Birds of Bhigwan – In Breeding Plumage

Bhigwan Bird Sanctuary is rightly called the Bharatpur of Maharashtra, as it is home to hundreds of resident and migratory birds. Located around 100 km away from Pune, it is the perfect weekend destination for bird watchers and photographers.

I really wanted to visit Bhgiwan in February for the great number of migratory birds found there during the winter. Unfortunately, I couldn’t because of a hectic contract job. So I gave my name to visit the place in April. I was a little sad as there is less bird density in April. Until my mentor said that it’s going to be the breeding season for most of the birds!

Most of the male birds exhibit a different feather pattern during summer in order to attract the female. In this process, their plumage looks very beautiful and colourful. Now that I think about it, I’m glad I couldn’t go in winter.

If you’re too bored to read ahead, you can check out my vlogs at Bhigwan down below. I was on a two-day trip to Bhigwan and you’ll find a separate video for each day.

Here are a few beautiful birds I found at Bhigwan this summer; some of them flaunting their breeding plumage.

1. Flamingo

The bird everyone longs to see at Bhigwan is the Flamingo. In winter, you can see hundreds of them flying and wading through the water. In summer, they are less in number. But that makes it easier to isolate them for a photograph.



2. River Tern

It is a bit difficult to photograph the River Tern as it flies very fast. I got lucky when this one made a sharp turn to dive into the water for fish. Bonus points as the Tern was displaying its breeding plumage.



3. Little Ringed Plover

We get to see the bright yellow eye-ring on the Little Ringed Plover only if it is breeding. Now I’m really happy I didn’t go to Bhigwan in February!



4. Black Drongo

Here is a Black Drongo on its way to building a nest. These birds are indeed busy making arrangements for the breeding season.



5. Indian Pond Heron

I have met and photographed the Indian Pond Heron many times. But only this time, in its breeding plumage. Notice the shiny green and blue hues near its beak and little feathers sticking out.



6. Oriental Pranticole

It is a sight for sore eyes to watch the Oriental Pranticole wading through the water in Bhigwan. It is very difficult to distinguish it from the Collared Pranticole, which looks quite similar.



7. Asian Openbill

Like other storks, the Asian Openbill is a broad-winged soaring bird which usually flies in flocks. Although I could see many of them flying in solitude, like this one.



8. Painted Stork

This Painted Stork did us a favour by posing for us for quite some time. I went down low in my boat for this ground level shot.



9. Grey Heron

You can’t click enough pictures of the Grey Heron at Bhigwan. They are literally everywhere – on the trees, in the grass, in the water!



10. Yellow-wattled Lapwing

Bhigwan is one of the few places where you find the Yellow-wattled Lapwing. It has a sharp call and is capable of fast flight.



In addition to the above, I also met so many cormorants, ducks, swallows, egrets, etc. at Bhigwan. This time I also saw the Indian Grey Hornbill and Purple Heron, which is pretty rare! Bhigwan is a haven for avid nature lovers and bird watchers. You must definitely consider visiting the place next winter or summer. But if you go in the summer, don’t forget your cap!







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