All Birds Wiki

Template:Wildlife of India This is a list of the bird species recorded in India. The avifauna of India includes around 1301 species, of which 42 are endemic, 1 has been introduced by humans, and 26 are rare or accidental. One species has been extirpated in India and 82 species are globally threatened. The Indian Peacock (Pavo cristatus) is the national bird of India.[1]

More recent birds discovered in India include the Bugun Liocichla which was discovered in Arunachal Pradesh in 2006. Besides this, a few birds considered to be extinct have been rediscovered an example being the Jerdon's Courser. Some others have been elevated from subspecies to full species.

This list's taxonomic treatment (designation and sequence of orders, families, and species) and nomenclature (common and scientific names) are based on Clements's 5th edition but include more recent revisions. The family accounts at the beginning of each heading reflects this taxonomy, as do the species counts found in each family account.

The following tags have been used to highlight certain relevant categories, but not all species fall into one of these categories. Those that do not are commonly occurring, native species.

  • (A) Accidental A species that rarely or accidentally occurs in India.
  • (E) Endemic A species endemic to India.
  • (I) Introduced A species introduced to India as a consequence, direct or indirect, of human actions.
  • (Ex) Extirpated A species that no longer occurs in India although populations exist elsewhere.

Table of contents

Non-passerines: Loons . Grebes . Albatrosses . 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 . Megapodes . Pheasants and partridges . Buttonquails . Cranes . Rails, crakes, gallinules, and coots . Finfoot . Bustards . Jacanas . Painted snipe . Crab Plover . Oystercatchers . Ibisbill . Avocets and stilts . Thick-knees . Pratincoles and coursers . Plovers and lapwings . Sandpipers and allies . Skuas . Gulls . Terns . Skimmers . Sandgrouse . Pigeons and doves . Parrots and allies . Cuckoos . Barn owls . Typical owls . Frogmouths . Nightjars . Swifts . Treeswifts . Trogons . Kingfishers . Bee-eaters . Typical rollers . Hoopoes . Hornbills . Barbets . Honeyguides . Woodpeckers and allies .

Passerines: Broadbills . Pittas . Larks . Swallows and martins . Wagtails and pipits . Cuckoo-shrikes . Bulbuls . Goldcrest . Leafbirds . Ioras . Waxwings . Grey Hypocolius . Dippers . Wrens . Accentors . Thrushes and allies . Cisticolas and allies . Old World warblers . Old World flycatchers . Fantails . Monarch flycatchers . Whistlers and allies . Babblers . Parrotbills . Long-tailed tits . Titmice . Nuthatches . Wallcreeper . Treecreepers . Penduline tits . Sunbirds and spiderhunters . Flowerpeckers . White-eyes . Old World orioles . Fairy-bluebirds . Shrikes . Woodshrikes . Drongos . Woodswallows . Crows, jays, ravens and magpies . Starlings . Weavers and allies . Waxbills and allies . Buntings . Siskins, crossbills and allies . Sparrows .

See also       References


Order: Gaviiformes. Family: Gaviidae

Loons, known as "divers", in Europe, are a group of aquatic birds found in northern North America and northern Eurasia. They are the size of a large duck or small goose, which they somewhat resembles in shape when swimming, but they are completely unrelated to these waterfowl. There are 5 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in India.


File:Zwergtaucher 060319 3.jpg

Little Grebe

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.

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.

Storm petrels[]

File:Oceanites oceanicusPCCA20070623-3634B.jpg

Wilson's Storm Petrel

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.


File:Phaethon rubricauda Europa Island.jpg

Red-tailed Tropicbird

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.



Great White Pelican

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.

Boobies and gannets[]

File:Brown booby.jpg

Brown Booby

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.


File:Great Cormarant AE.JPG

Great Cormorant

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.


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.



Great Frigatebird

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.

Bitterns, herons and egrets[]

File:Ixobrychus minutus 2 (Marek Szczepanek).jpg

Little Bittern

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.

File:Great Egret (Casmerodius albus)- Breeding plumage at Sultanpur I Picture 257.jpg

Eastern Great Egret


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.

File:Black necked Stork I-Bharatpur IMG 8534.jpg

Black-necked Stork

Ibises and spoonbills[]

File:Eurasian Spoonbill (Platalea leucorodia) at Bharatpur I IMG 5670.jpg

Eurasian Spoonbill

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 5 species which occur in India.


