Despite the massive cutting down of trees in recent years (for new buildings), the IIT Kanpur campus still boasts a far higher density of trees than any place for miles around. Consequently it is rich in bird life.

These birds were photographed from my front lawn on the two mornings of Sat-Sun, 2012 nov 24-25. I am pretty sure they can be sighted on every garden in IIT; only the woodpecker is a little infrequent. At this time of the year, all the rest can be sighted pretty much every morning!

Species list:

Click any picture to see larger image.

coppersmith barbet (also known as crimson-breasted barbet). I suspect he lives in the vicinity throughout the year, but his trademark monotone tik-tik-tik (copper beating) tune is more commonly heard in the spring.

Lesser flameback woodpecker (dinopium benghalense)

lesser flameback woodpecker (also called black-rumped flameback. seems to be visiting this tree around this time of the year. seeing it after quite a long gap.

(more info at [home#Goldenbacked])

black redstart (phoenicurus ochruros)

black redstart

(more info at
[less common birds page])

A single black redstart arrives every winter, without fail. It hops around the lawn, listening for insects and picking up morsels from here and there. I used to think it is the same individual, but this year's chappie looks a bit different. You can see it from earlier years at the [Less Common Birds] page.

red-breasted flycatcher - (Ficedula parva)

red-breasted flycatcher. tiny but spirited.

the red-breasted flycatcher is not too common a sighting in India, but it is a regular annual visitor to our lawns. flits around low, typically seen on the hedges around the garden.

(more info at [less common birds page])

coppersmith barbet

coppersmith barbet

Both mornings I could hear a sound like someone knocking a nail into a tree. On and on. Hoping to see the flameback woodpecker at its trade, I circled around the krishNachuRA tree but no sign of the woodpecker. Yet the sound went on. Finally, while sitting down on the verandah, i noticed a small movement in sync with the sound. Finally I saw this coppersmith, banging away at the tree. Barbets nest in holes in tree trunks, and the nest is usually made by the female. The forehead crown of this individual looked black (the male crown is more red); while i can't be sure, i think it was probably the female, preparing the nest for the spring. This is the first time I saw a barbet excavating a nest. I look forward to tracking the nest in the coming months.

barbet. click on picture at left to see him hacking away at the tree (partly obscured by leaves).

(more info at [home#Barbet])

rose-ringed parakeet

The parakeets are great fun to watch. They are remarkably nimble - they'll often hold the branch with their beaks while re-positioning their legs, or they will cling on with one paw while lifting a tidbit to their beak with the other. They are pretty smart... but then, see this tale of the
foolish tota, right here from this garden.

MIFFED: never talk to you again. ... Rose-ringed Parakeets

Ok. Friends!

(more info at [home#Parakeet])

magpie robin (copsychus saularis)

magpie robin female; closeup of head; the male arrived later.

(more info at

Bulbul, drongo, tailorbird

red-whiskered bulbul (pycnonotus jocosus); black drongo (dicrurus adsimilis); tailorbird (orthotomus sutorius). these are common visitors throughout the year.

(more info at [homepage])

purple sunbird (cinnyris asiaticus)

The purple sunbird is seen throughout the year on any tree that is flowering. Nowadays they pay attention to the kachnar with its clumps of light pink flowers, and the krisNachuRA with its yellow blossoms.

sunbird hovering at a flower

purple sunbird male in eclipse plumage; the same bird will be glistening black in the summer.

Purple sunbird (female) hidden in kachnar flowers - you know they are there from the fluttering flowers. ; blue flowering creeper also loved by the sunbird.

(more info at [home#Sunbird])

amitabha mukerjee Sun Nov 25 16:59:50 IST 2012