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All the Ornithologists in the world love this place! Nilgiris refers to the Western Ghats that run through Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. The region is like a Kaleidoscope changing beautifully with every season. This eco-spot is home to a huge range of Flora and Fauna some of which are endemic or indigenous to only this region. The population of Birds of Nilgiris amounts to 350, of this 18 species is threatened.

The Landscape

If you are a bird watcher or just love birds come to the Nilgiris.Nilgiris is a part of the Western Ghats and is declared as a World Heritage site by UNESCO. Twenty four mountain peaks tower the area reaching above 2000m.

Nilgiris encompasses 5,520km2 area, consisting of Moist Broadleaf forest, tropical moist forests, deciduous forests, montane rainforest and dry deciduous forest.  With so many landscapes it has a rich diversity of  Flora and Fauna, not found anywhere else!  Protected, it is home to many vivacious feathered beings, some of which are endemic to only here.


You will be amazed at the various sounds that you hear once you are here. The hills are filled with the sound of music, nay bird sounds which is even more pleasing to the ear!  Within the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, 13 Important Bird Areas (IBA) have been recognized internationally.

The vibrancy of this region is exaggerated by Orange Flycatcher, Black and Orange Flycatcher and Painted Bush quail. Other equally vivacious Birds of Nilgiris are Wagtails, Skylarks, Honey Buzzard, Kingfisher, Bee-eaters, Jungle Babbler, Cuckoos, White Scavenger Vulture, Falcons, Kestrels, Night Jars, Some Orioles species, Hawks, Songbirds, Barbets, White-bellied Treepie, White Scavenger, Oriental White-eyes, Screech Owl, Bulbul, Jungle Fowl, few Pigeon species, Bonelli Eagle, Brown Hawk Owl, Gross Owl, Jungle Owlet and Black Eagle.  Most of these birds are resident in Nilgiris.

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In winter, the Kashmir Flycatcher and the Tickell Leaf Warble come to visit their cousins in Nilgiris.

Some Endemic Birds of Nilgiris such as Nilgiri Wood Pigeon, Nilgiri Flycatcher, Nilgiri Laughing Thrush, Nilgiri Blackbird populate the Shola regions.  Mentioned below is a description of few of them.

Nilgiri Flycatcher

Nilgiri Flycatcher photoPhoto by Eric Gropp

Nilgiri flycatcher is a listed among the most beautiful Birds of Nilgiris.  It is mostly found on the higher Nilgiri – Anamalai ranges of Brahmagiri, Biligirragan and Bababudan. The bird is coloured indigo blue and is darker than Verditer flycatcher.  The female bird has duller colours.  The bird feeds on insects.  It builds its nest in mosses and lichens.

This bird is a near threatened non-migratory species found at high altitudes.  It has a rich brown colour with streaks on the breast and on the flanks.  It builds its nest like a small cup in the grass. These birds eat seeds and insects.

Nilgiri Wood Pigeon

Nilgiris pigeon photoPhoto by Ganesh-B.R.Hills

This bird is found in dense forests and shoal regions.  Woodpigeon of the Nilgiris is also listed as a vulnerable species. It measures 35 to 40 cms in length.  It feeds on buds, flowers, fruits and snails.  The neck is grey and the body is purple in colour.

Nilgiri Blue Robin

Nilgiri Blue robin photoPhoto by Alastair Rae

This bird is also known as Nilgiri Shortwing and/or Rufous-bellied Shortwing.  It is found mostly in the northern parts of Palghat Gap, the Bababudan hills and Brahmagirs.  They populate the dense forest undergrowth of montane grassland.  They have also been featured on the ICUN Red List.

Nilgiri Laughing Thrush

This bird lost its habitat to tea plantations.  It has a distinctive call which sounds like it is laughing, hence the name.  It feeds on insects, fruits, flower and nectar.

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Nilgiri Pipit photoPhoto by AntoGros

Nilgiri Black Bird

This bird is a subspecies of Indian Black Bird. They are mostly found in the higher ranges.

All these birds can be found only in the Nilgiris and nowhere else.  Get a chance to see or hear the bird calls if you go to the Mukurthi National Park or Mudumalai National Park.

Featured Photo by AntoGros

Birds Of Nilgiris – Vibrant, Vivacious And Endangered

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