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Some Birds of Kashmir

Amber Habib

Birds Life List Home

In July 1987, I spent 3 weeks in Kashmir on a group tour/trek organized by the Youth Hostel Association. We spent a week in Sonmarg and the rest of the time in Ladakh. Because of the nature of the trip, there was not much time to devote to proper bird-watching. Most of the sightings below had to be picked up while struggling to keep up with the group, or from the window of a bouncing bus!

For a complete look at the birds of Ladakh, see Otto Pfister's Checklist.
  1. Blackcrowned Night Heron (52) Srinagar. Flying around Dal Lake in afternoon.
  2. Pariah Kite (133) Srinagar. Very common.
  3. Egyptian Vulture (187) Srinagar.
  4. Lammergeier (188) Sonmarg. Pair soaring along side of cliff.
  5. Common Kestrel (222) Leh.
  6. Snow Pigeon (513) Sonmarg. Group of 4 flying overhead.
  7. Hill Pigeon (515) Kargil-Leh highway. Somewhat common.
  8. Blue Rock Pigeon (516) Kargil.
  9. Small Blue Kingfisher (722) Banihal.
  10. Whitebreasted Kingfisher (735) Srinagar.
  11. Hoopoe (763) Sonmarg. Seemed very common around our campsite at first, but later it appeared to be just one very active bird!
  12. Golden Oriole (952) Saspaul.
  13. Black Drongo (963) Jammu-Srinagar highway.
  14. Common Myna (1006) Jammu-Srinagar highway.
  15. Common Starling (1007) Srinagar. Adult feeding young of full size but immature plumage.
  16. Whiterumped Magpie (1029) Kargil.
  17. Yellowbilled Chough (1045) Sonmarg, Zoji La.
  18. House Crow (1049) Srinagar.
  19. Eurasian Jackdaw (1053) Qaziganj, Srinagar.
  20. Jungle Crow (1054) Jammu-Srinagar highway, Sonmarg.
  21. Common Raven (1059) Sonmarg, Zoji La, Leh.
  22. Redbreasted Flycatcher (1412) Sonmarg
  23. Black Redstart (1671) Panikher-Parkachik.
  24. Plumbeous Redstart (1679) Sonmarg.
  25. Common Stonechat (1697) Sonmarg.
  26. Whitecapped Redstart (1716) Sonmarg, Panikher (bank of Suru river).
  27. Blue Whistling Thrush (1729) Sonmarg. Subspecies temminckii - single row of white spots on wing. In bushes along stream.
  28. Grey Tit (1794) Banihal, Srinagar.
  29. Yellow Wagtail (1875) Sonmarg.
  30. Yellowheaded Wagtail (1883) Sonmarg (Blackbacked), Kargil, Parkachik.
  31. Grey Wagtail (1884) Sonmarg, Zoji La.
  32. White Wagtail (1886) Sonmarg.
  33. House Sparrow (1938) Jammu-Srinagar highway, Srinagar, Kargil.
  34. Eurasian Tree Sparrow (1942) Sonmarg (very common).
  35. Black and Yellow Grosbeak (1982) Sonmarg.
  36. Eurasian Goldfinch (1989) Srinagar. In bushes, near ground, attacking purplish flowers.
  37. Goldfronted Finch (1998) Kargil-Leh highway, Saspaul (in grain fields).
  38. Common Rosefinch (2010) Parkachik, Leh.
  39. Rock Bunting (2051) Sonmarg.

Various birds were seen too briefly to be identified. I was also handicapped by not having a field guide with me, and identifications had to be made days later in bookstores, from my notes. Here are some of them. (I have given what seem to me the most likely species and quotes from my notes.) I am including these in the hope of getting more expert opinion from some chance reader!

Amber Habib