Trip Report: Jim Corbett N.P. (India), January 23-27, 1998

Tom and Margot Southerland, 282 Western Way, Princeton, NJ 08540, USA;

Corbett National Park is located to the northwest of Delhi some 180 miles distance in the state of Uttar Pradesh. It is difficult to reach, however, as it takes an overnight train trip on a narrow gauge RR to nearby Moradabad or by a six hour highway drive. We actually arrived by train from Agra.

For a birder it is a trip well worth the effort. The wooded park is beautiful, India's first (1936) national park, and sizable in that it covers 201 square miles. And for birds it is strategically located in the foothills of the Himalayans. Nearby are locations for the Ibisbill but we were several weeks too late since human disturbances push them further away after they made an initial appearance for the winter, and time prevented us from devoting the effort needed to search for just one species.

While we were in Corbett, the weather was cold in the early mornings and late afternoon, more so than usual probably because of El Niño. Perhaps the weather explains why we saw few people in the park. Except at three rustic forest rest houses you are forbidden to walk within the park, and several years ago a British bird leader went chasing on foot after a bird in the shrubs where he was killed by a tiger. Being in an open vehicle is limiting, and often the birds were seen one by one. We were slightly handicapped that we were the only serious birders out of four, but that was somewhat offset by the fact we had someone with us who was knowledgeable about birds.

There are also elephants in the wild, and we saw a small group and later a bull. Other mammals include Spotted Deer, Sambar, Hog Deer, Common Jackal, Barking Deer, Jungle Cat and Wild Boar. We also saw both the Mugger Crocodile and the needle-nose Gavial (Gharial). At one of the rest areas you can ride an elephant through the brush in the woods and the open grasslands to look for tigers and other wildlife. We would rate the elephant ride only fair for seeing birds.

We would recommend mid-February through March as a better time to visit Corbett when it is warmer and, perhaps, the birds more active. Also, more elephants. Finally, outside the area en route back to the railroad station we also saw Cattle Egret, Sarus Cranes (2), House Crow and Black Drongo.


India: Corbett; One Sighting per Species; from 1-23-98 to 1-27-98. Note: The list uses the check list of James F. Clements from Birdwin of Santa Barbara Software.