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.

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.

File:Bar-headed Goose - St James's Park, London - Nov 2006.jpg

Bar-headed Goose


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[]

File:Oriental Honey Buzzard (Female)- Bharatpur I2 IMG 8242.jpg

Crested Honey Buzzard

File:Blac Kite I4- Kolkata IMG 1159.jpg

Black Kite

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.

File:Steinadler Aquila chrysaetos closeup1 Richard Bartz.jpg

Golden Eagle


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.


Order: Galliformes. Family: Megapodiidae

The Megapodiidae are stocky, medium-large chicken-like birds with small heads and large feet. All but the Malleefowl occupy jungle habitats, and most have brown or black colouring. There are 21 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in India.

Pheasants and partridges[]

File:Pavo cristatus male.jpg

Indian Peafowl

Order: Galliformes. Family: Phasianidae

The Phasianidae are a family of terrestrial birds which consists of quails, partridges, snowcocks, francolins, spurfowl, 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.

Excalfactoria chinensis (aka)

Asian Blue Quail


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.


Barred Buttonquail


File:Grus antigone Luc viatour.jpg

Sarus Crane

Order: Gruiformes. Family: Gruidae

Cranes are large, long-legged and long-necked birds. Unlike the similar-looking but unrelated herons, cranes fly with necks outstretched, not pulled back. Most have elaborate and noisy courting displays or "dances". There are 15 species worldwide and 5 species have been recorded from India.

The Hooded Crane Grus monacha was included in many older lists but is considered as hypothetical by more recent workers.(Rasmussen and Anderton, 2005)

Rails, crakes, gallinules, and coots[]

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.


Order: Gruiformes. Family: Heliornithidae

The Heliornithidae are small family of tropical birds with webbed lobes on their feet similar to those of grebes and coots. There are 3 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in India.


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.


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.

Painted snipe[]

Greater Painted-snipe (Female) I2 IMG 9477

Greater 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.

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.


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.




Order: Charadriiformes. Family: Ibidorhynchidae

The Ibisbill is a bird related to the waders, but sufficiently distinctive to merit its own family. The adult is grey with a white belly, red legs and long down curved bill, and a black face and black breast band.

Avocets and stilts[]

File:Black-winged Stilt Edge 2.JPG

Black-winged Stilt

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.


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.

  • Eurasian Thick-knee Burhinus oedicnemus
  • Great Thick-knee Burhinus recurvirostris
  • Beach Thick-knee Burhinus magnirostris

Pratincoles and coursers[]

File:Small pranticole.jpg

Small Pratincole

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.

Plovers and lapwings[]

File:Pluvialis squatarola.jpg

Grey Plover

File:Red wattled Lapwing I IMG 0596.jpg

Red-wattled Lapwing

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.

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.

File:Common Greenshank I IMG 1611.jpg

Common Greenshank

File:Green Sandpiper (Tringa ochropus)- In Breeding plumage at Bharatpur I IMG 5533.jpg

Green Sandpiper


File:Arctic skua at svalbard norway.jpg

Arctic Skua

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.


File:Larus canus1.jpg

Common Gull

File:Black-headed Gull AE.JPG

Black-headed Gull

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. The identity of some species earlier included under Herring Gull are now questioned.


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.


Caspian Tern


Arctic Tern


Order: Charadriiformes. Family: Rynchopidae

Skimmers are a small family of tropical tern-like birds. They have an elongated lower mandible which they use to feed by flying low over the water surface and skimming the water for small fish. There are 3 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in India.


File:Pterocles indicus.jpg

Painted Sandgrouse

Order: Pterocliformes. Family: Pteroclidae

Sandgrouse have small, pigeon like heads and necks, but sturdy compact bodies. They have long pointed wings and sometimes tails and a fast direct flight. Flocks fly to watering holes at dawn and dusk. Their legs are feathered down to the toes. There are 16 species worldwide and 9 species which occur in India. India has the largest number of sandgrouse of any country.

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.

