Town and village birds. Some perform a useful function scavenging and clearing refuse, one of the most widespread being the Pariah Kite (Milvus migrans, 65 cm), an all brown bird with a longish tail. The much more handsome Brahminy Kite (Haliastur indus, 48 cm) is also a familiar scavenger, but is largely confined to the waterside. Its chestnut and white plumage is unmistakable.

The common White-backed Vulture (Gyps bengalensis, 90 cm) is a heavy looking, ungainly, brown bird with a bare and scrawny head and neck. In flight the white rump and broad white band on the leading edge of the under surface of the wing identify it.

The Feral Pigeon, or Blue Rock Dove (Columba livia, 32 cm), is generally a slaty grey in colour and invariably has two dark bars on the wing and a white rump. The Little Brown Dove (Streptopelia senegalensis, 25 cm) is quite tame and shows little fear of man. It is blue grey and brown above, with a pink head and underparts, and a speckled pattern on the neck. The Collared Dove (Streptopelia decaocto, 30 cm) is common especially in the drier parts of Goa, in gardens and open spaces. It has a distinct half collar on the back of its neck.

The Red-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus cafer, 20 cm), a mainly brown bird, can be identified by the slight crest and a bright red patch under the tail. The Common Myna (Acridotheres tristis, 22 cm) feeds on lawns, especially after rain. Look for the white under the tail and the bare yellow skin around the eye, yellow bill and legs, and in flight the large white wing patch.

A less common, but more striking bird also seen feeding on lawns and in open country is the Hoopoe (Upupa epops, 30 cm), easily identified by its sandy plumage with black and white stripes, and long thin curved bill. The marvellous fan-shaped crest is sometimes raised. Finally there is a member of the cuckoo family which is heard more often than seen. The Koel (Eudynamys scolopacea, 42 cm) is commonly heard in gardens and wooded areas, particularly during the hot weather. The call is a kuoo-kuoo-kuoo, a double note which starts off low and flute-like, but rises in pitch and intensity, then suddenly stops, only to start all over again. The male is all black with a greenish bill and a red eye; the female streaked and barred.

Green pigeon

green pigeon