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Home >> Checklists >> Haryana >> Drain No 8

Drain No 8


(Acknowledgements: I am grateful to Bill Harvey for going through this list and giving his valuable suggestions which have been incorporated. Thanks are due to Nikhil Devasar, Moderator of delhibird e-group and webmaster of for putting this list on the web. Special thanks to Raj K. Bhutani who spent many nights on the banks of the Drain).


In the early eighties, birdwatchers from Kalpavriksh used to join me on many birding trips along Drain Number Eight to the north of Delhi. Thrushes, Crested Serpent Eagle and breeding of Little Heron (Little Green Heron) used to be our source of great excitement.

With their stunning wealth of diverse birdlife, the Drain and its Diversion Drain run from Gohana to the Yamuna in the Sonipat district and into the Najafgarh drain from Rohtak to Jhajjar touching Bhindawas Lake. The Diversion Drain Number Eight (from Gohana - Yamuna in Sonipat district) is wider and attract more birds. During my 25 years of birding, night-camping and regular visits, whatever birds species I have observed, are compiled in this first checklist.

Habitats: Wetlands, woodland, grassland, steep high banks with bushes and hollows, barren fallow patches, culverts, overhead passing of Delhi Branch Canal and J.L.N. Twin Feeder canals of Western Yamuna Canal, gardens, cultivated fields and village ponds in the immediate vicinity.

Total length : Diversion Drain Number Eight is 100 kms long and width varies from 20 meters to 50 meters. Drain Number Eight is more or less equal to its Diversion branch. These data are based on my experienced guess and Irrigation Department does not have exact data.

Terms used

Very Common: A bird is considered to be very common when it is likely to be recorded on all visits of a duration of two hours at the right time of the year to the proper habitat of that bird. For example, House Sparrows and Rose-ringed Parakeets.

Common: A bird is considered to be very common when it is likely to be recorded during 50% of all visits of a duration of two hours at the right time of the year to its proper habitat. For example, Spotted Owlets, Black Ibis.

Scarce: A bird is considered to be scarce when it is likely to be recorded during 25% of all visits of a duration of two hours at the right time of the year to its proper habitat. For example, Sarus Cranes, Black-necked Storks.

Rare: A bird is considered to be rare when it is to be recorded during less than 10% of all visits of a duration of two hours at the right time of the year to its proper habitat. For example, Imperial Eagle, Curlews.

Vagrant: A bird is considered to be vagrant (or status unknown) when it is not expected to be recorded.

Resident: A bird is considered to be a resident when it is recorded in all months. For example, Little Grebes. Usually, resident birds are supposed to breed.

Winter Visitor: A bird is considered to be a winter visitor when it is recorded from September/October to February/March. For example, Northern Pintails. These do not breed.

Passage Migrant: A bird is considered to be a passage migrant when it is recorded during September/October (autumn migration) and/or during February/March (spring migration) - end August and/or early April included. For example Rosy Starlings,

Summer/Monsoon Visitor: A bird is considered to be a summer/monsoon visitor when it is recorded only during March/April to August/September (end February or early October included). These are supposed to breed. For example, Asian Koels, Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters.

List of birds:

1. Black Francolin (Francolinus francolinus). Common breeding resident

2. Grey Francolin (Francolinus pondicerianus). Common. breeding resident.

3. Common Quail (Coturnix coturnix). Scarce winter visitor/passage migrant.

4. Rain Quail (Coturnix coromandelica). Scarce breeding resident, though heard only during monsoon.

5. Barred Buttonquail (Turnix suscitator). Scarce breeding resident.

6. Indian Peafowl (Pavo cristatus). Very common breeding resident.

7. Greylag Goose (Anser anser). Scarce winter visitor.

8. Bar-headed Goose (Anser indicus). Common winter visitors.

9. Lesser Whistling-Duck (Dendrocygna javanica). Common summer breeder

10. Ruddy Shelduck (Tadrona ferruginea). Common winter visitor

11. Comb Duck (Sarkidiornis melanotos). Scarce summer breeding resident. Rare in winter.

12. Gadwall (Anas strepera). Very common winter visitor.

13. Eurasian Wigeon (Anas penelope) . Common winter visitor.

14. Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) . Scarce winter visitor.

