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An Array of Passerines, Hyderabad, India, Today (1 Viewer)

Sasquatch Fingers

International Man of Leisure
The first two are for confirmations.

1. Ashy Prinia, I believe.

2 & 3. Guessing by what I've mostly seen in the area, Dusky Crag Martin? Pictures are obviously not all that great.

4 & 5. I have no idea. Thinking of yellow birds, my mind first went to the iora, but I don't see such pronounced supercilium in the pictures of ioras online. Generally, looks a bit like the plainer prinias, but the yellow color was very pronounced. There is no adjustment of saturation here at all.


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Andy Adcock

Well-known member
Are they the same Swift?

Must be Crested Tree swift with that tail?

Prinia is right and the yellow bird is something like Sulphur-bellied Warbler, not checked books yet though.

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Well-known member
1 Ashy Prinia
2 Does look like a crested tree swift
3 Dusky crag martin
4 Definitely Sulphur bellied warbled


Well-known member
I think 2 is definitely a Palm Swift - the head pattern (or rather lack of it) is wrong for Crested Treeswift and it has contrasting dark underwing-coverts. The tail should also be longer and probably forked for CT.

I'm not so sure about 3. It's surely not a Dusky Crag Martin - too long-winged and no spots visible on the tail. I don't think any swiftlet species occurs around Hyderabad and it looks too long-winged for one. My guess would be Palm Swift again.

As for 4 & 5, can I throw a spanner in the works by suggesting the extremely similar Tickell's Leaf Warbler, which is supposed to wander in winter and might reach this area? The underparts are uniformly lemon-yellow rather than mainly on the belly, the upperparts are greenish rather than brownish and the edges to the flight feathers look green rather than pale. I'm far from sure though - just thought I'd put it out there!

Here's a photo with ID pointers:

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Sasquatch Fingers

International Man of Leisure
The swift sp. are probably not the same if that is the consensus. There were about seven to nine of them swooping about and I had assumed they were all the same species, as that is how they looked to the naked eye. I can't believe the pictures were this good, since I have to rely entirely on manual focus with my camera/lens/skill-level which is a bear to do with swifts/swallows/martins. I tend to not even look at the bird but at their edges and just try to make those "feel" sharp. Which is not helped by the fact that my eye tends to go out of focus itself after staring through the viewfinder for a prolonged time. It's also a pain to even try and find them in the sky when my lens is out almost all the way. By the ranges in Grimmett/Inskipp, the crested treeswift avoids the drier parts of the Deccan Plateau completely, which would make them seem unlikely in addition to the items andyb39 mentioned.

I may have to dig out an old photo a friend IDed as a Common Swift for me, since their range doesn't seem to coincide with the city at all either.

Warbler sounds interesting. When I looked at the warblers in my book (after I had posted this), they all looked so similar that I wasn't even going to attempt to tackle that.

Sasquatch Fingers

International Man of Leisure
So, by the descriptions in the previously mentioned book, I lean towards Tickell's as well. The SB Warbler is marked as "isolated records" in the HYD area and the "winter visitor" range is much closer. However, the Tickell's has similar "isolated records" around the region and south of here. By range, SB would be more likely.

The descriptions though are where I would make the distinction. "[In the Sulphur-Bellied Warbler], supercilium is bright sulphur yellow, brighter than throat..." and "[in the Tickell's Warbler,] supercilium is similar in coloration to the throat, and eye-stripe is more clearly defined than on Sulphur-Bellied..." There's a few other things it mentions, like the ear coverts referenced in the image andyb39 shared, but I'm too lazy to copy the whole text here (not a skilled transcriptionist).

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