THE BOOK OF INDIAN BIRDS SALIM ALI PDF

Shelves: bird-watching I would put it as just sufficient for starting out. It does not overwhelm you with innumerable similar looking birds and you feel quite in control. And best of all is the language The description for the common babbler just makes you smile at the precisely put words. Birds of the indian subcontinent by Grimmet and another one by the same name by Kazmierczak are perhaps more I would put it as just sufficient for starting out.

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Salim Ali and J. Daniel; The Book of Indian Birds, 13th ed. First published in , it was the first birding book meant for the average Indian lay person.

All earlier books had been published in London, and were largely meant for British audiences and were mostly unavailable in India. This volume achieved mass sales with its low-cost and excellent descriptions, although the artwork, as Ali concedes in his introduction to the edition, were sometimes "downright bad".

My brother gifted me a copy of the 11th edition in , and i have used the book simply to study the birds that come to my lawn - of which there are some species I live in a rich eco-sphere. Since or so, I have been taking bird-watching more seriously, going further afield in search of birds and maintaining a blog. Another innovation was on specifying size. Quoting from the edition: To me it seems that describing the Spotted Dove, for example, as "Between the Myna and the Pigeon" gives a far clearer idea of the size than "Length 12 inches.

Crow : 17" B Quail : " H. Kite: 24" C Bulbul : 8" I. Duck: 24" D Myna : 9" J. Village hen: " E. Pigeon : 13" K. Vulture 36" F. Partridge: 13" To me, this scale makes immense sense to anyone familiar with the Indian landscape not birds in particular. The book has undergone many changes in the intervening years, but these features remain useful, and continue. We realize that being the size of a "myna" may be less helpful for an international birdwatcher, but for an Indian it seems obvious.

This is the sense in which it is a book meant for the Indian audience, whom it has served very well indeed over many decades. To my mind, this still remains the best book to buy for the inexperienced amateur birdwatcher. These have been retained in the 13th edition, so the field guide part of the book is quite useful.

This list does not cover many of the rarer species - South Asia sees about species, and [Grimmett etal] list on plates. Grimmett is therefore more comprehensive, even listing some 95 more than the Handbook, which had species new sightings and species re-classification accounting for the increase.

The list of birds is not meant to be comprehensive, but it does cover almost everything the beginning bird-watcher may encounter. Much of the beauty and interest in birds lies in their behaviour, and this I feel is much better served, at least for the majority of the birds an average birdwatcher is likely to encounter, in the Ali edition than in Grimmett or other more comprehensive but sparser volumes. The one thing missing in this volume, compared to Grimmett or Grewal, are maps showing where the bird is most likely to be found.

Common names of Indian birds From this edition, the taxonomy of the birds shifted to the newer DNA based system, originally proposed by Sibley and Monroe. Daniel notes that this was surely "uncalled for" Unfortunately these have now been internationally adopted, and now BNHS has reluctantly followed suit.

JC Daniel of the Bombay Natural History Society, writes in the preface: The classification of birds has been undergoing periodic upheavals since the time of the first edition of "Fauna of British India" by Oates and Blanford.

The publication of the "Synopsis" by S. This is unfortunate as many of the common English names used in the subcontinent for over a century have been summarily thrown overboard. One can feel a sense of frustration behind these words -- Indian birders were possibly under-represented at these Congresses, and now these other names have become the international standard.

Some changes resulted from species that were merged, e. Indeed, the group "starling" may be better called mynah because of the preponderance in the genus. At the same time, the "warbler" nature of the "Streaked Fantail Warbler", was now discarded; it is called "Zitting Cisticola". While in many cases, there are genuine reasons for merging the species based on a wider international record, some of the Indian names, could have also been retained. Excerpts Hoopoe Habits: Fond of lawns, gardens and groves in and around villages and towns.

Walks and runs with a quail-like but waddling gait, probing into the soil for food with bill partly open like forceps. When digging, the crest is folded back and projects in a point behind the head. It is flicked open and erected fanwise from time to time.