File:Blue Rock Pigeon (Columba livia) in Kolkata I IMG 9762.jpg

Rock Pigeon

File:Streptopelia senegalensis.jpg

Laughing Dove

Parrots and allies[]

File:Rose-ringed Parakeet (Male) I IMG 9141.jpg

Rose-ringed Parakeet

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.


Order: Cuculiformes. Family: Cuculidae

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.

File:Cuculus varius India.jpg

Common Hawk-Cuckoo

Barn owls[]

File:Barn Owl.JPG

Barn Owl

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.

  • Australasian Grass-Owl Tyto longimembris
  • Barn Owl Tyto alba
  • Andaman Barn Owl Tyto deroepstorffi (raised to full species by Rasmussen and Anderton, 2005)
  • Oriental Bay-Owl Phodilus badius (Eastern Himalayas)
  • Ceylon Bay-Owl Phodilus assimilis (Western Ghats race ripleyi and Sri Lankan race assimilis included here by Rasmussen and Anderton, 2005)

Typical owls[]

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.


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.


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.

Caprimulgus macrurus

Large-tailed Nightjar


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.


Young Common Swift



Crested Treeswift

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.


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.


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.

File:Common Kingfisher I IMG 8014.jpg

Common Kingfisher


File:Green bee eater I2 IMG 5937.jpg

Green Bee-eater

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.

Typical rollers[]

European roller

European Roller

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.


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.


File:Indian Grey Hornbill I IMG 9029.jpg

Indian Grey Hornbill

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.


Blue-throated Barbet (Megalaima asiatica) in Kolkata I IMG 7592

Blue-throated Barbet

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.


Order: Piciformes. Family: Indicatoridae

Honeyguides are among the few birds that feed on wax. They are named for the behaviour of the Greater Honeyguide which leads large animals to bees' nests and then feeds on the wax once the animal has broken the nest open to get at the honey. There are 17 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in India.

Woodpeckers and allies[]

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.

File:Dendrocopos nanus.jpg

Brown-capped Pygmy Woodpecker

File:Common Flame-back Woodpecker1.jpg

Common Flameback


Order: Passeriformes. Family: Eurylaimidae

The broadbills are small, brightly coloured birds that feed on fruit and also take insects in flycatcher fashion, snapping their broad bills. Their habitat is canopies of wet forests. There are 15 species worldwide and 2 species which occur in India.



Hooded Pitta

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.


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.

File:Bengal Bushlark I IMG 4989.jpg

Bengal Bushlark

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.


Barn Swallow

Wagtails and pipits[]

File:Citrine wagtail I IMG 8326.jpg

Citrine Wagtail

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.


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.


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.

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


File:Bohemian Waxwing 2007.jpg

Bohemian Waxwing

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Bombycillidae

The waxwings are a group of passerine birds characterized by soft silky plumage and unique red tips to some of the wing feathers. In the Bohemian and Cedar Waxwings, these tips look like sealing wax, and give the group its name. These are arboreal birds of northern forests. They live on insects in summer and berries in winter. There are 3 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in India.

Grey Hypocolius[]

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Hypocoliidae

The Grey Hypocolius is a small Middle Eastern bird. They are mainly a uniform grey color, with males having a black triangular mask around the eyes, and with the shape and soft plumage of the waxwings.

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.

Whistlers and allies[]

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Pachycephalidae

The family Pachycephalidae includes the whistlers, shrike-thrushes, shrike-tits, pitohuis and Crested Bellbird. There are 57 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in India.


File:White throated fantail.JPG

White-throated Fantail

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.


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.


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.


File:Orange bellied leafbird.jpg

Orange-bellied Leafbird

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.


File:Brown Shrike (Lanius cristatus)- Immature in Kolkata I IMG 0147.jpg

Brown Shrike

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.


Order: Passeriformes. Family: Cinclidae

Dippers are a group of perching birds whose habitat includes aquatic environments in the Americas, Europe, and Asia. They are named for their bobbing or dipping movements. There are 5 species worldwide and 2 species which occur in India.


Order: Passeriformes. Family: Regulidae

The kinglets or crests are a small group of birds often included in the Old World warblers, but frequently given family status because they also resemble the titmice. There are 7 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in India.


Order: Passeriformes. Family: Troglodytidae

The wrens are mainly small and inconspicuous except for their loud songs. These birds have short wings and a thin down-turned bill. Several species often hold their tails upright. All are insectivorous. There are 80 species worldwide (of which all but one are New World species) and 1 species which occurs in India.


