Readers’ wildlife photos

We have some bird photos today from reader Saloni Rose, an evolutionary biology and neurobiology student at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (ISER) in Mohali, India. Saloni has contributed once before. Her notes and IDs are indented (this contribution was sent on March 1):

This week I had an opportunity to visit the wetlands of Mangalajodi at the northern tip of Chilika Lake (Orissa, India). Hosting more than 300,000 birds, Mangalajodi is recognised as an IBA (Important Bird and Biodiversity Area). We reached there in the early morning and were welcomed by the boatmen who took us around the place. The boatmen, in particular, were very helpful. They knew every species in the area and would draw my attention to several inconspicuous birds. Here are a few photos of residents and guest species.

Grey-headed swamphen (Porphyrio poliocephalus): I found this resident species flocking together in hundreds. They have a peculiar courtship ritual where the male presents weeds and bows to the female (check out the second picture).

Painted Stork (Mycteria leucocephala): Endemic to the Indian subcontinent, this species gets its name from pink feathers at the tip of the tail.

Black-tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa): Yet another species with the same generic and specific epithet (literally translating to “Muddy”):

A Little Cormorant (Microcarbo niger) eating a fish:

River Tern (Sterna aurantia):

Whiskered Tern (Chlidonias hybrida):

Group of egrets:



  1. CAS
    Posted April 8, 2019 at 7:44 am | Permalink

    Beautiful birds!

  2. Debbie Coplan
    Posted April 8, 2019 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    What an amazing ritual the Grey-headed swamphen has. I guess he is ready to make a nest with his presentation of weeds to a potential partner. I wonder if her wings up is any kind of response to his offer.
    Looks like an incredible place to visit.
    Thank you for the lovely pictures.

    • Posted April 8, 2019 at 8:30 am | Permalink

      Thanks Debbie! I am not sure if that was a courtship behaviour because I got this photo when the boat was close to the birds. It might have been an escape reflex.

  3. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted April 8, 2019 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    I think my favorite is the tern on the post – I really love it!

  4. Michael Fisher
    Posted April 8, 2019 at 8:07 am | Permalink

    Thanks for photos Saloni. The male swamphen’s gift of water weeds – from a swamphen POV that’s food is it?

    • Posted April 8, 2019 at 8:36 am | Permalink

      Thanks, Micheal! I know that swamphens are omnivores, so it is possible that they eat the weeds. I didn’t observe them eating it immediately though.

  5. Posted April 8, 2019 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    Reblogged this on Obscurum Per Obscurius and commented:
    Check out my photos!

    • Posted April 8, 2019 at 10:41 am | Permalink

      Lovely work, Saloni. Thanks for sharing the photos. (BTW you’d sent a request before and I just want you to know that I use WordPress only to access Dr. Coyne’s website. So I’ve got nothing of interest. 🙂 )

  6. Posted April 8, 2019 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    Thank you for showing these! The beak of the cormorant looks like it is pierced thru the fish.

  7. rickflick
    Posted April 8, 2019 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    The river turn seems to have a decoration from a festival in it’s beak.

  8. Claudia Baker
    Posted April 8, 2019 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    Beautiful pictures! Wish I could visit there.

  9. merilee
    Posted April 8, 2019 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    Beautiful photos, Saloni. Thanks!

  10. Joe Dickinson
    Posted April 8, 2019 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    Those storks in flight look improbable (i.e., how do they ever get airborne?).

  11. Mark R.
    Posted April 8, 2019 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

    What a fine assortment of birds. Thanks!

  12. John Harshman
    Posted April 8, 2019 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    Behind the stork you have what looks like a purple heron Ardea purpurea. Is that what it is, and do you have any good photos of it?

  13. Cate Plys
    Posted April 8, 2019 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

    Wow, thanks for sharing these! Of course the swamphen courtship is really eye-catching, but so are the others. If you get a chance to send more…I’d love to see a general landscape to get a better idea of where the birds are. Thanks again!

  14. Posted April 9, 2019 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

    I was surprised to learn that Gray-headed Swamphens have been introduced to Florida and are thriving in the wild there.

    Interesting bird photos!

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