Mishmi Hills
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An Annotated List of Birds seen in Eastern Arunachal
 ~ by Sumit Sen
18 November  ~ 25 November 2007


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Hill Partridge Arborophila torqueola  - Heard regularly in the Mayodia area.

Sclater's Monal Lophophorus sclateri – Two stunning males were observed by the roadside about two kilometers beyond Mayodia Pass on the way to Hunli. The extent of chestnut banding on the tail (see image) is suggestive of an intermediate between the nominate, and the all white-tailed arunachalensis ssp.

Kalij Pheasant Lophura leucomelanos – One male seen briefly about 5 kms. North of Hunli. Likely to be of the lathami race based on range.

Ruddy Shelduck Tadorna ferruginea – seen in great numbers on and around the Lohit River. Also at roost on the mudbanks at Dibru-Saikhowa.

Gadwall Anas strepera – A few on the Lohit

Mallard Anas platyrhynchos – Pair seen during the ferry –crossing on the Lohit

Northern Pintail Anas acuta – Flock in flight across the Lohit.

Common Teal Anas crecca – Flock at Dibru-Saikhowa.   

Common Pochard Aythya ferina - Flock at Dibru-Saikhowa

Ferruginous Pochard Aythya nyroca – Few in mixed flock at Dibru-Saikhowa

Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula - In a mixed flock at Dibru-Saikhowa. The flock may have contained a few Baer’s Pochards also but positive identification was not possible in the conditions prevailing.   

Speckled Piculet Picumnus innominatus – A single bird seen feeding high in the canopy at about the 9km marker on the Roing-Hunli road.

White-browed Piculet Sasia ochracea – A noisy bird feeding on bamboo was observed for some length of time close to the Dibang Valley Jungle Camp (12th Mile)

Rufous Woodpecker Celeus brachyurus – One record from the Roing area.

Greater Yellownape Picus flavinucha – A couple observed in a mixed flock of Barbets and other species about 5 kms before the Ithun River crossing in the Hunli area.

Greater Flameback Chrysocolaptes lucidus - Jokai Forest

Great Barbet Megalaima virens – Regularly heard at all elevations in the Mishmis and seen a few times.

Lineated Barbet Megalaima lineata – A few on the Hunli – Ryalli stretch

Golden-throated Barbet Megalaima franklinii – About half dozen seen from close on a fruiting tree close to the Ithun river at about 2000 feet. Also observed elsewhere in the Hunli area.

Blue-throated Barbet Megalaima asiatica – Observed in the Roing area

Blue-eared Barbet Megalaima australis – single bird seen by two observers from a distance on the road between Hunli and Ryalli at about 2500 feet.

Wreathed Hornbill Aceros undulatus – A flock of 11 birds seen in roosting flight over the Ithun river.

Red-headed Trogon Harpactes erythrocephalus – Pair on riverside trees – Ithun river.

Indian Roller Coracias benghalensis – Common in the lowlands of Assam. All birds of the race affinis as is expected.

White-throated Kingfisher Halcyon smyrnensis – Lowlands

Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis - Roadside views in Assam valley

Pied Kingfisher Ceryle rudis – seen in flight over the Lohit River. 

Green Bee-eater Merops orientalis – Roadside in Assam

Asian Koel Eudynamys scolopacea – Heard in the Dibrugarh area

Himalayan Swiftlet Collocalia brevirostris – small flock over the Ithun River, Hunli area.

Asian Palm Swift Cypsiurus balasiensis – Jokai forest area, Dibrugarh

Spotted Owlet Athene brama – Seen in the Mancotta Bungalow, Dibrugarh.

Rock Pigeon Columba livia – Feral birds observed in most areas

Spotted Dove Streptopelia chinensis – not common in the hills

Barred Cuckoo Dove Macropygia unchall – 5 birds seen well on the Hunli – Ryalli road.

Emerald Dove Chalcophaps indica – Jokai Forest, Dibrugarh

Pompadour Green Pigeon Treron pompadora – Large feeding flock of ssp. Phayrei seen well in the Jokai Forest area.

© Sumit Sen

Pin-tailed Green Pigeon Treron apicauda – lone bird seen near the Dibang Valley Camp in Roing.

White-breasted Waterhen Amaurornis phoenicurus – Jokia forest

Common Moorhen Gallinula chloropus - Jokia forest

Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola – Roadside views in Assam valley

Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos - Roadside views in Assam valley

Temminck's Stint Calidris temminckii – Dibru-Saikhowa

Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius – Dibru-Saikhowa

Northern Lapwing Vanellus vanellus - Flock in flight near the Lohit River.