15. Spot-billed Duck (Anas poecilorhyncha). Very common breeding resident.

16. Common Teal (Anas crecca). Common winter visitor.

17. Garganey (Anas querquedula). Scarce passage migrant. Rare in winter.

18. Northern Pintail (Anas acuta). Very common winter visitor.

19. Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata) . Very common winter visitor.

20. Red-crested Pochard (Rhodonessa rufina). Scarce winter visitor.

21. Common Pochard (Aythya ferina). Very common winter visitor.

22. Ferruginous Pochard (Aytha nyroca). Common winter visitor.

23. Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula). Common winter visitor.

24. Yellow-crowned Woodpecker (Dendrocopos mahrattensis). Common breeding resident.

25. Black-rumped Flameback (Dinopium benghalense). Common breeding resident.

26. Brown-headed Barbet (Megalaima zeylanica). Scarce resident.

27. Coppersmith Barbet(Megalaima haemacephala). Common breeding resident.

28. Indian Grey Hornbill (Ocyceros birostris). Scarce breeding resident.

29. Common Hoopoe (Upopa epops). Common breeding resident.

30. Indian Roller (Coracias benghalensis). Common breeding resident.

31. Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis). Scarce breeding resident.

32. White-throated Kingfisher (Halcyon smyrnensis). Very common breeding resident.

33. Pied Kingfisher (Ceryle rudis). Common breeding resident.

34. Green Bee-eater (Merops orientalis). Very common summer breeder. Rare in winter.

35. Blue-cheeked Bee-eater (Merops persicus). Scarce summer breeder.

36. Blue-tailed Bee-eater (Merops philippinus) Scarce summer breeder.

37. Pied Cuckoo (Clamator jacobinus). Common summer breeder

38. Common Hawk Cuckoo (Hierococcyx varius). Common summer breeder.

39. Indian Cuckoo (Cuculus micropterus). Vagrant summer migrant. Only 2 records.

40. Grey-bellied Cuckoo (Cacomantis merulinus). Scarce summer breeder. A decade ago was common.

41. Asian Koel (Eudynamys scolopacea). Very common summer breeder.

42. Greater Coucal (Centropus sinensis). Very common breeding resident.

43. Alexandrine Parakeet (Psittacula eupatria). Scarce breeding resident.

44. Rose-ringed Parakeet (Psittacula krameri). Very common breeding resident.

45. Plum-headed Parakeet (Psittacula cyanocephala). Scarce resident.

46. House Swift (Apus affinis). Common resident.

47. Eurasian Eagle Owl (Bubo bubo). Rare breeding resident. Was common breeder till eighties.

48. Dusky Eagle Owl (Bubo coromandus). Rare breeding resident. Was common breeder in eighties.

49. Brown Fish Owl (Ketupa zeylonensis). Scarce breeding resident. Was common breeder in eighties.

50. Spotted Owlet (Athene brama). Common breeding resident.

51. Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus). Rare winter visitor and passage migrant.