File:Prunella collaris.jpg

Alpine Accentor

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Prunellidae

The accentors are in the only bird family, Prunellidae, which is completely endemic to the Palearctic. They are small, fairly drab species superficially similar to sparrows. There are 13 species worldwide and 8 species which occur in India.

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.

Monticola cinclorhynchus

Blue-capped Rock Thrush

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.


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.

File:Chestnut-tailed Minla I IMG 7044.jpg

Chestnut-tailed Minla

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.

File:Ashy Prinia (Prinia socialis) at Hodal I IMG 9173.jpg

Ashy Prinia

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.

File:Blyth's Reed Warbler I2 IMG 9417.jpg

Blyth's Reed-warbler


Order: Passeriformes. Family: Paradoxornithidae

The parrotbills are a group of birds native to East and Southeast Asia, though feral populations are known from elsewhere. They are generally small, long-tailed birds which inhabit reedbeds and similar habitats. There are 20 species worldwide and 9 species which occur in India.

Long-tailed tits[]

File:Black-throated Tit.jpg

Black-throated Tit

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Aegithalidae

Long-tailed tits are a group of small passerine birds with medium to long tails. They make woven bag nests in trees. Most eat a mixed diet that includes insects. There are 9 species worldwide and 4 species which occur in India.


File:Great Tit I IMG 3106.jpg

Cinereous Tit

File:Parus ater 2 (Marek Szczepanek).jpg

Coal Tit

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.


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.


Order: Passeriformes. Family: Tichodromidae

The Wallcreeper is a small bird with stunning crimson, grey and black plumage, related to the nuthatch family.


Order: Passeriformes. Family: Certhiidae

Treecreepers are small woodland birds, brown above and white below. They have thin pointed down-curved bills, which they use to extricate insects from bark. They have stiff tail feathers, like woodpeckers, which they use to support themselves on vertical trees. There are 6 species worldwide and 5 species which occur in India.

  • Himalayan Treecreeper Certhia himalayana
  • Nepal Treecreeper Certhia nipalensis
  • Sikkim Treecreeper or Brown-throated Treecreeper, Certhia discolor
  • Manipur Treecreeper, Certhia manipurensis[12][13]
  • Spotted Creeper Salpornis spilonotus

Penduline tits[]

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Remizidae

The penduline tits are a group of small passerine birds, related to the true tits. They are insectivores. There are 13 species worldwide and 3 species which occur in India.

  • Eurasian Penduline Tit Remiz pendulinus (includes macronyx)
  • White-crowned Penduline Tit Remiz coronatus
  • Fire-capped Tit Cephalopyrus flammiceps

Sunbirds and spiderhunters[]

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.

Crimson sunbird

Crimson Sunbird

  • Ruby-cheeked Sunbird Chalcoparia singalensis
  • Purple-rumped Sunbird Leptocoma zeylonica
  • Crimson-backed Sunbird Leptocoma minima (E)
  • Purple-throated Sunbird Leptocoma sperata
  • Purple Sunbird Cinnyris asiaticus
  • Olive-backed Sunbird Cinnyris jugularis
  • Long-billed Sunbird Cinnyris lotenius
  • Gould's Sunbird Aethopyga gouldiae
  • Green-tailed Sunbird Aethopyga nipalensis
  • Black-throated Sunbird Aethopyga saturata
  • Vigors's Sunbird Aethopyga vigorsii (E)
  • Crimson Sunbird Aethopyga siparaja
  • Fire-tailed Sunbird Aethopyga ignicauda
  • Little Spiderhunter Arachnothera longirostra
  • Streaked Spiderhunter Arachnothera magna


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.


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.

Old World orioles[]

File:Eurasian Golden Oriole (Oriolus oriolus)- kundoo race- Male at Secunderabad W IMG 6714.jpg

Indian Golden Oriole

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.


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.


File:Black Drongo I IMG 7924.jpg

Black Drongo

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.


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.

Crows, jays, ravens and magpies[]


Green Magpie

File:House Crow.jpg

House Crow

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.


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.