Red-wattled Lapwing Vanellus indicus – Pair by the waterside at Jokai

Pallas's Gull Larus ichthyaetus – A few seen from the ferry on the Lohit

Osprey Pandion haliaetus – Lohit River crossing

Oriental Honey-buzzard Pernis ptilorhyncus – A couple in the lowlands

Black-shouldered Kite Elanus caeruleus – A few on roadside power lines in Assam valley

Black Kite Milvus migrans – Lowlands, Assam

White-rumped Vulture Gyps bengalensis - Lone bird on the road to Dibrugrah.

Himalayan Griffon Gyps himalayensis – Pair riding the thermals observed at Mayodia.

Crested Goshawk Accipiter trivirgatus – Bird in display flight over the Dibang River basin, Roing area.

Eurasian Sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus – Displaying pair in flight over Mayodia Pass. Pair on the cliffs also at Mayodia.

Common Buzzard Buteo buteo – A few seen. Good views near the Itapani River, Roing.

Black Eagle Ictinaetus malayensis – Observed flying over the canopy from Dibang Valley Jungle Camp, Roing. Also elsewhere in the Roing – Mayodia area.

Rufous-bellied Eagle Hieraaetus kienerii – A pale Hawk Eagle seen at about 6000 feet on the Roing – Mayodia road could have been a juvenile bird of this species. Confirmation, however, has not been possible.

Mountain Hawk Eagle Spizaetus nipalensis – observed on 4/7 days.

Common Kestrel Falco tinnunculus – One seen at the Jungle Camp, Roing. Others on the road in Assam.

Red-necked Falcon Falco chicquera – Bird in overhead flight over Banshree Lodge, Dibru-Saikhowa.

Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus - A couple on the Lohit River, Assam.

Darter Anhinga melanogaster – a few at Dibru-Saikhowa

Little Cormorant Phalacrocorax niger - At Dibru-Saikhowa and elsewhere in Assam.

Indian Cormorant Phalacrocorax fuscicollis – Roosting flight at Dibru-Saikhowa

Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo – one swimming in the Ithun River rapids. Roosting birds at Dibru-Saikhowa

Little Egret Egretta garzetta - Dibru-Saikhowa

Great Egret Casmerodius albus - Dibru-Saikhowa

Intermediate Egret Mesophoyx intermedia - Dibru-Saikhowa

Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis – common in the lowlands

Indian Pond Heron Ardeola grayii - A few encountered in the lowlands

Black Stork Ciconia nigra – Three birds on the Lohit River.

Lesser Adjutant Leptoptilos javanicus - A single bird seen by one observer from far during the Lohit ferry crossing.

Long-tailed Broadbill Psarisomus dalhousiae – Ithun River area, Hunli.

Asian Fairy Bluebird Irena puella – Single male near the Cuckoo Dove location.

Orange-bellied Leafbird Chloropsis hardwickii – Fairly common in the Mishmi Hills. Observed on most days.

© Sumit Sen

Brown Shrike Lanius cristatus – Roadside views in Assam on the drive from Dibrugarh to Sadiya Ghat.

Long-tailed Shrike Lanius schach - Roadside views in Assam and also in the Arunachal plains.

Grey-backed Shrike Lanius tephronotus – A few in the lower hills near Roing.

Eurasian Jay Garrulus glandarius – A rather compact bird seen well at 8,500 meters near Mayodia Pass.

Yellow-billed Blue Magpie Urocissa flavirostris – Regular in the Mayodia Pass area.

Common Green Magpie Cissa chinensis – Encountered thrice in the Mishmi Hills. A flock at the Hunli Inspection Bungalow was a bonus.

Rufous Treepie Dendrocitta vagabunda – Assam plains

Grey Treepie Dendrocitta formosae – Common in the Hunli – Ryalli area. Scarce elsewhere. Some birds seen in flight and recorded as this species could have been Collared, but again confirmation has not been possible.

House Crow Corvus splendens – Assam

Large-billed Crow Corvus macrorhynchos – not common  

Black-hooded Oriole Oriolus xanthornus – Dibrugarh area, Assam

Maroon Oriole Oriolus traillii – Observed in the Roing and Hunli areas.

Large Cuckooshrike Coracina macei – Seen in the Jokai Forest area, Assam

Black-winged Cuckooshrike Coracina melaschistos – Feeding birds at Jokai Forest.

