Sunshine Coast Birds

Birding and other wildlife experiences from the Sunshine Coast and elsewhere in Australia - and from overseas - with scribblings about travel, environmental issues, kayaking, hiking and camping.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Hypocolius in the Bag - India Part 1

Hypocolius - male
The Hypocoloius (or Grey Hypocolius) was one of just two bird families in the world that I had not seen, so off it was to the north-west Indian state of Gujarat with Tony Palliser and Bill Watson in search of the Holy Grail.

Jugal, Tony, Bill

After hooking up with Jugal Tiwari of the Centre for the Desert and Ocean, we found ourselves at sunrise on a crisp morning last week waiting in anticipation for the birds to appear near the village of Fulay in an area of arid scrubland.

Hypocolius female
After searching for about 40 minutes, a female Hypocolius showed up. A tiny population appears each winter at this site, where the birds feed on the tiny berries of the tree Salvadoria persica. Numbers have in recent years been in decline.

Hypocolius female
We eventually found a minimum of six birds, with both sexes showing well. They would flit about the tree-tops in search of berries but would frequently be out of sight.

Hypocolius male
Mission accomplished, and a fine bird it is. Which means that of the 240-odd bird families in the world, I have just one left to see.