Call: A soft, musical, penetrating, hoo-po or hoo-po-po repeated in runs, often intermittently for 10 minutes at a stretch. Diet: Insects, grubs, and pupae, hence beneficial to agriculture. Nest: natural tree-hollow or hole in wall or ceiling of building, untidily lined with straw, rags and rubbish. Eggs - 5 or 6, white. Nest is notorious for its filthiness and stench. Rufous-orange or orange-buff, with black-and-white wings and tail and black-tipped fan like crest.

Open country, cultivation and villages. Grimmett shows only with crest erect. Flight picture in Grimmett is better Colourful language - on the white-breasted waterhen: As the bird circumspectly stalks along the ground or skulks its way through the hedges and undergrowth its stumpy tail, carried erect, is constantly twitched up displaying prominently the red underneath.

Salim Ali, as he is better known name was synonymous with birds. To his many associates however, he was much more than that. A great visionary, he made birds a serious pursuit when it used to be a mere fun for the most. Orphaned at a very young age, Salim Ali was brought up by his maternal uncle, Amiruddin Tyabji. Uncle Amiruddin was a keen Shikari Hunter and nature-lover. Under his guidance young Salim learnt his first lessons in Shikar and became aware of the nature around him.

When Salim was ten years old, his uncle presented him with an air-gun. One day young Salim shot a sparrow which had a yellow streak below its neck. He somehow found the courage and walked in through the door. Salim became interested in birds through this incident and wanted to pursue his career in ornithology. Since there were no jobs connected with natural history in , Salim Ali and his wife Tehmina went off to Burma to look after the family mining and timber business.

It was a rewarding experience for the naturalist as there were endless opportunities to explore the forests of Burma. The business did not flourish and he had to return to India. After returning to India, Salim Ali tried to get a job as an ornithologist with the Zoological Survey of India but since he did not have an M. Salim Ali decided to study further after he managed to get a job of a guide lecturer at the newly opened natural history section of the Prince of Wales Museum in Mumbai.

He realized that it was important to pursue further studies if he wanted to take up ornithology as a profession rather than a part time interest. He went on study leave to Germany where he trained under Professor Stresemann, an acknowledged ornithologist, whom Salim Ali considered his Guru.

Despite his studies at the prestigious university abroad Salim Ali was unable to get job. It was then that he hit upon an idea. The princely States: There were vast tracts of India, particularly the princely states whose avifauna had been little explored or studied.

He offered to conduct regional ornithological surveys of these areas for the BNHS. He would give his services gratis provided the Society and the state authorities would fund the camping and transport. The princely states were only too eager to have their birds recorded for posterity, and they readily agreed to this novel idea. From there onwards he began his life as a nomad. His childhood memories include jackals howling into the night, to the accompaniment of the haunting calls of Hawk Owls.

Influenced early in his life by Dr. When he retired as its Director in he was promptly elected an Honorary Member and is now its Honorary Secretary. It is definitely useful to the globetrotting birdwatcher Change that benefits everybody is good. But change for the sake of change is another thing. Although published well before the end deadline, the BNHS list was apparently ignored by the IOC project whose Oriental subcommittee contained no Asians , and escapes mention in their meagre bibliography.

The Indians tried, and failed, to get their voice heard. So why replicate this in English? Given that English is now the international scientific lingua franca , there is a case for a set of names recognized by all English-speaking ornithologists, not least because they are often in practice more stable than the Latin ones, but that is no reason to abolish local variations. Authors are already under pressure to conform, as I know from personal experience.

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Book of Indian Birds

His father died when he was a year old and his mother Zeenat-un-nissa died when he was three. Along with his siblings, Ali was brought up by his maternal uncle, Amiruddin Tyabji, and childless aunt, Hamida Begum, in a middle-class household in Khetwadi, Mumbai. Shooting contests were often held in the neighbourhood in which he grew and his playmates included Iskandar Mirza , a distant cousin who was a particularly good marksman and went on in later life to become the first President of Pakistan. Millard , secretary of the Bombay Natural History Society BNHS where Amiruddin was a member, who identified an unusually coloured sparrow that young Salim had shot for sport with his toy air gun. He noted that the male partner of a female sparrow was replaced soon after he had shot the previous male.

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