List of birds of Kerala

List of birds of Kerala

The Indian state of Kerala has about 463 bird species within its political boundary. This following list of birds is based on the taxonomic treatment of Clements's 5th edition but includes recent revisions.[1]

Table of contents

Non-passerines: Grebes . Shearwaters and petrels . Storm-petrels . Tropicbirds . Pelicans . Boobies and gannets . Cormorants . Darters . Frigatebirds . Bitterns, herons and egrets . Storks . Ibises and spoonbills . Flamingos . Ducks, geese and swans . Osprey . Hawks, kites and eagles . Falcons . Pheasants and partridges . Buttonquails . Rails, crakes, gallinules, and coots . Bustards . Jacanas . Painted snipe . Crab Plover . Oystercatchers . Avocets and stilts . Thick-knees . Pratincoles and coursers . Plovers and lapwings . Sandpipers and allies . Skuas . Gulls . Terns . Pigeons and doves . Parrots and allies . Cuckoos . Barn owls . Typical owls . Frogmouths . Nightjars . Swifts . Treeswifts . Trogons . Kingfishers . Bee-eaters . Typical rollers . Hoopoes . Hornbills . Barbets . Woodpeckers and allies .

Passerines: Pittas . Larks . Swallows and martins . Wagtails and pipits . Cuckoo-shrikes . Bulbuls . Leafbirds . Ioras . Thrushes and allies . Cisticolas and allies . Old World warblers . Old World flycatchers . Fantails . Monarch flycatchers . Babblers . Titmice . Nuthatches . Sunbirds and spiderhunters . Flowerpeckers . White-eyes . Old World orioles . Fairy-bluebirds . Shrikes . Woodshrikes . Drongos . Woodswallows . Crows, jays, ravens and magpies . Starlings . Weavers and allies . Buntings . Siskins, crossbills and allies . Sparrows .

See also       References

Grebes

Order: Podicipediformes. Family: Podicipedidae

Grebes are small to medium-large sized freshwater diving birds. They have lobed toes, and are excellent swimmers and divers. However, they have their feet placed far back on the body, making them quite ungainly on land. There are 20 species worldwide and 5 species which occur in India and 1 in Kerala

Shearwaters and petrels

Order: Procellariiformes. Family: Procellariidae

The procellariids are the main group of medium-sized 'true petrels', characterised by united nostrils with a medium septum, and a long outer functional primary. There are 75 species worldwide and 11 species which occur in India and 4 in Kerala.

Storm-petrels

Order: Procellariiformes. Family: Hydrobatidae

The storm-petrels are relatives of the petrels, and are the smallest of seabirds. They feed on planktonic crustaceans and small fish picked from the surface, typically while hovering. The flight is fluttering and sometimes bat-like. There are 21 species worldwide and 6 species which occur in India and two in Kerala.

Tropicbirds

Order: Pelecaniformes. Family: Phaethontidae

Tropicbirds are slender white birds of tropical oceans, with exceptionally long central tail feathers. Their heads and long wings have black markings. There are 3 species worldwide and 3 species which occur in India and 2 in Kerala.

Pelicans

Order: Pelecaniformes. Family: Pelecanidae

Pelicans are large water birds with a distinctive pouch under the beak. As with other members of the order Pelecaniformes, they have webbed feet with four toes. There are 8 species worldwide and 3 species which occur in India and 2 in Kerala.

Boobies and gannets

Order: Pelecaniformes. Family: Sulidae

The sulids comprise the gannets and boobies. Both groups comprise medium-to-large coastal seabirds that plunge-dive for fish. There are 9 species worldwide and 4 species which occur in India and 1 in Kerala.

Cormorants

Great Cormorant pictured in Vembanattu Lake

Order: Pelecaniformes. Family: Phalacrocoracidae

The Phalacrocoracidae is a family of medium-to-large coastal, fish-eating seabirds that includes cormorants and shags. Plumage colouration varies with the majority having mainly dark plumage, some species being black and white, and a few being colourful. There are 38 species worldwide and 3 species which occur in India and all 3 occur in Kerala.

Darters

Oriental Darters' nesting colony at Kalletumkara

Order: Pelecaniformes. Family: Anhingidae

Darters are frequently referred to as "snake-birds" because of their long thin neck, which gives a snake-like appearance when they swim with their bodies submerged. The males have black and dark brown plumage, an erectile crest on the nape and a larger bill than the female. The females have a much paler plumage especially on the neck and underparts. The darters have completely webbed feet, and their legs are short and set far back on the body. Their plumage is somewhat permeable, like that of cormorants, and they spread their wings to dry after diving. There are 4 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in India and also in Kerala.