52. Savanna Nightjar (Caprimulgu affinis). One record. Status unknown.

53. Rock Pigeon (Columbia livia). Very common breeding resident.

54. Oriental Turtle Dove(Streptopelia orientalis). Rare winter visitor.

55. Laughing Dove (Streptopelia senegalensis) . Very common breeding resident.

56. Spotted Dove (Streptopelia cheninsis). Scarce resident though breeding not recorded.

57. Red Collared Dove (Streptopelia tanquebarica). Scarce breeding resident.

58. Eurasian Collared Dove (Streptopelia decaocto). Very common breeding resident.

59. Yellow-footed Green Pigeon (Treron phoenicoptera). Scarce breeding resident.

60. Sarus Crane (Grus antigone). Scarce resident.

61. Common Crane (Grus grus). Scarce winter visitor.

62. Brown Crake (Amaurornis akool). Probably rare breeding resident.

63. White-breasted Waterhen (Amaurornis phoenicurus). Very common breeding resident.

64. Purple Swamphen (Porphyrio porphyrio). Common breeding resident.

65. Common Coot (Fulica atra). Very common winter visitor. Scarce in other seasons.

66. Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse (Pterocles exustus). Rare visitor. Seen in overhead flight.

67. Common Snipe (Gallinago gallinago). Common winter visitor.

68. Jack Snipe (Lymnocryptes minimus).Scarce winter visitor.

69. Black-tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa). Common winter visitor.

70. Spotted Redshank (Tringa erythropus). Very common winter visitor.

71. Common Redshank (Tringa totanus). Very common winter visitor.

72. Marsh Sandpiper (Tringa stagnatilis). Common winter visitor.

73. Common Greenshank (Tringa nebularia). Common winter visitor.

74. Green Sandpiper (Tringa ochropus). Very common winter visitor.

75. Wood Sandpiper (Tringa glareola). Very common winter visitor.

76. Common Sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos). Common winter visitor.

77. Little Stint (Calidris minuta). Common winter visitor.

78. Temminck's Stint (Calidris temminckii). Common winter visitor.

79. Ruff (Philomachus pugnax). Very common winter visitor.

80. Greater Painted-Snipe(Rostratula benghalensis). Scarce summer visitor. Probably breeds.

81. Eurasian Thick-knee (Burhinus oedicnemus). Scarce breeding resident.

82. Black-winged Stilt (Himantopus himantopus). Common breeding resident.

83. Pied Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta). Scarce resident.

84. Pheasant-tailed Jacana (Hydrophasianus chirurgus). Common in summer breeder.

85. Little Ringed Plover (Charadrius dubius). Common winter visitor and resident also.

86. Kentish Plover (Charadrius alexandrinus). Common winter visitor and passage migrant.

87. River Lapwing (Vanellus duvaucelii). Common breeding resident at the tail of the drain near the Yamuna.

88. Red-wattled Lapwing (Vanellus indicus). Very common breeding resident.

89. White-tailed Lapwing (Vanellus leucurus). Common winter visitor.

90. Pallas's Gull (Larus ichthyaetus). Rare winter visitor.

91. Brown-headed Gull (Larus brunnicephalus). Scarce winter visitor.

92. Black-headed Gull (Larus ridibundus). Scarce winter visitor.

93. Gull-billed Tern (Gelochelidon nilotica). Scarce visitor.

94. River Tern (Sterna aurantia). Scarce resident.

95. Black-bellied Tern (Sterna acuticauda). Rare visitor. Was very common during eighties. Latest record in May 2001.

96. Whiskered Tern (Childonias hybrida). Scarce visitor

97. Black-shouldered Kite(Elanus caerulus). Common breeding resident.

98. Black Kite (Milvus migrans). Common resident.

99. Grey-headed Fish Eagle (Ichthyophaga ichthyaetus). Winter vagrant. One in 24 December 1984 at Rithal village pond.

100. Egyptian Vulture (Neophron percnopterus). Common resident.

101. White-rumped Vulture(Gyps benghalensis). Rare visitor. Was very common breeding resident till nineties. Afterwards population crash.

