From white-throated kingfishers to purple-rumped sunbirds, they are all around you in Mumbai. Naturalist Sunjoy Monga gives you easy cues to spot them on your next trip to the window.
Eurasian golden oriole: Lucky are we to still sight this gloriously coloured bird seen regularly across Mumbai. Roughly myna-size, the male is a brilliant golden-yellow and black; the female is mostly a duller yellowy-green.
Where to spot: This is an arboreal bird and best chances to see it in upper branches of fruiting and flowering trees, and generally in good foliage. It is one of those birds that may be sighted even from the fourth or fifth and above storeys of your windows. The bird is, however, more commonly seen during the winter months of October to March.
Larger than sparrows, this is one of the most familiar birds of India, and is common across Mumbai. It can be identified by its dark, sooty brown plumage, with a blackish head and a flat crest; bright crimson patch under the tail (vent). The red-vented bulbul is known for its melodic whistling notes as much as for its perky demeanour. Where to spot: Look out for them on shrubbery, tall fruiting and flowering trees across Mumbai.
Relatively uncommon as compared to the red-vented bulbul, this too has a bright crimson patch under its tail (vent), but it has a perky, pointed crest and a white underbody with a broken dark breast-band. It gets its name from the red patches behind its eyes (the whiskers). Its whistling notes are distinctly cheery sounding. Where to spot: The red-whiskered bulbul is more of a hill station and forest bird, however, a few pairs survive in the heart of built-up localities, from south Mumbai across the suburbs.
Larger than sparrows, this bird is recognizable by its pied glossy black and white plumage, with that longish tail that is often cocked up. The female is slaty-grey, while the male is glossy black. One of the most richly-voiced songsters, they sing from March to June when breeding. Where to spot: Found in leafy neighbourhoods such as Colaba, Malabar Hill, Dadar Parsi Colony, Jijamata Udyan and other parts of the suburbs with plenty of foliage.
The dumpy-looking, sparrow-size bird is more often heard than sighted, though it is widespread. Look out for it on upper dry branches, and you just might spot the bird and admire its bright vivid plumage, green with a dash of crimson and yellow around its thickset head. Where to spot: It regularly makes its nest cavity in soft-wooded tree branches, often by the roadside.
This is one of India's most celebrated birds and is best known for its unique nest–made of one or two leaves whose edges are stitched using plant fibres or grass to form a cradle. In size, it is smaller than a sparrow and has an olive-green body, with a bit of rufous on its crown, and a longish tail. It makes a fairly loud towit-towit call that is hard to miss. Where to spot: It lurks amid low bushes but also makes it way through leafy branches to hunt for insects and spiders. It also visits flowering plants sometimes.
You've all heard the koel's celebrated call, a melodic kuooo loud and clear. It is often amongst the earliest of birds to call in the morning. The almost crow-size bird has a longish tail, and the male and female are very different in appearance. The male is a glossy black with a green beak and crimson eyes. The lady is brown, profusely stippled all over with white. Where to spot: The Asian koel is widespread across Mumbai. The life of this bird is intimately connected with the crow whose nest it lays its eggs in. The crow ends up rearing its young one.
This bird is always seen dancing and fanning its longish tail, as it flits in hunt of tiny insects. Its plumage is largely slaty-brown and white and its fanned tail is hard to miss. The bird often announces its presence with its whistling notes. Where to spot: The species has become more common in recent years and is present wherever there is dense verdure.
his is a common and familiar sunbird of Mumbai that many people like to call the hummingbird. The male looks like a jewel, iridescent with shades of purple, blue, maroon, glossy green and yellow, in a frame much tinier than of a sparrow's. The female is a sombre brownish on top, with a dull yellow bottom and a greyish-white throat. Where to spot: Flowering plants are where you will see this species that is also very vocal and chirps constantly.
The common and familiar parrot of India, it is easily sighted across Mumbai, be it in parks and gardens, roadside trees and the windows of many apartments as well.
Larger than the rose-ringed parakeet, look out for the striking maroon patch on its wings. Its call too is much louder and hoarser than that of the common rose-ringed parakeet. Where to spot: This is an escapee in the Mumbai area and its numbers have been rising in recent years. You can spot it on roadside trees and the windows of many apartments as well.
The striking turquoise blue colour of this larger than the common myna-size kingfisher enamours even the most casual observer. With the contrasting rufous-brownish head, white throat and that dagger-like, coral-red beak, there isn't a sight quite like this flamboyant bird. It has a loud screaming call, often the most audible bird cry in urban areas. Where to spot: While kingfishers are often seen around water, this one is seen in the heart of urbania and that's what makes it to this list.