Frigatebirds

Order: Pelecaniformes. Family: Fregatidae

Frigatebirds are large seabirds usually found over tropical oceans. They are large, black and white or completely black, with long wings and deeply-forked tails. The males have inflatable coloured throat pouches. They do not swim or walk, and cannot take off from a flat surface. Having the largest wingspan to body weight ratio of any bird, they are essentially aerial, able to stay aloft for more than a week. There are 5 species worldwide and 3 species which occur in India and 2 species in Kerala.

Bitterns, herons and egrets

Order: Ciconiiformes. Family: Ardeidae

The family Ardeidae contains the bitterns, herons and egrets. Herons and egrets are medium to large sized wading birds with long necks and legs. Bitterns tend to be shorter necked and more wary. Unlike other long-necked birds suck as storks, ibises and spoonbills, members of Ardeidae fly with their necks retracted. There are 61 species worldwide and 21 species which occur in India and 16 species occur in Kerala.

  • Grey Heron Ardea cinerea
  • Purple Heron Ardea purpurea
  • Eastern Great Egret Ardea modesta
  • Intermediate Egret Egretta intermedia
  • Western Reef-Heron Egretta gularis
  • Little Egret Egretta garzetta
  • Indian Pond-Heron Ardeola grayii
  • Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis coromandus (Treated as a full species Bubulcus coromandus by Rasmussen and Anderton, 2005 and sometimes called the Eastern Cattle Egret)
  • Striated Heron Butorides striata
  • Black-crowned Night-Heron Nycticorax nycticorax
  • Malayan Night-Heron Gorsachius melanolophus
  • Yellow Bittern Ixobrychus sinensis
  • Little Bittern Ixobrychus minutus
  • Cinnamon Bittern Ixobrychus cinnamomeus
  • Black Bittern Ixobrychus flavicollis
  • Great Bittern Botaurus stellaris

Storks

Order: Ciconiiformes. Family: Ciconiidae

Storks are large, long-legged, long-necked, wading birds with long, stout bills. Storks are mute; bill-clattering is an important mode of stork communication at the nest. Their nests can be large and may be reused for many years. Many species are migratory. There are 19 species worldwide and 9 species which occur in India and 6 species occur in Kerala.

Ibises and spoonbills

Order: Ciconiiformes. Family: Threskiornithidae

The Threskiornithidae is a family of large terrestrial and wading birds which includes the ibises and spoonbills. They have long, broad wings with 11 primary and about 20 secondary feathers. They are strong fliers and despite their size and weight, very capable soarers. There are 36 species worldwide and 4 species which occur in India and also in Kerala.

Flamingos

Order: Phoenicopteriformes. Family: Phoenicopteridae

Flamingos are gregarious wading birds, usually 3 to 5 feet high, found in both the Western and Eastern Hemispheres. They are more numerous in the latter. Flamingos filter-feed on shellfish and algae. Their oddly-shaped beaks are specially adapted to separate mud and silt from the food they consume, and are uniquely used upside-down. There are 6 species worldwide and 2 species which occur in India of which only 1 occur in Kerala.

Ducks, geese and swans

Order: Anseriformes. Family: Anatidae

The family Anatidae includes the ducks and most duck-like waterfowl, such as geese and swans. These are birds that are modified for an aquatic existence with webbed feet, flattened bills and feathers that are excellent at shedding water due to an oily coating. There are 131 species worldwide and 45 species which occur in India and 14 species occur in Kerala.

Osprey

Order: Falconiformes. Family: Pandionidae

The Pandionidae family contains only one species, the Osprey. The Osprey is a medium large raptor which is a specialist fish-eater with a worldwide distribution.

Hawks, kites and eagles

Order: Falconiformes. Family: Accipitridae

Accipitridae is a family of birds of prey and include hawks, eagles, kites, harriers and Old World vultures. These birds have powerful hooked beaks for tearing flesh from their prey, strong legs, powerful talons, and keen eyesight. There are 233 species worldwide and 57 species which occur in India and 38 species occur in Kerala.

Falcons

Order: Falconiformes. Family: Falconidae

Falconidae is a family of diurnal birds of prey. They differ from hawks, eagles, and kites in that they kill with their beaks instead of their feet. There are 62 species worldwide and 15 species which occur in India of which six occur in Kerala.

Pheasants and partridges

Order: Galliformes. Family: Phasianidae

The Phasianidae are a family of terrestrial birds which consists of quails, partridges, snowcocks, francolins, spurfowls, tragopans, monals, pheasants, peafowls and jungle fowls. In general, they are plump (although they may vary in size) and have broad, relatively short wings. There are 156 species worldwide and 46 species which occur in India of which 8 species occur in Kerala.

