Life-saving camouflage for ground-nesting birds

I recently read an article in The Hindu newspaper about threats to ground nesting birds from a variety of causes ranging from shrinking habitat to feral dogs and grazing animals. Over the last few years we have had red-wattled lapwing and Indian nightjar nesting at Lakeside so I found the article very interesting. I agree with the article that we need to plan how to preserve the habitat of such birds whilst also fulfilling the needs of the human population – not an easy task!

If you would like to read the article you can find it here.

The following photos of ground nesting birds were all taken at Lakeside.

red-wattled lapwing eggs

red-wattled lapwing eggs

Young red-wattled lapwing

Young red-wattled lapwing

Indian Nightjar eggs

Indian Nightjar eggs

Indian Nightjar on nest - great camouflage!

Indian Nightjar on nest – great camouflage!

Indian nightjar chick within minutes of hatching

Indian nightjar chick within minutes of hatching

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Yellow browed bulbul at her nest

I love the spring with its promise of new life. This female yellow browed bulbul is sitting at her nest awaiting the birth of a new generation. The picture was taken just outside Thekkady whilst I was accompanying some guests on one of our tours.

The bird is about 7 cm long and is found in the hills and mountains of the Western Ghats, just below the forest canopy where it feeds mainly on insects and berries. She will probably have a clutch of 3 eggs in her nest which would have taken about a week to build. The eggs, which will be pale pink or white and speckled with reddish brown, will be incubated for about 13 days. The babies will then be fed on soft insects, berries and caterpillars for a further 13 days before they fledge and leave the nest.

Nesting sunbird – update

I am afraid I have bad news for all those who were hoping to follow our little sunbird through incubating her eggs to fledging her family here at Lakeside.  Something, we think probably a local lizard, has been at the nest which we assume is now empty as we haven’t seen either parent bird for two days.  Hopefully they will try again soon.

As a consolation, here are a few pictures from last years successful nesting.

Mother sunbird feeding her baby.

Father sunbird taking his turn!

First flight nerves

Nesting sunbird in India

Last year a sunbird nested right outside my office here at Lakeside (the pictures were taken while she was sitting on her eggs last year).  She’s back again, has been building for about a week and is now sitting on eggs once more.  I can actually see her from my desk which is great.

You could describe the sunbird as India’s equivalent of the humming bird.  Very small (10 cm maximum) and fast moving with a long bill to get deep into flowers for nectar.  The nest is made out of bougainvillea petals, grass and cobwebs and has its own little ‘porch’ for protection from the elements!  She should have 2 eggs in there.

I’ll keep you updated with her progress.