102. Long-billed Vulture (Gyps indicus). Rare visitor. Was common till 1990. Afterwards population crash.

103. Short-toed Snake Eagle (Circaetus gallicus). Rare breeding resident.

104. Crested Serpent Eagle (Spilornis cheela). Rare winter visitor.

105. Eurasian Marsh Harrier (Circus aeruginosus). Very common winter visitor.

106. Hen Harrier (Circus cyaneus). Rare winter visitor.

107. Montagu's Harrier (Circus pygarus). Rare winter visitor.

108. Shikra (Accipiter badius). Common breeding resident.

109. Eurasian Sparrowhawk ( Accipiter nisus). Probably rare winter visitor.

110. Oriental Honey-Buzzard (Pernis ptilorynchus). Common breeding resident.

111. White-eyed Buzzard (Butastur teesa). Rare breeding resident.Was common till late eighties.

112. Common Buzzard (Buteo buteo). Scarce winter visitor.

113. Long-legged Buzzard (Buteo rufinus). Rare winter visitor.

114. Greater Spotted Eagle (Aquila clanga). Scarce winter visitor.

115. Steppe Eagle (Aquila nipalensis). Scarce winter visitor.

116. Imperial Eagle ( Aquila heliaca). Rare winter visitor.

117. Booted Eagle (Hieraaetus pennatus). Scarce winter visitor.

118. Lesser Kestrel (Falco naumanni). Rare winter visitor.

119. Common Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus). Scarce winter visitor.

120. Little Grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis). Very common breeding resident.

121. Darter (Anhinga melanogaster). Scarce breeding resident.

122. Little Cormorant (Phalacrocorax niger). Common breeding resident.

123. Indian Cormorant (Phalacrocorax fuscicollis). Common breeding resident.

124. Great Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo). Very common winter visitor. Scarce in summer.

125. Little Egret (Egretta garzetta). Very common breeding resident.

126. Great Egret (Casmerodius albus). Common breeding resident.

127. Intermediate Egret (Mesophoyx intermedia). Common breeding resident.

128. Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis). Very common breeding resident

129. Indian Pond Heron (Ardeola grayii). Very common breeding resident.

130. Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea). Very common breeding resident.

