Birds of Sundarban

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Sundarban Birds at a glance 

Where the land meets the ocean at the southern tip of the state of West Bengal lies the Sundarbans, a stretch of impenetrable flowering tree forest of nice size and bio-diversity. Sundarban may be a huge space covering 4262 sq. km in India. Sundarban Tourism has a lot to offer. There are about 248 bird species found in Sunderban national park including a large number of migratory birds of Sundarban from higher latitudes that visit the park in winter months like Herons, Egrets, Cormorants, Storks, Green Pigeons, and Sand Pipers.

The main species of Sundarban birds in Sunderban national park are Small Minivet, Common Flameback, Black-hooded Oriole, Fulvous-breasted Woodpecker, Mangrove Whistler, White ibis, Osprey, Yellow Wagtail.

Small Minivet

The Small Minivet is a small bird, are popular Sundarban birds measuring 15 to 16 cm in length and weighing 6 to 12 grams. There is much plumage variance among the subspecies. The male small minivet has grey upperparts and orange underparts. The lower forehead is dark grey. The face, ear coverts, lore, chin, and upper throat are blackish-grey. The belly and under tail are yellowish. The rump and outer tail feathers are orange. There is an orange wing patch. The female is gray on the upperparts and has whitish or pale creamy yellow underparts. It has a dark grey lore. The bill is strong, pointed and dark grey in colour. The irises are blackish. The legs and feet are black. The call of these minivet species is a thin, whistling sound.

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Common Flameback

The Common Flameback is a large woodpecker. Its contrasted bright plume makes this Sundarban bird a ray of daylight among branches and foliage. Adult male has bright coloured plumage. On the upperparts, hind neck and upper mantle are black. The rest of upperparts are olive, strongly washed golden. The feathers are edged yellow and that we will see generally orange or red tinge on the rear. The lower back and the rump are bright red. The blackish-brown higher tail-coverts could also be colour olive and also the tail is black. On the top, crown and crest are red, whereas forehead and upper lores are brownish-red. The crown is finely edged black. The head sides are black and white, with a black stripe from the eye to the nape, and a narrow black moustachial line extending down to the upper breast. The Common Flameback feeds primarily on invertebrates, various insects and larvae. It forages at all levels in woodlands and although it prefers the lower parts of the trees, it also forages near the treetop or at mid level.

Black-hooded Oriole

The Black-hooded Oriole maybe a bird of open timber and cultivation. Their food is insects and fruit, particularly figs, found within the tree canopies where the orioles pay a lot of their time. It is a member of the oriole family of passerine birds. The male is with the typical oriole black and yellow coloration. The plume is preponderantly yellow, with a solid black hood, and black also in the wings and tail center. The female Black-hooded Oriole may be a drabber bird with green underneath components but still has the black hood. Young birds square measure just like the feminine bird but have dark streaking on the underparts, and their hood is not solidly black, especially on the throat.

Fulvous-breasted Woodpecker

The fulvous-breasted woodpecker is a medium-sized woodpecker, measuring 17 to 20 cm in length and weighing about 25 to 40 gram. These fulvous-breasted woodpeckers have black upperparts with heavy white barring. The forehead, lores, face, ear-coverts, and throat are fulvous or white. The black malar stripe extends down the sides of the neck to meet the black line from the breast. It belongs to the family of piculets and woodpeckers, the Picidae. The bill of the fulvous-breasted woodpecker is slaty grey. Their food consists mainly of arboreal insects, insect larvae, grasshoppers, locust, cicadas, and crickets. These woodpeckers are mostly arboreal and forage in mid-story and canopy on tree trunks, branches, and foliage.

Mangrove Whistler

The mangrove whistler is a medium-sized whistler, measuring 15 to 27 cm in length and weighing 20 to 25 grams. The mangrove whistler belongs to the family of whistlers and shrike thrushes, the Pachycephalidae. The crown of the mangrove whistler is ashy grey. The forehead is light grey. The upperparts and wings are uniformly greyish brown. The chin and throat are whitish. The breast is pale grey. The rest of the underparts are white. The bill is black. The irises are dark brown. The feet are silvery grey. The food of Mangrove Whistler consists mainly of insect larvae, beetles, grasshoppers, locust, crickets, dragonflies, cicadas, moths, butterflies, crickets, spiders. The nesting sites are usually located on small trees 1-4 meters above the ground.


White ibis

White Ibises are massive walking birds with football-shaped bodies. They have long legs and a protracted neck that they hold out straight on the wing. Their bill is long and curved. Ibis is nearly entirely white, except for the black-tipped wings and brilliant reddish-pink legs and bill. The blank skin around their blue eyes is additionally red-pink. Juveniles (fall through winter) are brown on top of and white below with a patterned brown neck. The legs and bill of juveniles are orange-pink. These long-legged waders forage in groups in shallow wetlands and other areas with standing water. They walk slowly with their heads down searching the muddy surface for insects and crustaceans. In-flight, their long necks are extended and their feet behind.


The Osprey bird weighs around 1400 – 2000 grams and has a length of 52 – 60 centimeters. It has a 150 – 180 centimetres wingspan. The Pandion haliaetus has primarily white underneath components and head, apart from a dark mask through the eye, and fairly uniformly brown upperparts. Its short tail and long, narrow wings with four long ‘finger’ feathers (and a shorter fifth) give it a very distinctive appearance. The Ospreys diet consists mainly of fish. The Pandion haliaetus bird is commonly illustrious by different conversational names like ‘fishhawk’, ‘seahawk’ or ‘Fish Eagle’.

Yellow Wagtail

The Yellow oscine is olive-green with a yellow face and a black-and-white tail. Males are brighter than females. The similar grey oscine additionally contains a yellow belly, however, contains a grey back and black wings. It feeds on invertebrates and is mainly a migratory bird. They nest on the bottom or in long grass, exploitation plants, grasses and stems to build a cup-shape which they line with fur. They can have up to two broods, each with five or six eggs. A summer visitant, they arrive from their African wintering grounds from March forward.

Though most of the Sundarban birds in the Sundarban National Park are migratory and most are from cold African region of origin they move to tropical areas for warmth. So if we do not take up actions now against pollution then soon there will be a day coming where the bird sanctuaries will be empty.

To Know more

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