Buttonquails

Order: Gruiformes. Family: Turnicidae

The buttonquails are small, drab, running birds which resemble the true quails.The female is the brighter of the sexes, and initiates courtship. The male incubates the eggs and tends the young. There are 16 species worldwide and 3 species which occur in India of which 2 species occur in Kerala.

Rails, crakes, gallinules, and coots

Purple Swamphen in Vembanad lake

Order: Gruiformes. Family: Rallidae

Rallidae is a large family of small to medium-sized birds which includes the rails, crakes, coots, and gallinules. Typically they inhabit dense vegetation in damp environments near lakes, swamps, or rivers. In general they are shy and secretive birds, difficult to observe. Most species have strong legs, and have long toes which are well adapted to soft, uneven surfaces. They tend to have short, rounded wings and be weak fliers. There are 143 species worldwide and 17 species which occur in India and 9 occur in Kerala.

Bustards

Order: Gruiformes. Family: Otididae

Bustards are large terrestrial birds mainly associated with dry open country and steppes in the Old World. They are omnivorous and nest on the ground. They walk steadily on strong legs and big toes, pecking for food as they go. They have long broad wings with "fingered" wingtips, and striking patterns in flight. Many have interesting mating displays. There are 26 species worldwide and 7 species which occur in India and 2 in Kerala.

Jacanas

Order: Charadriiformes. Family: Jacanidae

The jacanas are a group of tropical waders in the family Jacanidae. They are found worldwide in the Tropics. They are identifiable by their huge feet and claws which enable them to walk on floating vegetation in the shallow lakes that are their preferred habitat. There 8 species worldwide and 2 species which occur in India and also in Kerala.

Painted snipe

Order: Charadriiformes. Family: Rostratulidae

Painted snipe are short-legged, long-billed birds similar in shape to the true snipes, but more brightly coloured. There are 2 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in India and Kerala.

  • Greater Painted-snipe Rostratula benghalensis

Crab Plover

Order: Charadriiformes. Family: Dromadidae

The Crab Plover is related to the waders. It resembles a plover but with very long grey legs and a strong heavy black bill similar to a tern. It has black and white plumage, a long neck, partially webbed feet and a bill designed for eating crabs.

Oystercatchers

Order: Charadriiformes. Family: Haematopodidae

The oystercatchers are large and noisy plover-like birds, with strong bills used for smashing or prising open molluscs. There are 11 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in India and Kerala.

Avocets and stilts

Order: Charadriiformes. Family: Recurvirostridae

Recurvirostridae is a family of large wading birds, which includes the avocets and the stilts. The avocets have long legs and long up-curved bills. The stilts have extremely long legs and long, thin, straight bills. There are 9 species worldwide and 2 species which occur in India and Kerala.

Thick-knees

Order: Charadriiformes. Family: Burhinidae

The thick-knees are a group of largely tropical waders in the family Burhinidae. They are found worldwide within the tropical zone, with some species also breeding in temperate Europe and Australia. They are medium to large waders with strong black or yellow black bills, large yellow eyes and cryptic plumage. Despite being classed as waders, most species have a preference for arid or semi-arid habitats. There are 9 species worldwide and 3 species which occur in India and two species in Kerala.

Pratincoles and coursers

Order: Charadriiformes. Family: Glareolidae

Glareolidae is a family of wading birds comprising the pratincoles, which have short legs, long pointed wings and long forked tails, and the coursers, which have long legs, short wings and long pointed bills which curve downwards. There are 17 species worldwide and 6 species which occur in India and two species occur in Kerala.

Plovers and lapwings

Order: Charadriiformes. Family: Charadriidae

The family Charadriidae includes the plovers, dotterels, and lapwings. They are small to medium-sized birds with compact bodies, short, thick necks and long, usually pointed, wings. They are found in open country worldwide, mostly in habitats near water, although there are some exceptions. There are 66 species worldwide and 20 species which occur in India and 11 in Kerala.

Sandpipers and allies

Order: Charadriiformes. Family: Scolopacidae

The Scolopacidae are a large diverse family of small to medium sized shorebirds including the sandpipers, curlews, godwits, shanks, tattlers, woodcocks, snipes, dowitchers and phalaropes. The majority of species eat small invertebrates picked out of the mud or soil. Variation in length of legs and bills enable different species to feed in the same habitat, particularly on the coast, without direct competition for food. There are 89 species worldwide and 43 species which occur in India and 26 species occur in Kerala.

Skuas

Order: Charadriiformes. Family: Stercorariidae

The family Stercorariidae are, in general, medium to large birds, typically with grey or brown plumage, often with white markings on the wings. They nest on the ground in temperate and arctic regions and are long-distance migrants. There are 7 species worldwide and 4 species which occur in India and 3 in Kerala.

