Bird Watching

Bird Watching Five Common Indian Birds Every Visitor Will See.

Bird Watching Five Common Indian Birds Every Visitor Will See.

Bird Watching In India

Birds, birds, birds everywhere! In India, you can hardly leave your accommodation without noticing them – be it the cooing sound of a Koel or avoiding having any unprotected food being pounced on by a Crow or Sparrow. So if you like Bird Watching the following Five species are among the most common birds in India being found in most cities, towns and villages. Honestly, it is nearly impossible to visit without seeing at least one of these.

Indian House Crow

House Crow (Corvus splendens)

The House Crow or Grey-necked Crow as it is also known despite being a quite attractive bird, doesn’t enjoy a great reputation in India, probably due to is scavenging nature. It is a super adaptable species and variations can be found all over the Indian Subcontinent. The House Crow is a medium-sized species, typically between 40 to 43 cms, which likes the company of other Crows as well as people, given no populations are known to exist independently of humans, often roosting in large colonies over busy streets.

Image By OlhaInsight-Shutterstock

Their main diet is food waste, although being omnivorous they will eat any small creature as well as insects and fruit and grains. They nest within the urban areas, mostly in trees, but will make use of telephone poles, showing their adaptability.


Peak breeding season is April to July so that’s the time to visit if you want to see some chicks.

House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)

Male Indian House Sparrow
Image EcoPrint/Shutterstock

The House Sparrow is strongly associated with human habitation and can live in either urban or rural settings. It remains one of the most loved bird species in the country, probably due to their curious and friendly nature. This is in complete contrast to the House Crow which is treated with derision with its name is even being used as a derogatory term.

Although still widespread their number is in decline and WWF India is making efforts to arrest this. The main reason seems to be that Sparrows are less adaptable and although still largely dependent on human habitations for their survival, they can’t cope with the overcrowding and pollution now common in the major cities. They are however still common in the smaller towns and particularly more rural villages.

Female House Sparrow
Image Avinash Gatreddi/Shutterstock

The House Sparrow nests in buildings & lofts, although it will make use of trees where necessary often building a domed nest in these. They feed mainly on seeds and small insects and are often seen in small flocks. There is considerable affection for them in India shown by the fact that Custom made sparrow nest boxes are distributed in various states to try and arrest the declining population.

The Black Kite (Milvus migrans)

Black Kite: This Is one that visiting Bird Watchers will enjoy seeing

Indian Black Kite

Although more brown than black it is one of the most recognisable birds of prey in Indian being common in most towns and cities.  The Black Kite is a medium-sized bird from the family Accipitridae and India has its own unique subspecies (Milvus migrans govinda). They are not a popular bird with the locals and were once called the Pariah Kite quite a derogatory term.  However they do serve their purpose as although the Black Kite is a scavenger, they also consume a lot of rats which helps keep their numbers under control. Although found all over India they seem to be most at home in the towns and cities (probably due to the abundance of food and nest sites).

Typically, the Black Kite will be seen circling in the sky, sometimes for hours and hours, patiently waiting for prey to show itself. However, it is often seen perching on the balconies of the high rise buildings it likes to roost on and use as nest sites.


Image Mishna/shutterstock

The Asian Koel  (Eudynamys scolopacea)

The Koel or Cuckoo as it is commonly known is one of the most common birds in India, and is much heralded for its strikingly melodious “koo-yooo, koo-yooo” call. There are distinct geographical subspecies and the one found in India is Eudynamys scolopaceus scolopaceus. The Koel is one of those birds which is often heard but not seen given they are extremely reclusive, however with patience, they do show themselves and their pleasant calls can be heard on a morning or evening walk in most Indian towns and cities.

Ainars Aunins/Shutterstock

They are quite large being in the 40-43 cms range and is quite striking with bright red eyes a prominent beak and in the case of the males shiny black plumage. The females are more of a speckled dark-brown but are equally nice looking birds.

Female Asian Koel

Like most Cuckoo species the Asian Koel is a brood parasite, meaning and lays a single egg in the nests of a variety of other bird species then leaves the upbringing of the chick to the foster parents. In India, the main host is the House Crow. 

The Koel can found in most Indian cities, towns and villages – with the exception of the dry regions of North-West India.

The Common Mynah (Acridotheres tristis):


The Common Mynah, as the name suggests, is widespread throughout India.  It’s quite small at around 24-27 cms, and unlike the more familiar pet species The Hill Minah this one has a vinous-brown body, with a black head and a yellow orbital area. The Male and Female of the species are pretty much identical and both are of similar size.


The Common Mynah (or myna as is sometimes spelled)  is known for being very noisy and they quite bold and aggressive towards other species when required. They usually forage for food in pairs and will eat virtually anything, including kitchen scraps. They tend to nest in abandoned buildings & tree holes, and although common in villages & towns, they are equally happy in rural areas.

So there we have it a quick checklist of Five Species you will struggle not to see when visiting India. Before you go check out our article on UK Bird Species.

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