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A birding visit to Andaman archipelago

posted May 24, 2018, 4:48 AM by Sharath Adavanne   [ updated May 24, 2018, 4:54 AM ]
The largest Indian archipelago, the Andaman Islands in the Bay of Bengal is situated in the equatorial belt. These are exposed to marine impacts having warm and humid tropical climate. The island receives an average of 300 to 3500 mm rainfall from both South-west and North-east monsoons, including sporadic cyclonic winds. The relative humidity remains between 66 and 85% throughout the year. Influenced by this weather and the specific location, profusely grown different forests types - Beach, Mangrove, Wet evergreen, Semi-evergreen, Moist deciduous and Grasslands are present (Lakshminarasimhan et al. 2011).

Due to isolation from the mainland, the endemism is very high in all taxa including avifauna. The archipelago is one of the Endemic Bird Areas and nineteen sites are identified as Important Bird Areas (Islam & Rahmani, 2005). A higher degree of endemism, i.e., 103–105 taxa out of 284 avian species and races recorded from these isolated archipelagoes (Sankaran & Vijayan, 1993; Vijayan et al. 2000; Pande Satish et al. 2007; Sivaperuman et al. 2014). A taxonomical deviation that separates species and species is dealt in detail in Compact Handbook (Ali & Ripley. 1987). Habitat diversity and the presence of wet forests on islands significantly influencing species richness of forest birds has been studied (Priya Davidar et al. 1996 & 2001).

Visited more diversity birding locations - Port Blair, Mt. Harriet National Park, Chidiyatapu biological park, Baratang, Dhaninallah Mangroves, Mayabundar, Diglipur -Smith & Ross Island, Rangath, Havelock Islands, Neil Island, Sippighat, Ogranbranj, Wandoor marine national Park, and Farrarganj spread over South, Middle & North Andaman. The first five ‘species-rich locations’ in descending order is tabulated (Table 1). The birding trial spread over 53 hours (03.2.2017 - 12.02.2017) resulted in 6072 birds belonging to 101 species (Table 2).

It is a pleasure and visual threat to identify the island species and subspecies in comparison with the mainland. A few are – Hill Myna’s nape-wattle not reaching the crown, darker female Koel, darker Striated Heron, Red-whiskered Bulbul’s White tips on rectrices, Fairy Blue-bird with longer tail & blue-grey vent, under parts of Red Turtle Dove more darker, Small Minivet females more yellowish flank & abdomen, White-throated Kingfisher wing patches more pronouncing, Stork-billed Kingfisher with pale cap and Collared Kingfisher with Blackish cheek, etc.,


Few birds characteristic behavioral observed are;
  • Small flocks of Red-collared Doves Streptopelia tranquebarica humilis transformed into a large congregation (300+) before took roost in Pandanus clumpse at Ogranbranj wetlands.
  • Similarly, the roosting activity of introduced species (Rajan & Pramod. 2013), Common Mynas Acridotheres tristis observed close to Agriculture research region just after Sippighat.
  • Introduced species, House Sparrows Passer domesticus were comfortably at home forging inside ferries that regularly make trips between Bamboo Plot & Chattam Jetty throughout the day.
  • White-bellied Andaman Shama Copsychus albiventis was active in very poorly lit foliage thicket.
  • Common Moorhen Gallinula chloropus is a migrant (Gokulakrishnan et al. 2015) to the archipelago, are found in good numbers wherever present.
  • Barn Swallows Hirundo rustica were recorded as individuals in contrast to congregation compared to the mainland. 
  • A large congregation of Glossy Swiftlets Collocalia esculenta was foraging right above a large Ficus tree near Diglipur jetty.


Andaman Flowerpecker Dicaeum virescens


Andaman Serpent Eagle Spilornis elgini


Andaman Teal Anas albogularis


Green Imperial Pigeon Ducula aenea andamanica


Fulvousbreasted Pied Woodpecker Dendrocopas macei andamanesis


Hill Myna Gracula religiosa andamanensis


Pacific or House Swallow Hirundo tahitica


Violet Cuckoo Chrysococcyx xanthorhynchus



Pacific Reef Egret Egretta sacra



Table 1: Species-rich locations (first five)

Sl No

Locations

Total Birding hours

(No. of  days)

No. of species recorded

1

Chidiyatapu Biological Park, South Andaman

 7 (2)

45

2

Havelock,  Island

14 (2)

35

3

Diglipur- Smith & Ross Island, North Andaman

 7 (1)

34

4

Neil,  Island

10 (2)

32

5

Ogranbranj tidal mudflat, South Andaman

 3 (1)

31



Table 2: List of birds observed during the visit

Sl No

Species

Present in No. of locations (Out of 14)