Short-billed Minivet Pericrocotus brevirostris – A couple in the Hunli area.

Scarlet Minivet Pericrocotus flammeus – Minivets were scarce on this trip. These were seen on the last day in the Jokai area.

Yellow-bellied Fantail Rhipidura hypoxantha – Regular in the hills

White-throated Fantail Rhipidura albicollis – Individuals were heard or seen on most days.

© Sumit Sen

Black Drongo Dicrurus macrocercus – Lowlands

Ashy Drongo Dicrurus leucophaeus – Met in the lower elevations

Bronzed Drongo Dicrurus aeneus – Fairly common in the Hunli area.

Lesser Racket-tailed Drongo Dicrurus remifer – Seen twice. Once in the Hunli area and near the camp at Roing.

Greater Racket-tailed Drongo Dicrurus paradiseus – Observed in mixed hunting flocks in both the Roing and Hunli areas.

Common Iora Aegithina tiphia – The Jokai forest held a few of these.

Brown Dipper Cinclus pallasii – Lone bird on the Ithun River near the bridge.

Blue Whistling Thrush Myophonus caeruleus – Commoner on the Hunli-Ryalli road then elsewhere.

White-collared Blackbird Turdus albocinctus – A couple in the Mayodia Pass area.

Grey-winged Blackbird Turdus boulboul – A flock of six at Mayodia Pass. Individuals also observed in the higher elevations.

Chestnut Thrush Turdus rubrocanus – Seen by two observers in flight with the Grey-winged Blackbirds in the Mayodia area.

Rufous-gorgeted Flycatcher Ficedula strophiata – Good views of a pair in the Hunli area.

Red-throated Flycatcher Ficedula parva albicilla – Only observed in the plains. One at the Mancotta Bungalow, Dibrugarh.

Little Pied Flycatcher Ficedula westermanni – A pair in the Jokai Forest

Slaty-blue Flycatcher Ficedula tricolor – Fairly regular in roadside shrubbery though very hard to observe well.

Verditer Flycatcher Eumyias thalassina  - A lone bird in the plains of Assam.

Small Niltava Niltava macgrigoriae  - A few in the Jokai Forest.

Vivid Niltava Niltava vivida ?  - A perched brown flycatcher seen from a distance with an obvious pale throat could have been a female of this species. The bird was observed in the Mayodia Pass area and was using the middle level of a significantly large tree. The dark male gave very brief views.

Hill Blue Flycatcher Cyornis banyumas – A couple of the whitei race in dense roadside vegetation about 3 kms downhill from the Dibang valley Camp, Roing. This species is rarely reported from India.

Grey-headed Canary Flycatcher Culicicapa ceylonensis – Single sighting from the Roing area. Several in Jokai

Oriental Magpie Robin Copsychus saularis – Roing area and Assam plains

Hodgson's Redstart Phoenicurus hodgsoni – A stunning male on the Ithun River, Hunli and a female on the banks of the Itapani River, Roing were the only records.

Blue-fronted Redstart Phoenicurus frontalis – The most regular redstart on the trip.   

White-capped Water Redstart Chaimarrornis leucocephalus – A few near fast-flowing streams/rivers.

Plumbeous Water Redstart Rhyacornis fuliginosus – Found in the same habitat as the previous species.

Black-backed Forktail Enicurus immaculatus – Few birds on the road near the Ithun River, Hunli

Slaty-backed Forktail Enicurus schistaceus – Abundant on the drive from Hunli to the Ithun River bridge. 

Siberian Stonechat Saxicola maura – Dark birds with rich rufous-buff underparts were indicative of the przewalskii ssp. At Roing and at Dibru-Saikhowa.

Grey Bushchat Saxicola ferrea – Uncommon in the hills. Two birds at Roing Camp.

Chestnut-tailed Starling Sturnus malabaricus  - Plains

Asian Pied Starling Sturnus contra – Assam plains

Common Myna Acridotheres tristis 

Jungle Myna Acridotheres fuscus  - Assam plains and Roing. 

Chestnut-bellied Nuthatch Sitta castanea – Observed at Roing near the Jungle Camp. 

White-tailed Nuthatch Sitta himalayensis – Between Hunli and Mayodia.

Green-backed Tit Parus monticolus – Regular but few. 

Yellow-cheeked Tit Parus spilonotus – A few in a big hunting flock about 5 kms from Hunli on the road to Ryalli.

Sultan Tit Melanochlora sultanea – Seen twice in hunting flocks near Hunli and Mayodia.

