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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Wildlife Series Depicting "Birds". (2001-16)

LARGE PIN-TAILED SANDGROUSE (Pterocies alchata)

'An over all sandy coloured terrestrial Pigeon like bird with a long pointed tail', is the only Sandgrouse in the region. The breast and belly of the bird is pure white with a broad pinkish chestnut breast band narrowly bordered by black in both sexes. The wing coverts are chocolate chestnut on the shoulder, each rounded feather margined with white the mantle and wing coverts are greenish yellow with Grey tips. The rump and tail are sandy yellow cross-barred black and the pintails are tipped.

This is a rather locally restricted Sandrgrouse, which is the winter visitor and passage migrant in autumn and spring to the small areas of N.W. Baluchistan, Northern Sindh and N.E. NWFP with a small number probably remaining to breed in the extreme S.W. corner of Baluchistan and on the Afghan Border around Chaman.

It feeds on green leaves, small seeds, pulse and grains. Breeds from May to July, lays normally 2-3 eggs on dry open flat ground without any sort of nest. This Sandgrouse is scarce in Pakistan.

BLUE THROAT (Luscima svecica)

In general it looks like a typical chat with a long-legged and slender body. The head, neck and back are greyish brown with a prominent creamy white supercilium. Its most conspicuous feature is the tail, which when fanned is russet chestnut with the central pair and a terminal band dark brown. Males have a striking pattern on the breast and throat and an iridescent blue patch on upper breast which is generally framed in a circlet at the mid-breast region. Females lack the blue throat patch but this area instead is noticeably white. The upper tail coverts are chestnut in both sexes.

A wide spread winter visitor throughout the Indus Plains from Punjab to Sindh. It also occurs in Baluchistan and NWFP during passage migration in spring and autumn. They obtain food by picking it off the ground and from low vegetation. Their diet comprises of mostly insects, small coleoptera, ants, and worms. They breed in alpine meadows in the north. The nest is a cup shaped structure concealed in a clump of grass or hollow in the ground, lay 4-6 eggs pale sage green to olive green colour mottled with reddish brown. Egg laying start in May with an incubation period varies from 13-14 days. Status Frequent in Winter.

HOOPOE (Upupaepops)

A medium sized bird but more slender in build with down curved black bill adapted for probing in the ground.

Its most conspicuous feature is the erectile crest of long narrow feathers down the Centre of the crown. Its head and body are orange-brown with black wings and tail prominently barred with a white on the wing coverts and the base of the black tipped flight feathers. The whole of the upper surface of the wings bears transverse black and white bars. The tail has a one broad white band in an inverted "V" pattern surrounded by black. The Iris is brown and feet are slaty brown, sexes are alike. The lower belly is whitish and the nape mantle is often ashy fawn colour.

Hoopoe breeds in Europe, Africa, Middle East, Indian Sub-Continent, China, lndo-Chinese Region, Malaysia and Indonesia. It inhabits areas which are lightly wooded and preferably where is some grass covering the ground. In Pakistan they are locally migrant but largely resident population, some which winters but not breed in Sindh and also a population which migrate to Himalaya and extralimitally in Central Asia for breed. Hoopoe is a pair bond and monogamous bird. During nesting they make cracks and holes in old trees comprises of a pad of straw, animal hair and feathers, lay 4-7 eggs of skim milk blue rapidly becoming stained brown. Only female incubates from 15-17 days and males bring food for her and nestling.

Status common

INDIAN MAGPIE ROBIN "DHYAL" (Copsychus Sanlaris)

It is a very large chat with relatively stout bill and long tail. The male is metallic blue black all over the head, neck, back and wings, with outer tail feathers and belly pure white. The female is of similar pattern but blue black is replaced by dark iron Grey or unglossy. In both sexes legs and feet are black. It is found throughout the year with sedentary habit and well known bird, wide spread in India and South East Asia. In Pakistan it is uncommon but resident in the outer foot hills of the Murree hills extending down to lslamabad. These large chat forage solitarily expect for during the nesting season and run forward in hopping spurts like typical chats raising their tail over the back as they pause, often fanning open the tail and drooping the wings. Their food includes a wide variety of soil born crustacean, mollusca, spiders, millipedes and insects. They make nests in tree holes and use drain pipes and eaves of buildings as nest boxes. The bird from April to July lay 3 to 5 eggs pale green in colour densely spotted and splotched with reddish brown. Incubation take 12-13 days, males help in bringing food to the nestling, in close attendance or escorting the female during incubating and rearing the chicks. Males sing throughout the nesting season and often in post monsoon and autumn season. Status very local and scarce. Date of Issue (November 26, 2001)