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Saturday, 21 November 2015 19:52

India: Chirpy pest controllers

India: Chirpy pest controllers

Ashy Prinia is a common and cute looking little bird. It can be seen in most gardens in Bengaluru. These 13 to 14 cm long warblers have short rounded wings and a longish graduated cream tail, tipped with black spots. Watch out for the tail as it is usually held upright – making it easy to identify them -- and their strong legs are used for clambering or hopping on the ground.

 

These tiny song birds are also called ashy wren-warbler (Prinia socialis) and can be found across the country. They are identified by their distinctive colours and are found in singles or in pairs in the shrubbery in gardens.

Srinath Reddy, who took the pictures of these birds says, “They are found in dry open grass lands and they sing non-stop.” He recalls one of his bird photography trips to Valley School, Kanakapura Road in late September, “On our way back, we heard a call similar to Ashy Prinia. On close observation, we found the bird to be a bit different with it’s yellow/orange beak and grey/black eyes. Prinia’s have black beak and red eyes. This was my first encounter with these birds, which were not moving as swiftly as the adults. They also allowed us to move as close as five feet, which gave us good photographic opportunities.’

Like most warblers, the Ashy Prinia is insectivorous and is a boon to a gardener, gobbling up all the insect pests found in the garden. The song is a repetitive tchup, tchup, tchup or zeet-zeet-zeet.

Srinath started “bird photography couple of years ago and have mainly focused on lake’s around the city with a few in Nottingham, U.K. I prefer morning hours for birding and share my experiences though Facebook Page.”

These birds stay in pairs but roost singly on the branch of a small tree or shrubs. Their nests are made by sewing several large leaves together with bits of soft spider web; placed low on the bush and having an entrance on the side. The tiny eggs are a beautiful brick-red or rich chestnut in colour. When the nest is threatened by cats, or snakes, adult birds have been observed feigning injury and limping away, drawing away the attention of the predator to themselves and away from the nest.

Courtesy – The Hindu, India’s English Language Daily

SS

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