, but often feeds in shallow water. It frequently brings prey to the surface. It breeds mainly on coasts, nesting on cliffs or in trees (which are eventually killed by the droppings), but also increasingly inland.

The Ruddy Shelduck (Tadorna ferruginea) is mostly migratory, wintering in the Indian Subcontinent. This is a bird of open country, and it will breed on cliffs, in burrows, tree holes or crevices distant from water, laying 6-16 creamy-white eggs, incubated for 30 days. The Ruddy Shelduck is usually found in pairs or small groups and rarely forms large flocks. However, moulting and wintering gatherings on chosen lakes or slow rivers can be very large.

The Rufous-throated Partridge (Arborophila rufogularis) is found in subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests and subtropical or tropical moist montane forests.

The Hill Partridge (Arborophila torqueola) is found in subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests and subtropical or tropical moist montane forests. It has a hen-like contact call that is constantly uttered when it is feeding. It breeds between April and June, The food of this species comprises seeds and various invertebrates, which it collects by scratching in leaf litter. The birds are mostly seen in pairs or small coveys of up to 10 individuals that may be made up of family groups.

The Painted Bush Quail (Perdicula erythrorhyncha) is found in the hill forests of India. They move in small coveys on hillsides and are distinguished by their red bills and legs. They have a liquid alarm call and small groups will run in single file along paths before taking flight when flushed. They are pugnacious and trappers are known to use decoy males to capture others. The call of the breeding male is a kirkee..kirkee and other calls include soft whistles which rises and falls in pitch.

The Rock Bush Quail (Perdicula argoondah) is found in parts of peninsular India. They are very similar to and overlap in range with Perdicula asiatica. They are found in small coveys and are often detected only suddenly, when they burst out into flight en masse from under vegetation. It is 6.7–7.25 in (17–18.4 cm) in length and weighs 2.25–3 oz (64–85g).

The Jungle Bush Quail, or Perdicula asiatica feeds on seeds. particularly of grasses, although it also takes insects. Breeding takes place after the rains and lasts until the onset of colder weather, with the precise period varying across the range; five or six eggs are produced and incubation takes between 16 and 18 days. The species is not globally threatened as it has an extensive range and tends to avoid agricultural areas. The Jungle Bush-Quail is largely sedentary.

The King Quail, Coturnix chinensis also known as Asian Blue have a distinctly larger breast-bone than other birds with more muscle surrounding the area. This is why they are hunted for their meat. The male comes in many colors: blue, brown, silver, maroon, dark brown & almost black. They have orange feet which are hard and able to withstand a continuous life on the ground. The female cannot come in shades of blue. They can live up to 13 years in captivity but in the wild only 3-6 years.

The Rain Quail or Black-breasted Quail (Coturnix coromandelica) is found in the grassland, cropped fields, and scrubs across the Gangetic plains, and parts of peninsular continental India. The call is a metallic chrink-chrink, constantly repeated in the mornings and evenings, and in the breeding season also during the night.

The Common Quail (Coturnix coturnix) is a small, rotund bird, essentially streaked brown with a white eye stripe, and, in the male, a white chin. This is a terrestrial species, feeding on seeds and insects on the ground. It is notoriously difficult to see, keeping hidden in crops, and reluctant to fly, preferring to creep away instead.

The Japanese quail, Coturnix japonica, dwell in grasslands and cultivated fields. Japanese quail have been reared in India for their meat and eggs. The species is seen as a good "dual-purpose bird".

The Himalayan Quail (Ophrysia superciliosa) or Mountain Quail was last reported in 1876 and is feared extinct. This species was known from only 2 locations (and 12 specimens) in the western Himalayas in Uttarakhand, north-west India. The last verifiable record was in 1876 near the hill station of Mussoorie.

The Tibetan Partridge (Perdix hodgsoniae) is found in north western India. It is found on mountain slopes and high meadows with some Rhododendron bushes, dwarf Juniper or other scrubs for cover, typically between 3,600 - 4,250 m (11,800 – 14,000 ft).They forage on the ground in the sparsely vegetated high altitude regions, moving in pairs during the summer and in larger groups during the non-breeding season. Neither males nor females have spurs on their legs.

The Swamp Francolin (Francolinus gularis) is found mostly in the Ganges and Brahmaputra valleys, extending from Pilibhit to the extremity of Assam and Cachar, and even occurs occasionally on the Khasi plateau. The bird is easily distinguished from most of our partridges by its large size and comparatively long legs. Its habitat is different from our other species, affecting high grass and cane-brakes near the edges of rivers and jheels, though it will come into cultivated ground to feed.

The Grey Francolin (Francolinus pondicerianus) is a species of francolin found in the plains and drier parts of India. They are found in open cultivated lands as well as scrub forest and their local name of teetar is based on their calls, a loud and repeated Ka-tee-tar...tee-tar which is produced by one or more birds. The term teetar can also refer to other partridges and quails. The species has long been domesticated in areas of northern India and Pakistan where it is used for fighting

The Chinese Francolin (Francolinus pintadeanus) or Burmeese Francolin is a species of bird in the Phasianidae family. It is found in Cambodia, China, India, Laos, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical dry forests and subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests.