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Tuesday, September 15

Butterflies of India - Veined Labyrinth (Neope pulaha)

Veined Labyrinth is a Satyrine butterfly found in Asia. In India, it is recorded from the Himalayas – both from Western Himalayas and Eastern Himalayas.  We have recorded this butterfly from the Western Himalays, from Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh. So probably it is the West Himalayan subspecies Neope pulaha pandyia. 

Tuesday, August 25

Scaly Bellied Woodpecker - Birds of India

Scaly bellied woodpecker (Picus squamatus) is a beautiful woodpecker you will encounter in the foothills of Western Himalayas. The male of this species is noticeable with its red forehead and crown. Usually found in coniferous forest areas, it is also common in villages with forest patches. The bird mainly feeds on termites, ants and wood boring insects. During winter, they also eat berries.

Wednesday, August 19

New cycad species discovered from Odisha gets named after Nayagarh district

Cycas nayagarhensis,new cycad species, Nayagarh district, Odisha
Cycas nayagarhensis is a new cycad species discovered from Nayagarh district of Odisha
(Image courtesy: R. Singh/P. Radha/J.S. Khuraijam/AJCB)

Nayagarh district in Odisha has now one more reason to be special. It is the only known home for a newly discovered rare cycad species which is now named after the district as Cycas nayagarhensis. Due to its rare nature, the researchers have recommended it to be classified under Critically Endangered plants in the world.

Wednesday, August 12

Blackbuck herds in Blackbuck Sanctuary, Ranebennur - HD video

Blackbuck (Antilope cervicapra) is the fastest running antelope in India. Here you may watch a herd of female and young blackbucks at Ranebennur Blackbuck Sanctuary in Haveri district of the Indian state of Karnataka.

Tuesday, August 4

Netravali Leaping Frog, a new frog species endemic to Western Ghats discovered from Goa

Netravali Leaping Frog, Indirana salelkari
Netravali Leaping Frog (Indirana salelkari) [Image Courtesy: Vivek Kale]

Goa may be known for its beautiful beaches, but now it is home to a rare frog species yet unknown to the scientific world. A group of researchers have described a new species of leaping frog - now called Netravali Leaping Frog (Indirana salelkari) from Netravali (Neturlim) in Sanguem Taluk of South Goa district. The new discovery adds one more member to the Ranixalidae family of frogs which are endemic to Western Ghats.

Saturday, July 11

Banded Tit: A Butterfly new to science from Namdapha National Park in Arunachal Pradesh

Banded Tit (Hypolycaena narada) specimens at the Research Collections Facility, National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS), Bangalore [Image Courtesy: Krushnamegh Kunte/LRF/JRL]
In a very significant discovery for butterfly lovers, a researcher has described a Lycaenidae butterfly yet unknown to science from Namdapha National Park in eastern Arunachal Pradesh in North-East India. Now known as Banded Tit (Hypolycaena narada), this winged beauty is usually found along the stream sides in the mixed evergreen forests of Namdapha National Park.

Thursday, July 9

Hump-Nosed Pit Viper [ Hypnale hypnale] - Indian Snakes

Restricted to the Western Ghats of India and parts of Central Sri Lanka, Hump Nosed Pit Viper loves spending day in the leaf litter on the forest floor. This snake is a perfect example for camouflage, since spotting it in the leaf litter on the forest floor is a difficult task. 

Sunday, June 28

Poaching major reason for elephant deaths in the Nilgiris in the last three decades: New Study

Asian Elephant, wild elephant, Nilgiris, elephant poaching, elephant mortality
A wild Asian Elephant in Western Ghats, South India

Veerappan may be long gone, but poaching still tops the list as the major reason for elephant mortality during the last three decades in the Nilgiris. Trying to untangle the hidden patterns of elephant mortality in the Nilgiris reported during the 33 year period between 1979 to 2011, a new study reveals that 40 percent of the total elephant deaths from the region during the period were due to poaching. 

Wednesday, June 10

Butterflies of India - Himalayan Red Admiral

Himalayan Red Admiral (Vanessa indica indica) is a sub species of the Indian Red Admiral butterfly found mainly in the Himalayan region of India. In southern parts of India,  its close cousin Sahyadri Red Admiral (Vanessa indica pholoe) reigns the peaks of Western Ghats.

Friday, June 5

Happy Environment Day 2015 !

We would like to share a hope with our readers on this Environment Day,
that this mystic tree of life - our planet - sustain for long.

Lets pray that humans may someday turn more sensible about the ways they kill this tree of life, if not, let them perish, before they wipe out the last throbs of life on our mother earth.

May this mystic tree of life sustain long. . .

Happy Environment Day 2015 !

(Image: A moss covered tree from the shola forests of Southern Western Ghats of Kerala in India.)

Friday, May 29

Animal Behaviour - Himalayan Bulblul distracting intruders from chicks

We have recently spotted two himalayan bulbul chicks right out of their nest trying to fly for the first time. Apparently, their nest was inside a bathroom near a house. So when the mother bulbul spotted humans near the chicks who are trying to fly for the first time, it started showing a peculiar behavior.

Watch the Himalayan Bulbul trying to distract the intruders.

 The bird, with its wings and tail spread to the maximum view, was literally running all over the place in the opposite direction of where the chicks were siting. It was making a peculiar sound. Obviously, it was pretending as if it can not fly. this could be a way to distract a potentail enemy from the chicks. The intruder by following the prominent and bigger bird than the silent and static chicks will move away from them. 

Monday, April 6

Butterflies of India – Yellow Coster (Acraea issoria)

Yellow Coster (Acraea issoria) is a beautiful leathery winged butterfly with a weak but persistent flight, found in countries in the oriental region, like India, Thailand, China, Vietnam, Myanmar and Sumatra. In India, it is seen in the Himalayan foot hills of Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Mizoram, Nagaland, West Bengal and Sikkim, usually in valleys which are situated at an altitude between 500 to 1500 meters from sea level.

Wednesday, March 18

18 percent of the tiger deaths in 2014 were due to poaching: MoEF

tiger deaths, indian tigers, tiger paoching, tigers in India
70 percent of the wild tigers remaining in the world are found in India

Though the latest tiger population estimates in India point to an increase in the population of striped cats in the country, situation is far from safe for these big cats, shows the tiger mortality data from 2014. According to the data on tiger mortality from last year, 18 percent of the total tiger deaths in the country were due to confirmed cases of poaching. 75 per cent of the remaining cases of tiger deaths, authorities have not ruled out poaching as the cause.

Friday, March 6

Butterflies of India – Commander (Moduza procris)

Commander is one of the most beautiful butterflies in India. You may spot this vividly coloured butterfly right from Southern Western Ghats to North Eastern regions. The brilliant reddish brown on its upper side will attract your attention easily.

Usually seen along forest roads, water courses, open places and even close to villages, especially if its larval host plant Mussaenda is available around. If you are planning to take a close look at a Commander, its usual posture of wings pressed flat helps you get a good look. However, if you go close, it will take short flights and keep the distance.

This is part of the Butterflies of India series in Indian Biodiversity Talk's YouTube Channel.

Tuesday, February 24

Malabar Wildlife Sanctuary adds five new records to its avian fauna

Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher, Ceyx erithaca, Malabar Wildlife Sanctuary
An Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher (Ceyx erithaca) spotted at Malabar Wildlife Sanctuary during the annual population survey
(Image Credit: Malabar Natural History Society)
      The annual population survey of butterflies and birds at Malabar Wildlife Sanctuary in Kerala has added five more species of birds and eight new species of butterflies to the documented biodiversity of the sanctuary. The survey which was jointly carried out by Kerala Forests & Wildlife Department and Malabar Natural History Society during the second week of February was able to record 123 different species of birds at this small sanctuary situated in the Kozhikode district of Kerala.

Thursday, February 19

Chizmi: A Village of Butterflies in Nagaland

yellow coster, nagaland butterflies, chizmi village, butterfly diverity
Yellow Coster is one of the 212 species of butterflies documented at the village of Chizmi

Chizmi may give the impression of any other typical village in North-East India- scenic with lush greenery and its forests. But today this village stands out as an illustrative example of Nagaland’s butterfly diversity. As per the results of a butterfly survey conducted at Chizmi for a period of three years from 2011 to 2014, the village is home to some 212 different species of butterflies. The study is the first of its kind to carry out in Nagaland, after a period of more than 90 years.

Sunday, February 15

Birds of India – Streaked Laughingthrush (Trochalopteron lineatum)

Streaked Laughingthrush (Trochalopteron lineatum) is a passerine seen in North India, especially in the Himalayas. It is a common bird you will find in the hilly areas of Himachal Pradesh. It has a wider geographic range including countries Afghanistan; China; Nepal; Pakistan; Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Recorded from Galu Devi temple in Dharamkot, near Dharamshala in HP.

This is a part of our Birds of India Series of Videos.

Subscribe to Indian Biodiversity Talks at YouTube for rare wildlife videos from India.

Sunday, February 8

Human babies as crocodile bait: hunting practices of the British in Colonial India

mugger crocodile, Crocodylus palustris, crocodile hunting
A mugger crocodile (Crocodylus palustris) under captivity in an Indian Zoo.
  The idea of using live human babies as crocodile bait may sound horrific, but the 19th century British hunters in colonial Sri Lanka and India found the idea so charming for big game hunting. A recent review of the 19th century records reveal that at least some British crocodile hunters during the colonial rule used live babies rented from the natives as bait to lure crocodiles.

Monday, February 2

Tawny Emperor and Comic Oakblue butterflies spotted in India after 100 years

Comic Blue, Arhopala comica, Tawny Emporer, Chitoria ulupi ulupi, rare butterfly
Comic Oakblue (Arhopala comica)  and Tawny Emporer (Chitoria ulupi ulupi)
Image Credit: 
Tshetsholo Naro/North East Network/JOTT

Butterfly enthusiasts in India have enough reasons to cheer up. Recently published results of a butterfly survey in the far north east state of Nagaland reveal that two rare butterflies have been recorded from here after a long gap of 100 years. As per the results of the survey, Tawny Emperor (Chitoria ulupi ulupi) and Comic Oakblue (Arhopala comica) butterflies were spotted at the village of Chizmi in the Phek District of South Eastern Nagaland. The last known record of these two species from India dates back to 1914. 

Tuesday, January 20

Tiger Population in India shows 30.5 percent increase in 2014

A tiger under captivity in a zoo in Mangalore, Karnataka.

As per the latest estimates released by the Ministry of Environment and Forests, the number of tigers found in the wild, in India increased from 1706 in 2010 to 2226 in 2014. The new figures shows that there is a 30.5 percent increase in the tiger population compared to the last estimate. The results of the survey show that states like Karnataka, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and Kerala marked an increase in the tiger population.

According to the press release issued by Press Information Bureau, the figures were released by Prakash Javadekar, Minister of Environment, Forests and Climate Change in the inaugural address at the two day meeting of the Chief Wildlife Wardens of Tiger States and Field Directors of Tiger Reserves. According to the minister conservation efforts related to Special Tiger Protection Force, Special Programme for Orphan Tiger cubs, efforts to control poaching and initiatives to minimize Human-Animal conflict and encroachment have resulted in the growth of tiger population in the country. 

The figures are derived from a comprehensive survey of 18 Tiger States, covering an area of 3,78,118 sq.kms of Forest Area. The double sampling procedure used in the survey, using camera traps made a total of 1540 unique Tiger Photo captures. 

“The third round of independent Management Effectiveness Evaluation of Tiger Reserves has shown an overall improvement in the score of 43 Tiger Reserves from 65% in 2010-11 to 69 in 2014”, says the release. Moreover, the forest cover assessment also indicates improvement. “The assessment of Forest Cover Change in Tiger Landscape of Shivalik-Gangetic Plain has indicated an improvement of forest cover in core areas of Tiger Reserves”, says the release.

Tuesday, January 13

Birds of India- Red Billed Chough

One among the only two species belonging to the Pyrrhocorax genus, Red-billed Chough (Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax) will redraw the popular Indian idea of black crow. Though a member of the crow family, unlike the Indian Jungle Crow or House Crow, the Red Billed Chough has red beaks, and legs and a very different call (Watch the video, if you have never heard the call of Red Billed Chough !)

You can find Red - billed Choughs in the Himalayas. In Himachal Pradesh, if you are lucky, you may find them in Manali and Great Himalayan National Park. But when ever you go to more heights, you have more chances of spotting this bird. This video was shot from Komic Village in Kaza, Spiti Valley, Himachal Pradesh in India. We were lucky to find its close relative – Alpine Chough or Yellow Billed Chough also from the same village.

Visit our YouTube Channel to watch more wildlife Videos from India.

Thursday, January 8

Colonies of rare Wroughton’s Free-tailed Bats spotted from Jaintia Hills in Meghalaya

Wroughton’s Free-tailed Bat (Otomops wroughtoni)
[Image:By Kalyanvarma (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons]

Researchers located three new roosts of the rare Wroughton’s Free-tailed Bat (Otomops wroughtoni), from Jaintia Hills in Meghalaya in the North Eastern India. According to the researchers, this rare bat species is so far known only by three records –from Meghalaya, Western Ghats of India and from Cambodia. 

The researchers have spotted the bat colonies while undertaking an exploration facilitated by the Meghalaya Adventures Association to identify new caves in the south-western parts of the Jaintia Hills in Meghalaya. While exploring these caves which are located in a 15 kilometer radius around the village Lakadong, the researchers have found different bat species in 13 caves. Among these, they were able to spot Wroughton’s Free-tailed Bat from two caves situated near Pynurkba and Umlatdoh villages. Though they were able to detect the sound signals of the bats from a third cave, they were not able to spot the bats since it was a very narrow crevice. According to the account of the researchers, which is published in the Journal of Threatened Taxa, the roosts have at least 90 members.