Birds of Kashmir

Kashmir is home to a rich biodiversity including a large number of bird species, many of which are unique to Kashmir.

India’s best-known ornithologist Salim Ali once called Kashmir “heaven on earth for migratory birds“. Indeed there is much more awareness about migratory ducks and geese rather than the resident species and not much seems to have changed from the 1890’s when W.R. Lawrence commented that “birds have a happy and carefree existence in the country” …. “the Kashmiri knows little about birds ….. and though he takes considerable interest in the songbirds he is ignorant of the habits of the feathered kingdom.”

Over a million migratory waterfowl from Siberia, Central Asia and Japan use the wetlands in Kashmir as transitory camps enroute to their wintering quarters in the plains of India. The main species migrating along this ‘Central Asian-Indian Flyway‘ or ‘Indus Flyway‘ include Bar-headed Goose, Black Stork, Black-headed Gull, Brahminy Duck, Brown-headed Gull, Caspian/Yellow-legged Gull, Common Merganser, Common Pochard, Common Teal, Common Coot, Eurasian Wigeon, Ferruginous Pochard, Gadwall, Garganey, Greylag Goose , Mallard, Northern Pintail, Northern Shoveler, Red-crested Pochard, Ruddy Shelduck, Tufted Duck.

The migration occurs during September and October and the birds return again around springtime to the wetlands in Kashmir for the reverse migration.

The Birds of Kashmir website is based on birds I have personally observed and positively identified in Kashmir. This first-of-its-kind internet project – online since 2002 – has gone on to receive international recognition and is linked to several of the leading avian databases on the internet.

Here are the 20 commonest resident birds in Kashmir (in any season):

1. Himalayan Bulbul

2. House Crow

3. Jungle Crow

4. Little Egret

5. Little Grebe

6. Indian Pond Heron

7. Common Hoopoe

8. Eurasian Jackdaw

9. Common Kingfisher

10. Pied Kingfisher

11. White-throated Kingfisher

12. Black Kite

13. Streaked Laughingthrush

14. Common Moorhen

15. Common Myna

16. Rose-ringed Parakeet

17. Rock Pigeon

18. House Sparrow

19. Blue Whistling Thrush

20. Great Tit

P.S : Going birding in Kashmir? Check out this Printable Birding Guide. These are the Top Birding Sites in Kashmir