Bird lovers have identified 81 species belonging to 32 families on the sprawling 350-acre campus

A group of four students has identified 81 species of birds belonging to 32 families on the campus of Mangalore University, Mangalagangotri. They have photographs of most of the identified birds.

Vineeth Kumar K., from the Department of Applied Zoology, who is one of the members of the group, told The Hindu that the university is home to many residential and residential-migratory birds. He said there were black drongos active in the day but are also seen catching flies around the street lamps. Ashy woodswallows, in flocks of five to ten, are seen perched on electric lines.

One can see a flock of more than 100 small green bee-eaters every evening at the grassland facing Yakshagana Kalamandir, the theatre on the campus, which has been a roosting place for more than six spotted owlets.

The brain-fever bird (common hawk cuckoo) is usually found in the early morning and late evenings. Jerdon’s Nightjar is heard after 6 p.m. till 6 a.m. through the campus.

Some of the residential migratory birds include the Asian paradise-flycatcher, orange-headed thrush, blackheaded cuckoo-shrike, blue-tailed bee-eaters, cattle egrets, little cormorants, Indian Cuckoo, common Indian nightjar, golden orioles, and the Asian brown flycatcher.

Mr. Kumar said peafowls are seen on the campus during the day. Indian roller, plum-headed parakeets, Asian paradise-flycatchers, greater racket-tailed drongo, blue-faced malkoha, Eurasian and black-hooded orioles, red spurfowl, common (rufous) tree-pie, Jerdon’s and golden-fronted leafbird, common hoopoe, blue-tailed bee-eaters, vernal hanging parrot and shikras along with the tiny birds such as scaly-breasted munias, tailor birds, purple-rumped sunbird and Loten’s Sunbird are seen.

Karnataka’s State bird, the Indian roller, a majestic bird, is sighted though rarely and is a source of delight to those on the campus, he said.

Other birds such as red-wattled and yellow-wattled lapwing, greater racket-tailed drongos, with their long, racket-like tail and mimicking other birds’ calls, are also seen. He said that the university, located 18 km away from Mangalore, spread over 350 acres of land on a hillock, provides diverse habitats to birds.

Aquatic birds

During monsoon, the lowlands form small water bodies which attract aquatic birds, he said.

Vineeth and Suhas Krishna, who is from the same department, started birding in 2011 and were joined by Rajat Mahabaleshwar Karant and Prashanth Krishna from the Department of Chemistry. Initially, they observed the birds through naked eye and later used binoculars. They began taking field-notes on the body shape, size, beak type, plumage, and calls.

They used books by Grimmett, Salim Ali, K. Prabhakar Achar, and Shiva Shankar to identify the birds.

Birdwatching is best done in small, silent groups of enthusiasts, with the best time being 6.30 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. to dusk.

With birding, one develops a keen sense of vision and hearing besides a sense of belonging to nature, and the wisdom to appreciate its beauty and wealth, he said.

A Directory for birders

A ‘Coastal Karnataka Birders’ Directory’, compiled by K.P rabhakar Achar and birder Shivashankar, was released in Karkala on Saturday, Shivashankar told The Hindu.

Rohit S.Rao, managing trustee of Kudremukh Wildlife Foundation, was the chief guest at the function.