Plain Martin Riparia paludicola – A few over the Lohit River

Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica  - Lohit River area

Red-rumped Swallow Hirundo daurica - Lohit River

Nepal House Martin Delichon nipalensis – Big feeding flock between Mayodia and Roing. Not met elsewhere.

Striated Bulbul Pycnonotus striatus. Seen between Roing and Mayodia 

Red-whiskered Bulbul Pycnonotus jocosus – Common at lower elevations and especially at the Jungle Camp. Birds were darker than the nominate and belonged to the monticola ssp.

Red-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus cafer – Common at lower elevations

White-throated Bulbul Alophoixus flaveolus – Large feeding flock near the Ithun River, Hunli. Also seen near Dibang Valley Jungle Camp, Roing. 

Ashy Bulbul Hemixos flavala – Regular in the Roing area.

Black Bulbul Hypsipetes leucocephalus – Abundant in the hills. Some flying flocks numbered over 500 birds.  Nigrescens race of NE India.

Hill Prinia Prinia atrogularis – Two pairs in the scrub on the road between Hunli and the Ithun bridge.

Oriental White-eye Zosterops palpebrosus – Uncommon

Grey-bellied Tesia Tesia cyaniventer – Single observation in the Hunli area.

Brownish-flanked Bush Warbler Cettia fortipes – A lone sighting in the scrub next to the Hunli IB.

Common Tailorbird Orthotomus sutorius – Strangely uncommon. Roing area.

Buff-barred Warbler Phylloscopus pulcher – Single observer record. Mayodia Pass area.

Ashy-throated Warbler Phylloscopus maculipennis – Uncommon. A few met on the trip.

Yellow-browed Warbler Phylloscopus inornatus – The commonest phylloscopus – usually in association with Rufous-vented Yuhinas.

Blyth's Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus reguloides – Single record. Near Mayodia Pass.

Grey-cheeked Warbler Seicercus poliogenys – A few in the mixed hunting flock with tits and fulvettas near Hunli.

Black-faced Warbler Abroscopus schisticeps – Lovely flock of six birds at the 40th Mile between Roing & Mayodia.

White-crested Laughingthrush Garrulax leucolophus – Observed twice in the Ithun River area, Hunli.

Striated Laughingthrush Garrulax striatus – Small flocks seen in the Hunli area. The birds were of the cranbrooki ssp. marked by indistinct crown streaking, displayed a broad dark supercilium and were very likely streaked on the body. 

Grey-sided Laughingthrush Garrulax caerulatus – Surprisingly bold flocks in and around Mayodia Pass. The birds in the area had very large white cheek patches as would be expected in the more southern subcaerulatus ssp. However, the outertail-tips did not have any white in them and were more like one would expect in the nominate. The bone white tarsus were a feature.

© Sumit Sen 

Black-faced Laughingthrush Garrulax affinis – Regular in the Mayodia Pass area. These were dark birds and belonged to the bethelae race.

Chestnut-crowned Laughingthrush Garrulax erythrocephalus – Regular. Commonest laughingthrush species on the trip. One expects the more olive-brown imprudens ssp. in the area visited but field views were not good enough to determine racial variation.

Red-faced Liocichla Liocichla phoenicea – Single observer sighting of a lone bird between Hunli and the Ithun River bridge.

White-browed Scimitar Babbler Pomatorhinus schisticeps - Single observer sighting of a roadside pair near Hunli.

Coral-billed Scimitar Babbler Pomatorhinus ferruginosus – Great views on more than one occasion. Fairly large feeding flock at the 40th Mile and individuals in the Hunli area. The rich chestnut throat and and black crown mark the birds out as the nominate species.

Pygmy Wren Babbler Pnoepyga pusilla – One bird seen well and flushed near the Camp at Roing.

Rusty-throated Wren Babbler Spelaeornis badeigularis – Brief single observer sighting of a lone bird at the 40th Mile between Roing and Mayodia. Like this bird, at least three more responded to the call of the Rufous-throated but did not show themselves.

Rufous-capped Babbler Stachyris ruficeps – Small flock at Mayodia. Some authorities place these birds under a separate rufipectus race based on the marginally darker and warmer-tinged plumage (than the nominate).

Golden Babbler Stachyris chrysaea – Seen twice in the Hunli area.

Grey-throated Babbler Stachyris nigriceps - Single observer sighting in the Roing area.

Red-billed Leiothrix Leiothrix lutea – Uncommon. Hunli area.

