The clamorous Reed Warbler is one who stands out. Hearing him or her in some undergrowth near the
Yamuna river that runs past Delhi, I replied to the running sounds coming fourth and after a
while established a kind of rapport with the little creature until silence fell. It seemed
contact was lost until the bird suddenly appeared with a large fly in its mouth, an offering
perhaps. Ungratefully, it seemed, I responded with a couple of grab shots before the bird
disappeared. After that, although I often heard it, never again did it respond, in spite of my
returning the next day and the day after.
It is not easy to define a common bird. One can take into account the actual numbers of the bird
(this would limit common to the smaller-sized species), how easy it is to see the bird (larger
birds are likely to figure here) or how widespread they are within the region. A combination of
these and be able to identify many of the species he or she sees from this book.
Identification is often something of an art and not the only reason for seeing birds. Often the
sheer magnificence of the feathered population and our ability to respond to them is what
The birds in this book are mostly widespread breeding residents in India and Sri Lanka although
some winter visitors have been included. The taxonomy used is based on An Annotated Checklist of
the Birds of the Oriental Region by T. Inskipp, N. Lindsey and W. Duckworth (1996) yet reference
has also been made to the more recent Birds of South Asia by P. Rasmussen and J. Anderton (2005)
English name (too left)
English names have been in common usage ever since the days of modern ornithology in India and
Sri Lanka. However, there is now some disagreement over which names to use and hence more than
one may be given. As defined by The International Union for the Conservation of Nature and
Natural resources (IUCN) Red List, vulnerable species are marked in red while near threatened
species are in magenta.
Length in centimeters (from tip of beak to end of tail)
The measurements are approximate but give some idea of the size. As a reference, this book is 7.5
inches (19 cms) high by 4.7 inches (12 cms) wide.
Sinhala and Hindi names
Some Kinhala and Hindi names are merely alliterations of English ones. There are however genuine
Sinhala and Hindi names a few of which come from the Sanskrit language.
Not all the birds found in this book are found in Sri Lanka. Please refer to page 158-163 for
local Sinhala names of the birds.
All photographs have been made in the wild (often wildlife parks) with due consideration for the
bird’s welfare; frightened birds seldom make good photographs!
Text relating to the bird in question
The brief description gives the salient features and habits of the bird concerned.
Many species have subspecies while the birds vary in plumage according to sex, age and the
Descriptions of photographs (in italics alongside some photographs)
Helps to further identify the different appearance of a species.
This book is an excellent photographic guide to the birds of the Indian subcontinent. The
eye-catching photographs that flawlessly capture the details of each bird’s beauty are
accompanied by crisp descriptions and brief identification hints.
Amino Samarpan studied photography at Duckspool in the UK. Drawn to India by its spiritual
heritage, he discovered meditations and the ability of birds to bring one down to earth. His work
regularly features in books and magazines.
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