131. Purple Heron (Ardea purpurea). Common breeding resident.

132. Little Heron (Butorides striatus). Rare breeding resident.

133. Black-Crowned Night Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax). Scarce breeding resident.

134. Little Bittern (Ixobrychus minutus). Probably rare breeding resident.

135. Cinnamon Bittern (Ixobrychus cinnamoneus ). Probably rare breeding summer visitor

136. Yellow Bittern (Ixobrychus sinensis) Probably rare summer visitor

137. Glossy Ibis (Plegadisfalcinellus). Rare winter visitor.

138. Black-headed Ibis (Threskiornis melanocephalus). Common breeding resident.

139. Black Ibis (Pseudibis papillosa). Very common breeding resident.

140. Eurasian Spoonbill (Platalea leucorodia). Scarce resident.

141. Painted Stork (Mycteria leucocephala). Common resident.

142. Asian Openbill (Anastomus oscitans). Scarce resident.

143. Bay-backed Shrike (Lanius vittatus). Common breeding resident.

144. Long-tailed Shrike (Lanius schach). Common breeding resident.

145. Grey-backed Shrike (Lanius tephronotus). Rare winter visitor.

146. Southern Grey Shrike(Lanius meridionalis). Rare winter visitor. Common 15 years ago.

147. Rufous Treepie (Dendrocitta vagabunda). Common breeding resident.

148. House Crow (Corvus splendens). Very common breeding resident.

149. Large-billed Crow (Corvus macrorhynchos). Common breeding resident.

150. Eurasian Golden Oriole (Oriolus oriolus). Common summer breed visitor.

151. Small Minivet (Pericrocotus cinnamomeus). Scarce breeding resident.

152. White-bellied Minivet ( Pericrocotus erythropygius). Rare winter visitor. Only one record.

153. Long-tailed Minivet (Pericrocotus brevirostris). Rare winter visitor.

154. White-browed Fantail (Rhipidura aureola). Rare winter visitor.

155. Black Drongo (Dicrurus macrocercus). Very common breeding resident.

156. White-bellied Drongo (Dicrurus caerulescens). Rare passage migrant.

157. Asian Paradise-Flycatcher (Terpsiphone paradisi). Probably scarce summer visitor

158. Common Woodshrike (Tephrodornis pondicerianus). Very common breeding resident.

159. Blue Rock Thrush (Monticola solitarius). Vagrant winter visitor. 3 winter records.

160. Dark-throated Thrush (Turdus rufficolis). Vagrant or rare winter visitor. A few records.

161. Red-throated Flycatcher (Ficedula parva). Common winter visitor and passage migrant.

162. Grey-headed Canary Flycatcher (Culicicapa ceylonensis). Scarce winter visitor.

163. Bluethroat (Luscinia svecica). Common winter visitor.

164. Oriental Magpie Robin (Copsychus saularis). Common breeding resident.

165. Indian Robin (Saxicoloides fulicataI). Common breeding resident.

166. Black Redstart (Phoenicurus ochruros). Common winter visitor.

167. Common Stonechat (Saxicola torquata). Common winter visitor.

168. Pied Bushchat (Saxicola caprata). Very common breeding resident.

169. Brown Rock-chat (Cercomela fusca). Common resident.

170. Brahminy Starling (Sturnus sturninus). Scarce resident.

171. Rosy Starling (Sturnus roseus). Common passage migrant.

172. Common Starling (Sturnus vulgaris). Common winter visitor.

173. Asian Pied Starling (Sturnus contra). Very common breeding resident.

174. Common Myna (Acridotheres tristis). Very common breeding resident.

175. Bank Myna (Acridotheres ginginianus). Very common breeding resident

176. Great Tit (Parus major). Formerly rare visitor. Two records from eighties.

177. Sand Martin (Riparia riparia). Rare winter visitor.

178. Plain Martin (Riparia paludicola). Very common breeding resident.

179. Dusky Crag Martin (Hirundo concolor). Locally common resident.

180. Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica). Common winter visitor.