Gulls

Order: Charadriiformes. Family: Laridae

Laridae is a family of medium to large birds seabirds and includes gulls and kittiwakes. They are typically grey or white, often with black markings on the head or wings. They have stout, longish bills and webbed feet. There are 55 species worldwide and around 11 species which occur in India and 5 species occur in Kerala.

Terns

Whiskered Tern in Thommana, Chalakudy

Order: Charadriiformes. Family: Sternidae

Terns are a group of generally general medium to large seabirds typically with grey or white plumage, often with black markings on the head. Most terns hunt fish by diving but some pick insects off the surface of fresh water. Terns are generally long-lived birds, with several species now known to live in excess of 25 to 30 years. There are 44 species worldwide and 23 species which occur in India and 16 in Kerala.

Pigeons and doves

Order: Columbiformes. Family: Columbidae

Pigeons and doves are stout-bodied birds with short necks and short slender bills with a fleshy cere. There are 308 species worldwide and 28 species which occur in India and 12 in Kerala.

Parrots and allies

Malabar Parakeet (Blue-winged Parakeet) pictured in Thattekad

Order: Psittaciformes. Family: Psittacidae

Parrots are small to large birds with a characteristic curved beak shape. Their upper mandibles have slight mobility in the joint with the skull and the have a generally erect stance. All parrots are zygodactyl, having the four toes on each foot placed two at the front and two back. There are 335 species worldwide and 11 species which occur in India with 5 in Kerala excluding the escapee record of Red-breasted Parakeet Psittacula alexandri

Cuckoos

Asian Koel pictured in Chalakudy

Order: Cuculiformes. Family: Cuculidae

Indian Cuckoo pictured in Kannur

The family Cuculidae includes cuckoos, roadrunners and anis. These birds are of variable size with slender bodies, long tails and strong legs. Many are brood parasites. There are 138 species worldwide and 21 species which occur in India and 16 species in Kerala.

Barn owls

Order: Strigiformes. Family: Tytonidae

Barn owls are medium to large sized owls with large heads and characteristic heart-shaped faces. They have long strong legs with powerful talons. There are 16 species worldwide and 3 species which occur in India and in Kerala.

  • Australasian Grass-Owl Tyto longimembris (Also known as Eastern Grass Owl)
  • Barn Owl Tyto alba
  • Ceylon Bay Owl Phodilus assimilis (Western Ghats race ripleyi and Sri Lankan race assimilis included here by Rasmussen and Anderton, 2005 split from the widely disjunct Oriental Bay-Owl)

Typical owls

Jungle Owlet pictured in Kerala
Brown Fish-owl pictured in Thattekad

Order: Strigiformes. Family: Strigidae

Typical owls are small to large solitary nocturnal birds of prey. They have large forward-facing eyes and ears, a hawk-like beak, and a conspicuous circle of feathers around each eye called a facial disk. There are 195 species worldwide and 33 species which occur in India and 11 in Kerala.

Frogmouths

Sri Lankan Frogmouths in Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary, Thattekad

Order: Caprimulgiformes. Family: Podargidae

The frogmouths are a group of nocturnal birds related to the nightjars. They are named for their large flattened hooked bills and huge frog-like gape, which they use to take insects. There are 12 species worldwide and 2 species which occur in India and 1 in Kerala.

  • Ceylon Frogmouth Batrachostomus moniliger

Nightjars

Order: Caprimulgiformes. Family: Caprimulgidae

Nightjars are medium-sized nocturnal birds with long wings, short legs and very short bills that usually nest on the ground. Most have small feet, of little use for walking, and long pointed wings. Their soft plumage is camouflaged to resemble bark or leaves. There are 86 species worldwide and 9 species which occur in India and 5 in Kerala.

Swifts

Order: Apodiformes. Family: Apodidae

Swifts are small aerial birds, spending the majority of their lives flying. These birds have very short legs and never settle voluntarily on the ground, perching instead only on vertical surfaces. Many swifts have long swept-back wings that resemble a crescent or a boomerang. There are 98 species worldwide and 17 species which occur in India and 7 species in Kerala.

Treeswifts

Order: Apodiformes. Family: Hemiprocnidae

The treeswifts or crested swifts are aerial near passerine birds, closely related to the true swifts. They differ from the other swifts in that they have crests, long forked tails and softer plumage. There are 4 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in India and in Kerala.

Trogons

Order: Trogoniformes. Family: Trogonidae

The family Trogonidae includes trogons and quetzals. Found in tropical woodlands worldwide, they feed on insects and fruit, and their broad bills and weak legs reflect their diet and arboreal habits. Although their flight is fast, they are reluctant to fly any distance. Trogons have soft, often colourful, feathers with distinctive male and female plumage. There are 33 species worldwide and 3 species which occur in India and only 1 in Kerala.