Black-headed Shrike Babbler Pteruthius rufiventer Single observer sighting in the Roing area.

Black-eared Shrike Babbler Pteruthius melanotis – Regular in small numbers with other species.

Rusty-fronted Barwing Actinodura egertoni – With Coral-billed Scimitar Babbler and Beautiful Sibias between Mayodia and Roing. Race lewisi of the Mishmi Hills with dark chestnut foreparts and greyer hindcrown and nape.

© Sumit Sen 

Streak-throated Barwing Actinodura waldeni – Roing and Hunli area. Not common.

Chestnut-tailed Minla Minla strigula – One large feeding flock between Mayodia and Roing. Also met elsewhere in the Hunli area. The Mishmi area birds have an olive-washed crown and upperparts and belong to the yunnanensis race.

Red-tailed Minla Minla ignotincta – Near the Ithun River, Hunli.

Yellow-throated Fulvetta Alcippe cinerea – Common and abundant but difficult to observe well.

Rufous-winged Fulvetta Alcippe castaneceps – Only a few near the Ithun River, Hunli.

Streak-throated Fulvetta Alcippe cinereiceps – A few seen well near Mayodia Pass. Not seen in large flocks – usually in pairs. Described as a full species (Manipur Fulvetta - Alcippe manipurensis) by Rasmussen in the BSA, the range as described does not extend to the Mishmi Hills area. Birds met (see image) are as described for a.manipurensis. 

Nepal Fulvetta Alcippe nipalensis – Roing area and elsewhere. Not uncommon.

Beautiful Sibia Heterophasia pulchella – Widespread and common at elevations over 3,000 feet.

Long-tailed Sibia Heterophasia picaoides – A flock of six seen early in the morning near the 12th Mile, Roing was the only sighting of this species.

White-naped Yuhina Yuhina bakeri – A few observed in the Hunli area.

Whiskered Yuhina Yuhina flavicollis – Regular. Darker birds of the rouxi race were observed.

Stripe-throated Yuhina Yuhina gularis – Small flock Mayodia Pass. Seen elsewhere in the Mayodia-Hunli area. 

Rufous-vented Yuhina Yuhina occipitalis – One of the commonest species seen on this trip. This and the following species were seen in large hunting flocks in most areas of the Mishmi Hills.

White-bellied Yuhina Yuhina zantholeuca – Regular. Most often seen with the previous species.

© Sumit Sen

Sand Lark Calandrella raytal – A few at Dibru-Saikhowa National Park.

Mrs Gould's Sunbird Aethopyga gouldiae – Single observation in the Mayodia area.

Green-tailed Sunbird Aethopyga nipalensis – Hunli area

Black-throated Sunbird Aethopyga saturata – Commonest sunbird species. Particularly evident in the Roing area.

Crimson Sunbird Aethopyga siparaja  - Male seen well in the Jokai Forest.

Streaked Spiderhunter Arachnothera magna – Pair feeding at 10th Mile, Roing.

Rufous-breasted Accentor Prunella strophiata – Single bird near the 70th Mile between Hunli and Mayodia.

House Sparrow Passer domesticus  - Assam plains

Eurasian Tree Sparrow Passer montanus – Uncommon 

White Wagtail Motacilla alba – A few on the Itapani River, Roing

Citrine Wagtail Motacilla citreola – Dibru-Saikhowa area

Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava  - Dibru-Saikhowa area

Paddyfield Pipit Anthus rufulus – One at Sadiya Ghat, Assam

Olive-backed Pipit Anthus hodgsoni – Regular on the road and many at the 75th Mile.

Scaly-breasted Munia Lonchura punctulata - Plains

Dark-breasted Rosefinch Carpodacus nipalensis – Many males on the road between Roing and Mayodia.

Gold-naped Finch Pyrrhoplectes epauletta – Single female at the 50th Mile on the road between Roing and Mayodia.

Chestnut-eared Bunting Emberiza fucata – Many on roadside open grass near the 75th Mile mark.

- Birds of the Indian Subcontinent - Richard Grimmett & Tim Inskipp. Helm Field Guide
- A Field Guide to the Birds of India - Krys Kazmierczak. Pica Press
- Birds of South-east Asia - Craig Robson. New Holland
- Handbook of the Birds of India and Pakistan (Vol. I-X) - S. Ali & S. D. Ripley. OUP
- Birds of South Asia (BSA) ~ The Ripley Guide - Pamela Rasmussen et al. Lynx Edicions 2005

Complied by: Sumit Sen



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