Total Bird Counted

1

Lesser Whistling Duck Dendrocygna javanica

2

700

2

Andaman Teal Anas albogularis*

2

600

3

Cotton Teal Nettapus coromandelianus

2

70

4

Rock Pigeon Columba livia

6

427

5

Andaman Wood Pigeon Columba palumboides* #

1

2

6

Red Collared Dove Streptopelia tranquebarica humilis*

10

316

7

Andaman Cuckoo Dove Macropygia rufipennis* #

1

2

8

Andaman Green Pigeon Treron chlroropterus*

1

5

9

Emerald Dove Chalcophaps indica maxima *

2

2

10

Green Imperial Pigeon Ducula aenea andamanica*

5

97

11

Brown-backed Needletail Hirundapus giganteus indica *

4

12

12

Glossy Swiftlet Collocalia esculenta affinis*

12

2243

13

Andaman Coucal Centropus scolopaceus *

8

16

14

Asian Koel Eudynamys scolopaceus dolosa*

8

35

15

Violet Cuckoo Chrysococcyx xanthorhynchus

1

1

16

Ruddy-breasted Crake Zapornia [Porzana] fusca

1

2

17

White-breasted Waterhen Amaurornis phoenicurus

1

1

18

Purple Swamphen Porphyrio poliocephalus

2

16

19

Common Moorhen Gallinula chloropus

2

155

20

Yellow Bittern Ixobrychus sinensis

2

11

21

Cinnamon Bittern Ixobrychus cinnamomeus

1

1

22

Striated Heron Butorides striata spodiogaster*

2

5

23

Indian Pond Heron Ardeola grayii

4

28

24

Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis

8

46

25

Grey Heron Ardea cinerea

1

6

26

Great Egret Ardea [Egretta]alba

3

11

27

Intermediate Egret Ardea [Egretta]intermedia

2

15

28

Little Egret Egretta garzetta

4

22

29

Pacific Reef Egret Egretta sacra

5

13

30

Pacific Golden Plover Pluvialis fulva

1

3

31

Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius

1

4

32

Kentish Plover Charadrius alexandrinus

1

5

33

Greater Sand Plover Charadrius leschenaultii

1

4

34

Pheasant-tailed Jacana Hydrophasianus chirurgus

1

12

35

Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus

3

6

36

Eurasian Curlew Numenius arquata #

1

1

37

Broad-billed Sandpiper Calidris falcinellus

1

3

38

Curlew Sandpiper Calidris [Erolia] ferruginea #

1

6

39

Sanderling Calidris alba

1

60

40

Pintail Snipe Gallinago stenura

2

15

41

Common Snipe Gallinago gallinago

2

18

42

Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos

6

10

43

Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus

1

1

44

Common Greenshank Tringa nebularia

1

2

45

Common Redshank Tringa totanus

3

18

46

Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola

2

3

47

Marsh Sandpiper Tringa stagnatilis

2

6

48

Lesser Crested Tern Thalasseus bengalensis

1

25

49

Oriental Honey Buzzard Pernis ptilorhynchus

2

2

50

Black Baza Aviceda leuphotes andamanica *

1

1

51

Crested Serpent Eagle Spilornis cheela davisoni*

3

8

52

Andaman Serpent Eagle Spilornis elgini* #

1

2

53

Changeable Hawk Eagle Spizaetus limnaeetus andamanensis*

2

2

54

White-bellied Sea Eagle Haliaeetus leucogaster

6

9

55

Andaman Woodpecker Dryocopus hodgei*

3

5

56

Fulvous-breasted Pied Woodpecker Dendrocopos macei andamanensis*

1

2

57

Chestnut-headed Bee-eater Spizaetus leschenaultia andamanensis*

4

12

58

Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis

1

1

59

Stork-billed Kingfisher Pelargopsis capensis osmastoni*

5

7

60

White-throated Kingfisher Halcyon smyrnensis saturatior*

9

14

61

Collared Kingfisher Todiramphus chloris davisoni*

7

22

62

Red-breasted Parakeet Psittacula alexandri abbotti* #

6

32

63

Long-tailed Parakeet Psittacula longicauda tytleri * #

6

44

64

Alexandrine Parakeet Psittacula eupatria magnirostris* #

3

10

65

Vernal Hanging Parrot Loriculus vernalis

7

19

66

Small Minivet Pericrocotus cinnamomeus vividus*

6

30

67

Scarlet Minivet Pericrocotus flammeus andamanensis*

4

24

68

Large Cuckooshrike Coracina javensis andamanensis *

1

2

69

Andaman Cuckooshrike Coracina dobsoni*

2

4

70

Indian Golden Oriole Oriolus kundoo

3

6

71

Black-naped Oriole Oriolus chinensis andamanensis*

7

22

72

Andaman Drongo Dicrurus andamanensis * #

7

17

73