Kingfishers

Order: Coraciiformes. Family: Alcedinidae

Kingfishers are medium-sized birds with large heads, long pointed bills, short legs, and stubby tails. There are 93 species worldwide and 13 species which occur in India and 7 in Kerala.

Bee-eaters

Order: Coraciiformes. Family: Meropidae

The bee-eaters are a group of near passerine birds in the family Meropidae. Most species are found in Africa but others occur in southern Europe, Madagascar, Australia and New Guinea. They are characterised by richly coloured plumage, slender bodies and usually elongated central tail feathers. All are colorful and have long downturned bills and pointed wings, which give them a swallow-like appearance when seen from afar. There are 26 species worldwide and 6 species which occur in India and 4 in Kerala.

Typical rollers

Order: Coraciiformes. Family: Coraciidae

Rollers resemble crows in size and build, but are more closely related to the kingfishers and bee-eaters. They share the colourful appearance of those groups with blues and browns predominating. The two inner front toes are connected, but the outer toe is not. There are 12 species worldwide and 3 species which occur in India and also Kerala.

Hoopoes

Order: Coraciiformes. Family: Upupidae

Hoopoes have black, white and orangey-pink colouring with a large erectile crest on their head. There are 2 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in India and in Kerala.

Hornbills

Malabar Grey Hornbill pictured in Thattekad

Order: Coraciiformes. Family: Bucerotidae

Hornbills are a group of birds whose bill is shaped like a cow's horn, but without a twist, sometimes with a casque on the upper mandible. Frequently, the bill is brightly coloured. There are 57 species worldwide and 10 species which occur in India and 4 in Kerala.

Barbets

Order: Piciformes. Family: Capitonidae

The barbets are plump birds, with short necks and large heads. They get their name from the bristles which fringe their heavy bills. Most species are brightly coloured. There are 84 species worldwide and 9 species which occur in India and 4 in Kerala.

Woodpeckers and allies

Black-rumped Flameback pictured in Chalakudy

Order: Piciformes. Family: Picidae

Woodpeckers are small to medium sized birds with chisel like beaks, short legs, stiff tails and long tongues used for capturing insects. Some species have feet with two toes pointing forward, and two backward, while several species have only three toes. Many woodpeckers have the habit of tapping noisily on tree trunks with their beaks. There are 218 species worldwide and 33 species which occur in India and 13 in Kerala.

Pittas

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Pittidae

Pittas are medium-sized by passerine standards, and stocky, with fairly long, strong legs, short tails and stout bills. Many, but not all, are brightly coloured. They are spend the majority of their time on wet forest floors, eating snails, insects and similar invertebrate prey which they find there. There are 32 species worldwide and 5 species which occur in India and 1 species in India.

Larks

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Alaudidae

Larks are small terrestrial birds with often extravagant songs and display flights. Most larks are fairly dull in appearance. Their food is insects and seeds. There are 91 species worldwide and 22 species which occur in India and 6 species occur in Kerala.

Swallows and martins

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Hirundinidae

The Hirundinidae family is a group of passerines characterized by their adaptation to aerial feeding. Their adaptations include a slender streamlined body, long pointed wings and short bills with wide gape. The feet are designed for perching rather than walking, and the front toes are partially joined at the base. There are 75 species worldwide and 15 species which occur in India and 9 species in Kerala.

Wagtails and pipits

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Motacillidae

The Motacillidae are a family of small passerine birds with medium to long tails. They include the wagtails, longclaws and pipits. They are slender, ground feeding insectivores of open country. There are 54 species worldwide and 20 species which occur in India and 14 in Kerala.

Cuckoo-shrikes

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Campephagidae

The cuckoo-shrikes are small to medium-sized passerine birds. They are predominantly greyish with white and black, although some species are brightly coloured. There are 82 species worldwide and 15 species which occur in India and 6 in Kerala.

Woodshrikes

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Prionopidae

The woodshrikes are similar in build to the shrikes. There are 12 species worldwide and 2 species which occur in India and Kerala.

  • Malabar Woodshrike Tephrodornis sylvicola (Western Ghats race of Large Woodshrike split by Rasmussen and Anderton, 2005)
  • Common Woodshrike Tephrodornis pondicerianus

Monarch flycatchers

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Monarchidae

The monarch flycatchers are small to medium-sized insectivorous passerines, which hunt by flycatching. There are 99 species worldwide and 2 species which occur in India and Kerala.

Fantails

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Rhipiduridae

The Fantails are small insectivorous birds which are specialist aerial feeders. There are 44 species worldwide and 4 species which occur in India and only 1 in Kerala.

