Birding is not limited to any particular time of the year or the day. All you need is a lot of patience and a good pair of binoculars. This is something very familiar to birders--sometimes you'll find yourself motionless, on your belly, stuck in one position holding your breath for the fear of chasing away that rare sociable lapwing that have come thousands of miles away from Kazakhstan. You know how important that sighting is when you also know that they are critically endangered. India is a place of choice for many birds from countries far away. On one hand we have these migratory birds and then on the other we have birds so rare and endemic that you'd have to be lucky to spot them. Here are some of those rare birds of India you need to go see before it's too late.
Great Indian Bustard
As of 2018, about 150 of these birds are left in India. Shocking, but it's true for these beautiful birds. Due to the loss of habitat (dry grasslands and shrubs) these birds are facing the danger of extinction. They have only few pockets in India to call their home--Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. What they don't like is an irrigated land and since most of their choice locations have been turned into cultivable land, their number have greatly diminished. They are a rarity no doubt but if you have the patience (and luck), you may find them in semi arid grasslands.
Austen's Brown Hornbill
In India, they are found only in the forest of Namdapha National Park in Arunachal Pradesh. Outside the country, they are found in southern Vietnam and northern Thailand. Their restricted habitat makes them a rarity and on top of that, the dense woods of Namdapha makes it almost hard to find these birds. But if you are out looking to spot these winged beauties, look for holes left by the great slaty woodpeckers.
Though not a resident bird, we are interested in social lapwings because they travel long distance from Russia and Kazakhstan to come to India during winter. Back home they breed on open grasslands. When in India they can be found in north western regions of India--Gujarat, Rajasthan, and parts of Haryana, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh. These birds are critically endangered and the rapid loss of habitat is one of the reasons behind it.
Seen those cute and colourful tiny birds in cages Cute little pets, right Wrong Birds do not belong in cages, no matter how adorable they look and how good make your front porch look. Keeping birds as pets have pushed some species of birds to the brink of extinction from where coming back is nothing short of a miracle. One such bird is the green avadavat. These little green and yellow birds with black and white stripes are endemic to Indian subcontinent and their numbers are rapidly declining. Once abundant, now their population is restricted to central India, Rajasthan, parts of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal and Maharashtra. Away from cages if you want to spot them, agricultural lands are the best.
There are only two breeding regions for these big endangered birds--Assam and Cambodia. They love shallow lakes and garbage dumps and can be mostly seen scavenging around these parts. Assam is the best place where you can spot these birds. Earlier they used to be found in West Bengal but these days, you'd have to be lucky enough to spot them. Look for these birds during winter.
One thing is common for all grassland birds--their habitat is in constant threat. Be it agricultural or developing a land, open grasslands are the first to fall. And because of this reason, Bengal Floricans are now critically endangered. The species is native to Indian subcontinent, Cambodia and Vietnam. Less than a thousand of this species remain in the wild and the numbers are constantly in decline. In India they are found in the Terai regions of Assam, parts of Arunachal Pradesh and grasslands of Uttar Pradesh. It is extremely rare to find these birds because nowadays there are very limited grasslands but come March - August, which is their breeding season, there are chances to spot them.