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3 Unusual Bird Sightings in Karnataka

1. Tickell's Thrush Turdus unicolor by Arun S.K in January 2013 at Ganeshgudi

Tickell's thrush is a rare bird in Karnataka, known by less than half-a-dozen sightings with Bangalore and Lakkavalli figuring among the sites where it has been seen before. While the female sports a drab attire, the pale slaty-blue male is enchantingly beautiful bird to watch, as it rummages leaf-litter under the cover of undergrowth, looking for its prey: freezing in its stance intermittently to scan its surroundings for any imminent danger, amidst bouts of tossing leaf litter around - like all thrushes that forage on the ground.

 

Tickell's Thrush

2. Black Bittern Dupetor flavicollis by Vijaykumar JLR staff in May 2013 at Bhadra Backwaters

This cryptic resident bittern is one of the `hard to see' birds of Karnataka, owing to its solitary, secretive and largely nocturnal habits, which makes it to be one of our uncommon birds. It has however been sighted sporadically in different parts of the state. This dark coloured bittern with cream or rufous striped neck is charmingly a delightful to watch as it skulks along the margins of reed bed, low bushes or trees in the shallows of wetlands. Slightly larger than a Pond Heron, sighting this rare, beautiful bird would certainly be a bright spot on anyone's day.

Black Bittern

3. Western Reef Egret Egretta gularis by Sachin Patil in June 2013 at Kabini backwater

Solitary individuals of Western Reef Egrets are seen regularly during winter, although it is never very common in Karnataka. This slaty-grey bird with a white gular patch is unmistakable and the species looks quite handsome in this plumage. Quite possibly, this particular individual with a distinct whitish head, unlike any other of its tribe, appears to be quite parochial to Kabini-backwaters over the past several years  as can be seen from the many images posted in various forums.

Western Reef Egret

Dr S Subramanya

Dr. S.Subramanya, is a scientist and senior faculty at the University of Agriculture Sciences, Bangalore and an ornithologist. Besides studying various facets of birds, he specializes in studying heronries, wetlands, waterbirds and threatened birds.



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