Birding in South Andaman

Birding map around Port Blair

We did birding in four spots around Port Blair, marked by the green patches in the map here. Chidiyatapu was a mix of forest and shoreline. Since the Andaman Trunk Road passes through the forest, and disturbs the birds, our best viewing here was early in the morning. Sippighat and Ograbranj are wetlands, and yielded very good sightings. Mt. Harriet in Bambooflats is another place where a day can yield good sightings. We visited Sippighat in the afternoon of December 22, Chidiyatapu the same night and again in the morning of December 23. We did birding in Ograbranj in the afternoon of December 23, and went up to Mt. Harriet on December 25.

Red collared dove

The Andaman group of Islands is full of endemics (marked with a star in the list below), and also has winter visitors. Even though I had done my reading, I was startled by the variety of visitors. I’d never expected to see Daurian’s starlings here. Andaman is so far from our normal birding grounds that our bird list is full of lifers (marked in bold):

  1. Alexandrine parakeet: Chidiyatapu
  2. * Andaman drongo: Chidiyatapu, Mt. Harriet
  3. * Andaman bulbul: Chidiyatapu
  4. * Andaman collared kingfisher: Chidiyatapu, Mt. Harriet, Sippighat, Ograbranj, Neil Island
  5. * Andaman (brown) coucal: Chidiyatapu, Mt. Harriet
Andaman Green Pigeon
  1. * Andaman cuckoo-dove: Chidiyatapu
  2. * Andaman flowerpecker: Chidiyatapu, Mt. Harriet
  3. * Andaman green pigeon: Mt. Harriet
  4. * Andaman shama: Chidiyatapu
  5. * Andaman treepie: Chidiyatapu, Mt. Harriet
  6. Asian brown flycatcher: Mt. Harriet
  7. Asian fairy bluebird: Chidiyatapu, Mt. Harriet
  8. Barn swallow: Mt. Harriet, Sippighat, Ograbranj
  9. Black bittern: Ograbranj
  10. Black drongo: Ograbranj
Blue Tailed Bee Eater
  1. Black-naped oriole: Chidiyatapu, Mt. Harriet
  2. Blue-tailed bee-eater: Mt. Harriet, Sippighat, Ograbranj
  3. Brahminy kite: Chidiyatapu
  4. Broad-billed sandpiper: Sippighat
  5. Brown hawk owl: Chidiyatapu
  6. Brown shrike: Chidiyatapu, Sippighat, Ograbranj
  7. Brown shrike (Philippine): Mt. Harriet
  8. Brown-backed needletail: Mt. Harriet
Chinese Pond Heron
  1. Cattle egret: Sippighat
  2. Chestnut headed bittern: Ograbranj
  3. Chinese pond heron: Sippighat, Ograbranj
  4. Common coot: Sippighat
  5. Common crow: Sippighat
  6. Common kingfisher: Chidiyatapu, Sippighat, Ograbranj
  7. Common moorhen: Sippighat, Ograbranj
  8. Common myna: Sippighat
  9. Common redshank: Sippighat
  10. Common sandpiper: Chidiyatapu, Sippighat
  11. Common sparrow: Port Blair
  12. Cotton teal: Sippighat
  13. Curlew sandpiper: Sippighat
  14. Daurian starling: Sippighat
  15. Eastern jungle crow: Mt. Harriet, Sippighat
Eurasian Whimbrel
  1. * Edible-nest swiftlet: Ograbranj
  2. Eurasian curlew: Sippighat
  3. Eurasian Whimbrel: Sippighat
  4. * Glossy swiftlet: Mt. Harriet, Sippighat
  5. Gray heron: Ograbranj
  6. Green imperial-pigeon: Chidiyatapu
  7. Indian cuckoo: Chidiyatapu
  8. Indian pond heron: Ograbranj
  9. Intermediate egret: Sippighat, Ograbranj
  10. Large egret: Sippighat, Ograbranj
  11. Lesser sand plover: Sippighat
  12. Lesser whistling teal: Sippighat, Ograbranj
  13. Little green heron: Sippighat
  14. Little-ringed plover: Sippighat
  15. Long-toed stint: Sippighat
  16. Oriental magpie-robin: Chidiyatapu, Sippighat
Pacific Golden Plover
  1. Pacific golden plover: Mt. Harriet, Sippighat
  2. Pacific reef-egret: Chidiyatapu, Mt. Harriet, Neil Island
  3. Pacific swallow: Chidiyatapu, Sippighat
  4. Pintailed snipe: Sippighat
  5. Purple swamp hen: Sippighat, Ograbranj
  6. Racquet-tailed drongo: Chidiyatapu, Mt. Harriet, Neil Island
  7. Red-breasted parakeet: Chidiyatapu, Ograbranj
  8. Red-cheeked parakeet: Chidiyatapu
  9. Red-collared dove: Chidiyatapu, Mt. Harriet, Sippighat, Ograbranj
  10. Red-necked stint: Sippighat
  11. Red-throated pippit: Sippighat
  12. Red-whiskered bulbul: Chidiyatapu, Mt. Harriet, Sippighat
  13. Scarlet minivet: Chidiyatapu, Mt. Harriet
  14. Small egret: Sippighat, Ograbranj
  15. Small minivet: Chidiyatapu
Stork-billed Kingfisher
  1. * Spot-breasted woodpecker: Chidiyatapu
  2. * Stork-billed kingfisher: Ograbranj
  3. * Striated heron (Andaman): Mt. Harriet
  4. * Sunda teal: Ograbranj
  5. Vernal hanging parrot: Chidiyatapu
  6. Violet cuckoo: Ograbranj
  7. White-bellied sea-eagle: Chidiyatapu, Mt. Harriet, Ograbranj, Neil Island
  8. White-breasted waterhen: Ograbranj
  9. White-headed starling: Chidiyatapu
  10. White-rumped munia: Chidiyatapu, Ograbranj
  11. White-throated kingfisher: Chidiyatapu, Mt. Harriet, Sippighat, Ograbranj
  12. Wood sandpiper: Sippighat
  13. Yellow bittern: Sippighat, Ograbranj
  14. Yellow wagtail: Chidiyatapu, Sippighat
White-rumped Munia

We are amateur birders, and I hardly have a spotter’s eye. The Family spends more time on it. We did our birding in Andaman with Shaktivel, Gokul and Senthil. Shakti guides tours in the Andamans, and his next project is to take a group to Great Nicobar. Gokul is a zoologist, collecting data for a checklist of birds in the Andamans. This will be the core of his Doctoral thesis. During our three days of birding, we met up with Mark Smiles, who is an excellent birder, and guides bird tours in Dubai.

By I. J. Khanewala

I travel on work. When that gets too tiring then I relax by travelling for holidays. The holidays are pretty hectic, so I need to unwind by getting back home. But that means work.

7 comments

  1. Actually, it is winter with us, so a real bad time for birding, but in early July I will accompany an excursion for watching here in Germany the beautiful Merops apiaster (bee eater), but actually all of them are in Africa.

    Like

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