Bulbuls

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Pycnonotidae

Bulbuls are medium-sized songbirds. Some are colourful with yellow, red or orange vents, cheeks, throat or supercilia, but most are drab, with uniform olive brown to black plumage. Some species have distinct crests.There are 130 species worldwide and 19 species which occur in India and 8 in Kerala.

Ioras

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Aegithinidae

The ioras are bulbul-like birds of open forest or thorn scrub, but whereas that group tends to be drab in coloration, ioras are sexually dimorphic, with the males being brightly plumaged in yellows and greens. There are 4 species worldwide and 2 species which occur in India and 1 in Kerala.

Leafbirds

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Chloropseidae

The Leafbirds are small, bulbul-like birds. The males are brightly plumaged, usually in greens and yellows. There are 9 species worldwide and 4 species which occur in India and 2 in Kerala.

Shrikes

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Laniidae Shrikes are passerine birds known for their habit of catching other birds and small animals and impaling the uneaten portions of their bodies on thorns. A typical shrike's beak is hooked, like a bird of prey. There are 31 species worldwide and 9 species which occur in India and 3 in Kerala.

Thrushes and allies

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Turdidae

The thrushes are a group of passerine birds that occur mainly in the Old World. They are plump, soft plumaged, small to medium-sized insectivores or sometimes omnivores, often feeding on the ground. Many have attractive songs. There are 335 species worldwide and 34 species which occur in India and 9 in Kerala.

  • Blue-capped Rock-Thrush Monticola cinclorhynchus
  • Blue Rock-Thrush Monticola solitarius
  • Pied Thrush Zoothera wardii
  • Orange-headed Thrush Zoothera citrina (Including White-throated Ground-Thrush Zoothera citrina cyanotus)
  • Nilgiri Thrush Zoothera neilgherriensis (Elevated to species from Scaly Thrush by Rasmussen and Anderton, 2005)
  • Indian Blackbird Turdus simillimus (Elevated to species by Rasmussen and Anderton, 2005. Includes Black-capped Blackbird T. s. nigropileus, Nilgiri Blackbird T. s. simillimus & Bourdillon's Blackbird T.s.bourdilloni)
  • Rufous-bellied Shortwing Brachypteryx major (Split from White-bellied Shortwing by Robin et al. 2010.[16] Also known as Nilgiri Blue Robin by Rasmussen and Anderton, 2005)
  • White-bellied Shortwing Brachypteryx albiventris (Also known as White-bellied Blue Robin by Rasmussen and Anderton, 2005)
  • Malabar Whistling Thrush Myophonus horsfieldii

Old World flycatchers

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Muscicapidae

Old World flycatchers are a large group of small passerine birds native to the Old World. They are mainly small arboreal insectivores. The appearance of these birds is very varied, but they mostly have weak songs and harsh calls. There 274 species worldwide and 89 species which occur in India and 23 in Kerala.

Babblers

Kerala Laughingthrush in Munnar

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Timaliidae

The babblers or timaliids are somewhat diverse in size and coloration, but are characterised by soft fluffy plumage. There are 270 species worldwide and 117 species which occur in India. India has the largest number of babblers of any country and this represents the largest bird family grouping in any country outside of South America. In Kerala, there are only 12 species from this group.

Cisticolas and allies

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Cisticolidae

The Cisticolidae are warblers found mainly in warmer southern regions of the Old World. They are generally very small birds of drab brown or grey appearance found in open country such as grassland or scrub. There are 111 species worldwide and 16 species which occur in India and 6 in Kerala.

Old World warblers

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Sylviidae

The family Sylviidae is a group of small insectivorous passerine birds. The Sylviidae mainly occur as breeding species, as the common name implies, in Europe, Asia and, to a lesser extent Africa. Most are of generally undistinguished appearance, but many have distinctive songs. There are 291 species worldwide and 88 species which occur in India and 16 in Kerala.

Titmice

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Paridae

The Paridae are mainly small stocky woodland species with short stout bills. Some have crests. They are adaptable birds, with a mixed diet including seeds and insects. There are species 59 worldwide and 14 species which occur in India and Kerala 2 species.

Nuthatches

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Sittidae

Nuthatches are small woodland birds. They have the unusual ability to climb down trees head first, unlike other birds which can only go upwards. Nuthatches have big heads, short tails and powerful bills and feet. There are 24 species worldwide and 7 species which occur in India and 2 in Kerala.