181. Wire-tailed Swallow (Hirundo smithii). Common breeding resident.

182. Red-rumped Swallow (Hirundo daurica). Scarce breeding resident. Sometimes very common.

183. Streak-throated Swallow (Hirundo fluvicola). Common breeding resident.

184. Red-whiskered Bulbul (Pycnonotus jacosus). Scarce breeding resident.

185. Red-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus cafer). Very common breeding resident

186. Grey-breasted Prinia (Prinia hodgsonii). Scarce breeding resident.

187. Yellow-bellied Prinia (Prinia flaviventris). Very common breeding resident.

188. Graceful Prinia (Prinia gracilis). Common breeding resident.

189. Plain Prinia (Prinia inornata). Common breeding resident.

190. Ashy Prinia (Prinia socialis). Very common breeding resident

191. Zitting Cisticola (Cisticola juncidis). Very common breeding resident.

192. Oriental White-eye (Zosterops palpebrosa). Very common breeding resident.

193. Paddyfield Warbler (Acrocephalus agricola). Scarce winter visitor.

194. Blyth's Reed Warbler (Acrocephalus dumetorum). Scarce passage migrant.

195. Clamorous Reed Warbler (Acrocephalus stentoreus). Scarce resident.

196. Booted Warbler (Hippolais caligata) . Scarce passage migrant.

197. Lesser Whitethroat (Sylvia curruca). Very common winter visitor.

198. Hume's Lesser Whitethroat (Sylvia althaea). Common winter visitor.

199. Orphean Warbler (Sylvia hortensis). Rare winter visitor.

200. Common Tailorbird (Orthotomus sutorius). Very common breeding resident.

201. Common Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus colybita). Common winter visitor.

202. Sulphur-bellied Warbler (Phylloscopus griseolus). Rare winter visitor.

203. Hume's Warbler ( Phylloscopus humei). Common winter visitor.

204. Greenish Warbler (Phylloscopus trochiloides). Very common winter visitor.

205. Yellow-eyed Babbler (Chrysomma sinense). Scarce breeding resident.

206. Common Babbler (Turdoides caudatus). Common breeding resident.

207. Striated Babbler (Turdoides earlei). Scarce resident. Breeding not recorded.

208. Large Grey Babbler (Turdoides malcolmi). Very common breeding resident.

209. Jungle Babbler (Turdoides striatus). Very common breeding resident

210. Rufous-winged Bushlark (Mirafra assamica). Probably scarce summer visitor.

211. Ashy-crowned Sparrow Lark (Eremopterix grisea). Scarce breeding resident.

212. Bimaculated Lark (Melanocorypha bimaculata}. Rare winter visitor.

213. Greater Short-toed Lark (Calandrella brachydactyla). Scarce winter visitor.

214. Hume's Short-toed Lark (Calandrella acutirostris). Scarce winter visitor.

215. Sand Lark (Calandrella raytal). Common breeding resident.

216. Crested Lark (Galerida cristata). Very common breeding resident.

217. Oriental Skylark (Alauda gulgula). Common breeding resident.

218. Purple Sunbird (Nectarinia asiatica). Very common breeding resident.

219. House Sparrow (Passer domesticus). Very common breeding resident.

220. Spanish Sparrow (Passer hispaniolensis). Scarce winter visitor.

221. Sind Sparrow (Passer pyrrhonotus) Scarce breeding resident in area. Colonised in 2001.

222. Chestnut-shouldered Petronia (Petronia xanthocollis). Common breeding resident.

223. White Wagtail (Motacilla alba). Very common winter visitor.

224. White-browed Wagtail (Motacilla maderaspatensis). Very common breeding resident.

225. Citrine Wagtail (Motacilla citreola). Common winter visitor.

226. Yellow Wagtail (Motacilla flava). Very common winter visitor.

227. Grey Wagtail (Motacilla cinerea). Scarce winter visitor.

228. Paddyfield Pipit (Anthus rufulus). Scarce breeding resident.

229. Tawny Pipit (Anthus campestris) . Scarce winter visitor.

230. Long-billed Pipit (Anthus similis). Scarce winter visitor.

231. Tree Pipit (Anthus trivialis). Common winter visitor.

232. Olive-backed Pipit (Anthus hodgsoni). Very common winter visitor.

233. Black-breasted Weaver (Ploceus benghalensis). Common breeding resident.

234. Streaked Weaver (Ploceus manyar). Very common breeding resident.

235. Baya Weaver (Ploceus philippinus). Very common breeding resident.

236. Red Avadavat (Amandava amandava). Scarce breeding resident.

237. Indian Silverbill (Lonchura malabarica). Scarce breeding resident

238. Common Rosefinch (Carpodacus erythrinus). Rare winter visitor.

239. Crested Bunting (Melophus lathami) Spring vagrant. One record 4/01.

240. White-capped Bunting (Emberiza stewarti). Rare winter visitor.

241. House Bunting (Emberiza striolata). Winter vagrant.

242. Red-headed Bunting (Emberiza bruniceps) Scarce winter visitor.

(Names of those who birded here with the author : Ashish Kothari, AJ Urfi, Anil Bhola, RK Bhutani, Pallava Bagla, Sharad Gaur, Subhadra Menon, Sunatha Padmanabhan, Usha Ganeshan, Maneka Singh, Bill Harvey, Clive Harris, Pratibha Pande, Sunita Rao, Suramya Mudgal, Vincent Van Ross, VM Tiwari, Geetanjali Tiwari, Sunita Chauwdhry and many others whose names I cannot recall)

Acknowledgement : I am grateful to Bill Harvey who has read my MS and given his valuable suggestions which have been incorporated.

References : Identification of the birds is based on our classic Handbook; Usha Ganguli's Field Guide to the birds of Delhi area; Grimmet, Inskipp and Inskipp's Pocket Guide and Krys's Field Guide to the birds of Indian Sub-continent

Suresh C. Sharma
Gokul Nagar, Rohtak Road
Sonipat 131001 (Haryana)

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