Greater Racket-tailed Drongo Dicrurus paradiseus otiosus*

7

15

74

Brown Shrike Lanius cristatus

11

20

75

Philiphines Shrike  L. c. lucionensis

1

1

76

Andaman Treepie Dendrocitta baileii* #

1

8

77

House Crow Corvus splendens

5

11

78

Large-billed Crow Corvus macrorhynchos levaillantii*

7

49

79

Black-naped Monarch Hypothymis azurea tytleri*

2

3

80

Andaman Flowerpecker Dicaeum virescens*

6

10

81

Olive-backed Sunbird Cinnyris jugularis andamanica *

6

19

82

Asian Fairy-bluebird Irena puella puella

2

8

83

House Sparrow Passer domesticus

7

100

84

Forest Wagtail Dendronanthus indicus

2

2

85

Western Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava

2

15

86

Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea

1

1

87

White Wagtail Motacilla alba

1

1

88

Paddyfield Warbler Acrocephalus agricola

1

1

89

Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica

4

22

90

Pacific/ House Swallow Hirundo tahitica

2

11

91

Red-whiskered Bulbul Pycnonotus jocosus whistleri*

11

53

92

Andaman Bulbul Brachypodius fuscoflavescens*

1

8

93

Oriental White-eye Zosterops palpebrosus

3

17

94

Andaman White-headed Starling Sturnia erythropygia*

3

26

95

Common Myna Acridotheres tristis

6

119

96

Hill Myna Gracula religiosa andamanensis*

5

26

97

Asian Glossy Starling Aplonis panayensis tytleri*

8

149

98

Oriental Magpie Robin Copsychus saularis andamanensis *

5

12

99

Andaman Shama Copsychus albiventis *

1

2

100

Asian Brown Flycatcher Muscicapa dauurica

2

3

101

Siberian Thrush Geokichla sibirica

1

1


Total Birds


6072

No. of Species recorded: 101; Family: 33; Order: 12.

*Endemic Species and Subspecies - 44 nos;  # Nearly threatened – 9 nos (Bnhsenvis. 2015)


References:

  • Ali, S. & Ripley, D.S. 1987. Compact Handbook of the Birds of India and Pakistan together with those of Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan and Sri Lanka. 2nd ed. Oxford University Press, Delhi, India.
  • Bnhsenvis. 2015. http://bnhsenvis.nic.in/Database/2015_17570.aspx.2015
  • Gokulakrishnan G, Sivaperuman C, Jaisankar I, Velmurugan A and Dinesh J. Species Abundance and Distributions of Bird Communities in Agroecosystems, South Andaman, Journal of the Andaman Science Association 20(2):151-163(2015).
  • Islam, Z.U. and Rahmani, A. R. 2005. Important Bird Areas in India. Priority sites for conservation. 1st ed. Mumbai: Indian Bird Conservation Network: Bombay Natural History Society and BirdLife International (UK). 
  • Lakshminarasimhan, P., Gantait, S., Rasingam, L. & Bandyopadhyay, S. 2011. Bibliography and Abstracts of Papers on Flora of Andaman & Nicobar Islands. ENVIS Centre on Floral Diversity, Botanical Survey of India, Howrah. 
  • Pande Satish, Sant N, Ranade S, Pednekar S., Mestry P, Deshpande P, Kharat S & Deshmukh V. 2007. Avifaunal survey of Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Indian Birds 3 (5): 162–180. 
  • Priya Davidar, Yoganand RK, Ganesh T & Nirah Joshi. 1996. An assessment of common and rare forest bird species of the Andaman Islands. Forktail 12: 135-142.
  • Priya Davidar, Yoganand RK & Ganesh T. 2001. Distribution of forest birds in the Andaman Islands: importance of key habitats. Journal of Biogeography 28(5): 663-671.
  • Rajan, P., & Pramod, P., 2013. Introduced birds of the Andaman & Nicobar Islands, India. Indian BIRDS8 (3): 71-72
  • Sankaran, R. & Vijayan, L. 1993. The avifauna of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands: A review and the current scenario. In: Bird Conservation. 
  • Sivaperuman C, Gokulakrishnan T, Dinesh J and Venkataraman K. 2014. Six new Records of Birds from Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Biological Forum 6(1): 127-133.
  • Vijayan, L., Sankaran, R., Sivakumar, K. & Murugan, V. 2000. A study on the ecology, status and conservation perspectives of certain rare endemic avifauna of the Andaman & Nicobar Islands: Final Report. Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology & Natural History, Coimbatore, India