Sunbirds and spiderhunters

Little Spiderhunter in Thattekad

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Nectariniidae

The sunbirds and spiderhunters are very small passerine birds which feed largely on nectar, although they will also take insects, especially when feeding young. Flight is fast and direct on their short wings. Most species can take nectar by hovering like a hummingbird, but usually perch to feed. There are 131 species worldwide and 15 species which occur in India and 5 in Kerala.

Flowerpeckers

Nilgiri Flowerpecker in Thattekad

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Dicaeidae

The flowerpeckers are very small, stout, often brightly coloured birds, with short tails, short thick curved bills and tubular tongues. There are 44 species worldwide and 10 species which occur in India and 3 in Kerala.

White-eyes

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Zosteropidae

The white-eyes are small and are mostly of undistinguished appearance, the plumage above being generally either some dull color like greenish olive, but some species have a white or bright yellow throat, breast or lower parts, and several have buff flanks. As their name suggests many species have a white ring around the eyes. There are 96 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in India and in Kerala.

Old World orioles

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Oriolidae

The Old World Orioles are colourful passerine birds. They are not related to the New World orioles. There are 29 species worldwide and 5 species which occur in India and 3 in Kerala.

Fairy-bluebirds

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Irenidae

The Fairy-bluebirds are bulbul-like birds of open forest or thorn scrub. The males are dark-blue and the females a duller green. There are 2 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in India and in Kerala.

  • Asian Fairy-bluebird Irena puella

Drongos

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Dicruridae

The drongos are mostly are black or dark grey in colour, sometimes with metallic tints. They have long forked tails, and some Asian species have elaborate tail decorations. They have short legs and sit very upright whilst perched, like a shrike. They flycatch or take prey from the ground. There are 24 species worldwide and 9 species which occur in India and 6 in Kerala.

Woodswallows

Ashy Woodswallow in Thattekad

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Artamidae

The woodswallows are soft-plumaged, somber-coloured passerine birds. They are smooth, agile flyers with moderately large, semi-triangular wings. There are 11 species worldwide and 2 species which occur in India and 1 in Kerala.

Crows, jays, ravens and magpies

Rufous Treepie pictured in Calicut

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Corvidae

The Corvidae family includes crows, ravens, jays, choughs, magpies, treepies, nutcrackers, and ground jays. Corvids are above average in size for the bird order Passeriformes. Some of the larger species show high levels of learning behaviour. There are 120 species worldwide and 22 species which occur in India and 4 in Kerala.

Starlings

Jungle Myna pictured in Kottayam

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Sturnidae

Starlings are small to medium-sized passerine birds. Their flight is strong and direct, and they are very gregarious. Their preferred habitat is fairly open country. They eat insects and fruit. Plumage is typically dark with a metallic sheen. There are 125 species worldwide and 18 species which occur in India and 6 in Kerala.

Weavers and allies

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Ploceidae

The weavers are small passerine birds related to the finches. They are seed-eating birds with rounded conical bills. The males of many species are brightly coloured, usually in red or yellow and black, some species show variation in colour only in the breeding season. There are 116 species worldwide and 4 species which occur in India and 2 in Kerala.

Waxbills and allies

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Estrildidae

The estrildid finches are small passerine birds of the Old World tropics and Australasia. They are gregarious and often colonial seed-eaters with short thick but pointed bills. They are all similar in structure and habits, but have a wide variation in plumage colours and pattern. There are 141 species worldwide and 9 species which occur in India and 6 in Kerala.

Buntings

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Emberizidae

The emberizids are a large family of passerine birds. They are seed-eating birds with a distinctively shaped bill. In Europe, most species are named as buntings. In North America, most of the species in this family are known as Sparrows, but these birds are not closely related to the Old World sparrows which are in the family Passeridae. Many emberizid species have distinctive head patterns. There are species 275 worldwide and 18 species which occur in India and 3 in Kerala.

Siskins, crossbills and allies

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Fringillidae

Finches are seed-eating passerine birds, that are small to moderately large and have a strong beak, usually conical and in some species very large. All have 12 tail feathers and 9 primaries. These birds have a bouncing flight with alternating bouts of flapping and gliding on closed wings, and most sing well. There are 137 species worldwide and 44 species which occur in India and just 1 in Kerala.

Sparrows

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Passeridae

Sparrows are small passerine birds. In general, sparrows tend to be small, plump, brown or grey birds with short tails and short powerful beaks. Sparrows are seed-eaters, and they also consume small insects. There are 35 species worldwide and 12 species which occur in India and 2 in Kerala.

