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Crimson Sunbird

Crimson Sunbird
Photo Information
Copyright: Ankit Sood (Sood_Ankit) Silver Note Writer [C: 0 W: 0 N: 12] (69)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2009-02-08
Categories: Birds
Exposure: f/7.1, 1/200 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2009-02-08 22:35
Viewed: 3896
Points: 0
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
The birds of GHNP are an important part of the Park's biological diversity and an attraction for bird watchers. The Park falls within one of the globally important Endemic Bird Areas identified by the ICDP Biodiversity Project. Nearly 200 bird species including 132 passerines (small to medium sized, perching songbirds) and 51 non-passerines have been recorded in the Park. This suggests that the Park supports a substantial proportion of all the species occurring within its altitudinal range in the western Himalayas.

Important bird groups found in the Park include:
Pheasants (or Galliforms)
An important group of large, spectacular birds. GHNP is one of only two National Parks in the world with a population of the endangered Western Tragopan (also found in Machiara National Park, Pakistan). Another endangered pheasant, the Cheer pheasant is present on the steep, south-facing grassy slopes. Monal and Koklas, are in abundant in the temperate forest zone while Kaleej occurs in small numbers below 2,000m. Snow Partridge, Hill Partridge, and Himalayan Snowcock also occur.

Five Pheasants of the Great Himalayan National Park
Western Tragopan
The male is one of the world's most spectacular birds: black on the head, a deep crimson on face and mantle and orange on breast, the black belly and dark wings are spangled with star-like white specks. The female is dull brown. They occur in dense forest with undergrowth of bamboo or shrubs from 2000-3500 m, solitary in spring, but in family groups in fall: often seen in trees where they may eat leaf buds. Males can be heard calling in spring and in October. Within the Park, the maximum number of sightings have been in the forests of Basu, Shilt, Nada, and Chordwar in Tirthan Valley.

For the first time anywhere (1999), the Western Tragopan was radio-collared and used radio-telemetry to study its behavior, biology and natural history.

In the villages close to GHNP, the local name of Western Tragopan is Jujurana (Juju means bird and rana means king) i.e. the king of the birds. There is a local legend that this pheasant was created by the "Lord" and all the birds in the universe donated a feather each to give it color and unparalleled beauty.

Monal Pheasant
A large plump pheasant with a loud, ringing call. Males are mainly iridescent blue, green on the mantle and rufous on the neck, with a white patch on the lower back and an orange tail. The female is brown with white throat and white patch on upper tail. In the past the monal was hunted for its crest which is made-up of iridescent turquoise, wire-like, spatula tipped feathers, worn by local villagers on their caps. It is a prominent bird, well know to the local villagers and often recorded by the tourists and trekkers.

The Koklas owes its name to the crow of the cock which is a loud, guttural kok-kok-kok...kokras. Males are brown streaked with silver, with dark green heads and a stiff crest; females duller with whitish throat patch. Koklas prefer dense undergrowth of Fir-Spruce forests, though they are also found in Oak-Deodar forests, between 2400-3100 m. altitude. Surveys indicate an increase in Koklash populations between 1996 and 1999.

White-crested Kaleej
A chicken-like, black and white pheasant with a red face and white crest; female all brown except for red face patch. Kaleej live in thickets of bamboo, and shrubs adjacent to cultivation and water sources. They also dwell in pure Silver Oak forest as well as mixed forest of Cedar, Blue Pine, and Brown Oak. Most of the roosting sites were observed in Silver Oak forests. They are seen at dusk and dawn and have been observed close to the villages in Ecodevelopment Project Area (EPA).

Cheer Pheasant
Brown with long, pointed tails, red faces and small crests, the sexes alike, they live in small groups on steep, grassy slopes with scattered trees. Cheer pheasants are found in very low numbers and they are difficult to observe, but they can often be heard calling at dusk. They have been sighted near Gati Pat in Jiwa Nal valley, and on the Park boundary close to the villages in Tirthan valley on the southern facing grassy slopes.

Other birds found in GHNP
Both Himalayan Griffon vulture and Lammergeier are common in the Park, seen daily at all seasons. Golden Eagle and Common Buzzard are seen frequently at all seasons in the subalpine and alpine zones. Eurasian Sparrowhawk is common below the tree line. Black Eagle and Booted Eagles are less frequently seem. There have been rare sightings of the Peregrine Falcon.

The Eurasian Woodcock and the Solitary Snipe. Both occur in summer and must breed within the park.

The Speckled Wood-Pigeon and Snow Pigeon are both common in the Park, as is the Oriental Turtle-Dove in summer.

The Slaty-headed Parakeet, is seen commonly in forest up to 2,200m altitude.

Five species occur, all in summer: the most common are the Common Cuckoo and the Oriental Cuckoo.

The Collared Owlet and the Tawny Owl are both common. Other owls infrequently sighted include Mountain Scops-Owl, the Rock Eagle-Owl, and Short-eared Owl.

Other Non-Passerines
Gray Nightjar: common during April-September
up to 3,000m.
Himalayan Swiftlets and Fork-tailed Swifts:
recorded frequently from April to October;
mainly over forests.
White-throated Needletail: very infrequent
Eurasian Hoopoe: up to 2,500m during
Brown-fronted Woodpecker and Great Barbet:
up to 2,000m
Scaly-bellied Woodpecker and Himalayan Woodpecker:
throughout the temperate forests.
Speckled Piculet: only at the lowest
altitudes (below 2,000m).

The leaf-warblers (8 species), flycatchers (11 species), tits (11 species), and thrushes (12 species) are well represented, but the babblers and laughing-thrushes (14 species) are the most important and distinctive group. White-throated and chestnut-crowned laughing-thrushes are common in flocks and family parties in lower altitude forests, while variegated laughing-thrushes occur to the limits of the trees. The smaller babblers include yuhinas, sibias, shrike-babblers, minlas and fulvetas. Many of these occur in mixed-species flocks in late summer and it is common to fall in with parties containing ten or more species combing every level of the vegetation for food. In spring, the songs of warblers, thrushes and flycatchers fill the forest with music

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