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Tadoba Birding Experience (2016 - 2017)


SidSafari
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Birding in Tadoba

 

Tadoba is famous for tigers. They are the stars of the show and the main reason people visit the park. But it's not the only reason.

Birding in Tadoba has become a bona fide attraction in its own right. The parks varied topography is a haven for a plethora of birds.

Over 195 species inhabit the ranges lakes, woodlands, meadows and hills.

This is a journal account of two separate trips from June 2016 and January 2017. Like many others I went to Tadoba for the tigers,

but left with an appreciation of the park birds.

Forest and Woodland Birds

Tadoba is a southern tropical, dry deciduous forest. The majority of flora in the park is Teak and hardwood trees. These are natural

refuge for a majority of birds. Chief among them Robins, Cuckoo, Rollers, Bee-eaters and Treepies.

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Indian Rollers are an attractive Tadoba resident which are easy to find. Look for them in woodland areas and listen for their

chack-chack-chack call.

 

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Indian Golden Oriole makes an appearance. Little green bee-eaters are another widespread species. Their striking green plumage
highlights well in the morning light. Follow a bee-eater in the afternoon and you might even catch them hunting for insects.
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The Indian paradise flycatcher is an insectivorous bird that draws attention. These long tailed birds tend to favor perches in wooded areas.
They are skittish and hop from perch to perch. React quickly because they don't hang around for long.
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We spotted a pair of Scops Owls in a dead tree near waterhole 97 in Tadoba's main zone. They sleep during the day and stick to
wooded areas. Look for hollowed out trees for signs of life because you might find one napping during the daytime.
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Bird songs ring throughout the forest. Stop and listen for a few minutes. You'll likely hear and see plenty of treepies and robins. The
Roufus treepie in particular has a harsh rattling cry that's particularly distinctive.
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Nothing though, beats the jungle Babblers when it comes to noise. Rest assured you will hear these raucous little birds long before
you see them. Scampering on the forest floor in groups making a harsh ke-ke-ke sound. They're called babblers for a reason!
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Check the trees near the rest areas for birds. Most safari drivers will stop there at 10:00 for breakfast. Birds flock to the area in the
hope for some easy food and make for easy spotting in the nearby trees.
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Just my luck...The common white throated kingfisher decides to hide behind a branch.
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Raptors and Birds of Prey
Locating raptors by listening for calls is difficult. A better strategy is to scaning tree tops and this worked well for us in Tadoba. Almost
every raptor we encountered were on the top branches of the tall trees. Birds of prey seek high vantage points from where they scout
for hunting opportunities.
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The guide with us spotted the oriental honey buzzard near the lake edge. If you're lucky you might even find them fishing in the lake.
The deciduous trees like Mahua, Bija, Ain and Tendu grow tall and are good spots to check for other raptors.
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Finding a Changeable hawk-eagle was cause for celebration. This beauty was scanning the forest floor for reptiles and rodents.
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Taking a low flight over the forest floor no doubt scanning for any movement.
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Lake Tadoba - Water Birds
Lake Tadoba and Paunderpani are excellent locations to find water birds. The water bodies are home to cormorants, ducks, darters
and egrets. The distance from the water to the trail is can be significant. Having a scope, telephoto lens or extender can help magnify
details.
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Great Egret prepares to land at Paunderpani waterhole. Getting the shot was more luck then skill. More a case of being in the right
place at the right time and firing a burst as the Egret descended in line with where our jeep was parked.
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Egrets and Storks fish along the shoreline of the lake. Searching for crustaceans and small fishes. With some luck you might even find the
migratory ducks that visit the park.
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Egrets and Openbills are busy probing the muddy lake floor for their quarry.
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A family of ducks patrol the waters edge. The lack of predators seemed to calm their nerve and it was a happy scene as each one
took to the water and headed off to search for food.
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Ground Birds
There are plenty of opportunities for birding on the ground as well. The Indian Pitta is a prized species that found foraging on the floor.
This colorful little bird used to be a rarity in Tadoba but is now more common.
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The jungle fowl look like their domestic cousins and exhibit similar traits but are extremely skittish creatures.
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Indian Peafowl are found in large numbers in Tadoba. This is the national bird of India and perhaps the most beautiful of all ground birds.
If you're lucky you might even see the males put on a mating dance! Peacocks have an unmistakable call that guides use to track
tiger movement.
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The coucal is another wide range bird that has distinctive blood red eyes.
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Wow! I would love to see Indian pitta. Whats the best time of year for those?

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Wow! I would love to see Indian pitta. Whats the best time of year for those?

We visited Tadoba in June and spotted multiple Pitta's.

 

Returning in Jan the next year we didn't spot any.

 

Anecdotally I would say April to end of June is probably a good bet. After June the monsoon arrives and chances of sightings would decrease significantly.

Edited by SidSafari
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Good to see birds featuring on Safaritalk and taking their rightful place as part of India's rich wildlife history. I look forward to seeing more. May I just take the opportunity/liberty to mention that your "Indian Golden Oriole" is in fact the Black-hooded Oriole, an even more striking bird, and you did not label the Jacobin Cuckoo or Indian Darter.

Indian Pitta are migratory and so occur only in the correct season except of course on passage between the two areas. They prefer dry understorey where they pick through the dead leaves. Good luck with your quest KK23 .

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Good to see birds featuring on Safaritalk and taking their rightful place as part of India's rich wildlife history. I look forward to seeing more. May I just take the opportunity/liberty to mention that your "Indian Golden Oriole" is in fact the Black-hooded Oriole, an even more striking bird, and you did not label the Jacobin Cuckoo or Indian Darter.

Indian Pitta are migratory and so occur only in the correct season except of course on passage between the two areas. They prefer dry understorey where they pick through the dead leaves. Good luck with your quest KK23 .

Thank you for correct ID @@Galana! :)

 

Unfortunately I can't seem to be able to edit the original post now or I would have made the changes directly.

 

Perhaps one of the mods can assist?

Edited by SidSafari
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Great photos, and I too would love to see Indian Pitta!! No luck with that when I visited Tadoba in the month of February.

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