Notes

  1. ^ Sashikumar, C.; Praveen, J.;Palot, M.J.;Nameer,P.O.; (2010) "A Checklist of Birds of Kerala" Malabar Trogon Vol 7(3):2-13.
  2. ^ Praveen J; Karuthedathu, D; Palot,M J; Prince,M; Meppayur,S (2011). "Significant pelagic bird sightings from off-shore waters of the Malabar coast, southern India". IndianBIRDS 7 (3): 66-69. 
  3. ^ Praveen J; Karuthedathu, D; Palot,M J; Prince,M; Meppayur,S (2011). "Significant pelagic bird sightings from off-shore waters of the Malabar coast, southern India". IndianBIRDS 7 (3): 66-69. 
  4. ^ Praveen J; Karuthedathu, D; Palot,M J; Prince,M; Meppayur,S (2011). "Significant pelagic bird sightings from off-shore waters of the Malabar coast, southern India". IndianBIRDS 7 (3): 66-69. 
  5. ^ Vivek Chandran, A; Praveen, J; Sreenivasan, P P; Nameer, P O; Dilip,K G (2011). "Swinhoe’s Storm-petrel Oceanodroma monorhis and other pelagic birds from the Thrissur coast, Kerala". IndianBIRDS 7 (3): 73-74. 
  6. ^ Vivek Chandran, A; Praveen, J; Sreenivasan, P P; Nameer, P O; Dilip,K G (2011). "Swinhoe’s Storm-petrel Oceanodroma monorhis and other pelagic birds from the Thrissur coast, Kerala". IndianBIRDS 7 (3): 73-74. 
  7. ^ Jacob,Tytus T; Pramod,P; Gangadharan,K; Mahesh,M (1994). "First record of the Rosy Pelican Pelecanus onocrotalus Linnaeus in Kerala". J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 91 (3): 452. 
  8. ^ Nair, Manoj V. (1993). "Rosy Pelican at Aakkulam". Newsletter for Birdwatchers 33 (1): 7–8. http://www.archive.org/stream/NLBW33_1#page/n9/mode/1up. 
  9. ^ Praveen, ES; Sankar, Abhiram (2011). "Recent sightings of Red-headed Falcon Falco chiquera from Kerala Kerala". Malabar Trogon 8 (2&3): 11–12. 
  10. ^ Rajeevan, P.C. (2011). "Great Stone-plover Esacus recurvirostris (Cuvier, 1829) at Madayipara, Kannur district, Kerala". Malabar Trogon 9 (1&2): 22. 
  11. ^ http://www.indianaturewatch.net/displayimage.php?id=275000
  12. ^ Prince,M (2011). "Some Observations from Lakshadweep and the Laccadive Sea off Kerala". IndianBIRDS 7 (3): 63-65. 
  13. ^ Praveen J; Karuthedathu, D; Palot,M J; Prince,M; Meppayur,S (2011). "Significant pelagic bird sightings from off-shore waters of the Malabar coast, southern India". IndianBIRDS 7 (3): 66-69. 
  14. ^ Praveen, J. (2011). "A Review of Pelagic Bird Records in Sea Swalllow from the off-shore waters of Kerala". Malabar Trogon 9 (1&2): 7-10. 
  15. ^ http://www.indianaturewatch.net/displayimage.php?id=207809
  16. ^ Robin,V.V.; Sinha,A.;Ramakrishnan,U. "Ancient Geographical Gaps and Paleo-Climate Shape the Phylogeography of an Endemic Bird in the Sky Islands of Southern India" http://www.plosone.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pone.0013321
  17. ^ Silke Fregin, Martin Haase,Urban Olsson,Per Alström (2009). "Multi-locus phylogeny of the family Acrocephalidae (Aves: Passeriformes) – The traditional taxonomy overthrown". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 52 (3): 866–878. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2009.04.006. PMID 19393746. 
  18. ^ Packert, Martin; Jochen Martens, Siegfried Eck, Alexander A Nazarenko, Olga P. Valchuk, Bernd Petri, Michael Veith (2005) The great tit (Parus major) – a misclassified ring species. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 86(2):153-174
  19. ^ Jønsson, K.A., Bowie, R.C.K., Moyle, R.G., Irestedt, M., Christidis, L., Norman, J.A. & Fjeldså, J. (2010). "Phylogeny and biogeography of Oriolidae (Aves: Passeriformes)". Ecography 33: 232–241. doi:10.1111/j.1600-0587.2010.06167.x. http://www.nrm.se/download/18.25ba04a21296cc434f980005871/J%C3%B6nsson+et+al+Oriolidae.pdf. 
  20. ^ a b Lovette, I., McCleery, B., Talaba, A., & Rubenstein, D. (2008). "A complete species-level molecular phylogeny for the “Eurasian” starlings (Sturnidae: Sturnus, Acridotheres, and allies): Recent diversification in a highly social and dispersive avian group.". Molecular Phylogenetics & Evolution 47 (1): 251-260. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2008.01.020.

References


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