File:European Starling 2006.jpg

European Starling

Weavers and allies[]

File:Baya Weaver (Ploceus philippinus)- Immature in Kolkata I IMG 8143.jpg

Baya Weaver

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.

Waxbills and allies[]

File:Adult Black-headed Munia.jpg

Black-headed Munia

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.


File:Emberiza citrinella 1 (Marek Szczepanek).jpg


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.

Siskins, crossbills and allies[]

File:Pink browed Rosefinch (Male)- Himachal- IMG 3799.jpg

Pink-browed Rosefinch

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.

{The Black-headed Greenfinch Carduelis ambigua was included in older lists but Rasmussen and Anderton (2005) consider this as hypothetical)


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.

File:House sparrow I IMG 4529.jpg

House Sparrow

Further reading[]


  1. ^ Govt. of India. "National bird of India". National bird. Govt. of India. Retrieved 2 December 2007. 
  2. ^ Gaston, AJ; Pandey, S (1987). "Sighting of Rednecked Grebes (Podiceps grisegena) on the Pong Dam Lake, Himachal Pradesh". J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 84 (3): 676–677. 
  3. ^ Mundkur, Taej; Pravez, Rishad (1989). "Sight record of Rednecked Grebe Podiceps griseigena near Rajkot, Gujarat". J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 86 (3): 440. 
  4. ^ Lewis, ES (1938). "Bewick's Swan (Cygnus bewickii Yarrell) near Delhi". J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 40 (2): 333. 
  5. ^ International Crane Foundation - Siberian Crane
  6. ^ Holt, P (1999) Long-billed Dowitcher Limnodromus scolopaceus at Bharatpur, Rajasthan, India: a new species for the Indian subcontinent. Forktail 15:95 PDF
  7. ^ Athreya, R. 2006. A new species of Liocichla (Aves: Timaliidae) from Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary, Arunachal Pradesh, India. Indian Birds 2(4): 82-94. [1]
  8. ^ 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. PMID 19393746. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2009.04.006. 
  9. ^ Sangha, H. S., Naoroji, R. & Sharma, M. 2007. The Crested Tit-warbler Leptopoecile elegans in north-west Arunachal Pradesh. An addition to the Indian avifauna. Indian Birds 3 (1): 23–25. [2]
  10. ^ 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
  11. ^ Rasmussen, P. C. & J. C.and Anderton 2005 introduce this split
  12. ^ Tietze, Dieter Thomas; Martens, Jochen & Sun, Yue-Hua (2006): Molecular phylogeny of treecreepers (Certhia) detects hidden diversity. Ibis 148(3): 477-488 doi:10.1111/j.1474-919X.2006.00547.x (HTML abstract)
  13. ^ Tietze, Dieter Thomas; Jochen Martens, Yue-Hua Sun, Martin Paeckert (2008). "Evolutionary history of treecreeper vocalisations(Aves: Certhia)". Organisms, Diversity & Evolution. 8 (4): 305–324. doi:10.1016/j.ode.2008.05.001.  Cite uses deprecated parameter |coauthors= (help)
  14. ^ 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)" (PDF). Ecography. 33: 232–241. doi:10.1111/j.1600-0587.2010.06167.x. 
  15. ^ a b c d 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.


  • Gjershaug, J. O.; Diserud, O. H.; Rasmussen, P. C.; Warakagoda, D. (2008). "An overlooked threatened species of eagle: Legge's Hawk Eagle Nisaetus kelaarti (Aves: Accipitriformes)" (PDF). Zootaxa. 1792: 54–66. 
  • E. Haring, K. Kvaløy, J.-O. Gjershaug, N. Røv and A. Gamauf (2007). "Convergent evolution and paraphyly of the hawk-eagles of the genus Spizaetus (Aves, Accipitridae) – phylogenetic analyses based on mitochondrial markers". J.Zool. Syst. Evol. Res. 45 (4): 353–365. doi:10.1111/j.1439-0469.2007.00410.x. 
  • Rasmussen, Pamela C.; J. C. Anderton (2005). Birds of South Asia. The Ripley Guide. Smithsonian Institution & Lynx Edicions. ISBN 8487334679.  Cite uses deprecated parameter |coauthors= (help)
  • Clements, James F. (2000). Birds of the World: a Checklist. Cornell University Press. p. 880. ISBN 0934797161. 

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