  Great Cormorant                       Phalacrocorax carbo
  Common Pochard                        Aythya ferina (pair)
  Little Egret                          Egretta garzetta
  Striated Heron                        Butorides striatus (1)
  Black Stork                           Ciconia nigra   (about 7-8)
  Osprey                                Pandion haliaetus  (1 in tree)
  Black-shouldered Kite                 Elanus caeruleus
  Black Kite                            Milvus migrans
  Pallas' Fish-Eagle                    Haliaeetus leucoryphus  (1 sitting and flying)
F Lesser Fish-Eagle                     Ichthyophaga humilis (1 in tree, another sit. nearby)
  White-rumped Vulture                  Gyps bengalensis
F Long-billed Vulture                   Gyps indicus (1 sitting, another days later)
  Eurasian Griffon                      Gyps fulvus  (several)
F Cinereous Vulture                     Aegypius monachus (2 sitting before 1 flew)
  Crested Serpent-Eagle                 Spilornis cheela
F Changeable Hawk-Eagle                 Spizaetus cirrhatus (sitting imm.)
  Eurasian Kestrel                      Falco tinnunculus
  Gray Partridge                        Perdix perdix
  Red Junglefowl                        Gallus gallus (2 males walking before flying)
  Kalij Pheasant                        Lophura leucomelanos (3 males with a female: gr. views)
  Indian Peafowl                        Pavo cristatus
  Common Greenshank                     Tringa nebularia
  Common Sandpiper                      Tringa hypoleucos
  Little Ringed Plover                  Charadrius dubius
F River Lapwing                         Vanellus duvaucelii  (12)
  Eurasian Collared-Dove                Streptopelia decaocto
  Alexandrine Parakeet                  Psittacula eupatria
F Slaty-headed Parakeet                 Psittacula himalayana  (2 and then 5)
  Plum-headed Parakeet                  Psittacula cyanocephala
  Red-breasted Parakeet                 Psittacula alexandri (4)
F Jungle Owlet                          Glaucidium radiatum (at Ramnagar; 2 sitting)
F Crested Treeswift                     Hemiprocne coronata
  Common Kingfisher                     Alcedo atthis
  Stork-billed Kingfisher               Pelargopsis capensis (1 sitting)
  White-throated Kingfisher             Halcyon smyrnensis
F Crested Kingfisher                    Megaceryle lugubris  (2 but not together)
F Blue-bearded Bee-eater                Nyctyornis athertoni  (pair)
  Eurasian Hoopoe                       Upupa epops  (4)
  Indian Gray Hornbill                  Ocyceros birostris  (4)
  Oriental Pied-Hornbill                Anthracoceros albirostris
  Great Hornbill                        Buceros bicornis (1 poor view fly. but calling in distance)
F Brown-headed Barbet                   Megalaima zeylanica (at Ramnagar)
  Lineated Barbet                       Megalaima lineata (1 plus group of 6-7)
F Blue-throated Barbet                  Megalaima asiatica (1)
F Gray-capped Woodpecker                Dendrocopos canicapillus (1; nice views)
  Fulvous-breasted Woodpecker           Dendrocopos macei  (1)
F Streak-throated Woodpecker            Picus xanthopygaeus  (1)
F Scaly-bellied Woodpecker              Picus squamatus   (1 plus a pair)
F Gray-faced Woodpecker                 Picus canus   (male)
  Black-rumped Flameback                Dinopium benghalense (1)
  Rusty-tailed Flycatcher               Muscicapa ruficauda
  White-bellied Drongo                  Dicrurus caerulescens   (1)
F Bronzed Drongo                        Dicrurus aeneus   (about 10 sallying)
  Lesser Racket-tailed Drongo           Dicrurus remifer   (1)
  Rufous Treepie                        Dendrocitta vagabunda   (at Ramnagar; 2)
  Gray Treepie                          Dendrocitta formosae
  Large-billed Crow                     Corvus macrorhynchos
  Scarlet Minivet                       Pericrocotus flammeus  (male, 2 females)
F Bar-winged Flycatcher-shrike          Hemipus picatus  (at least 2 sallying)
  Long-tailed Shrike                    Lanius schach  (2)
F Brown Dipper                          Cinclus pallasii  (2 plus 2 more)
  Blue Whistling-Thrush                 Myiophoneus caeruleus (several)
  Verditer Flycatcher                   Eumyias thalassina (male)
F Rufous-bellied Niltava                Niltava sundara (male)
  Gray-headed Canary-flycatcher         Culicicapa ceylonensis
  Oriental Magpie-Robin                 Copsychus saularis
  Indian Robin                          Saxicoloides fulicata
F White-capped Redstart                 Chaimarrornis leucocephalus (8)
F Plumbeous Redstart                    Rhyacornis fuliginosus (at least 3 males, 2 fem.)
F Little Forktail                       Enicurus scouleri  (1, super view)
F Slaty-backed Forktail                 Enicurus schistaceus  (1, great view)
  Common Stonechat                      Saxicola torquata
  Pied Bushchat                         Saxicola caprata
F Gray Bushchat                         Saxicola ferrea  (1 plus 1)
  Chestnut-bellied Nuthatch             Sitta castanea (female)
  Sand Martin                           Riparia riparia  (4)
  Dusky Crag-Martin                     Hirundo concolor (1)
  Red-whiskered Bulbul                  Pycnonotus jocosus
F Himalayan Bulbul                      Pycnonotus leucogenys  (at least 15)
  Red-vented Bulbul                     Pycnonotus cafer   (a few)
  Common Chiffchaff                     Phylloscopus collybita
  Greenish Warbler                      Phylloscopus trochiloides
F Gray-hooded Warbler                   Seicercus xanthoschistus  (1)
  Red-billed Leiothrix                  Leiothrix lutea  (several in a group)
  Great Tit                             Parus major
  White Wagtail                         Motacilla alba  (1)
  White-browed Wagtail                  Motacilla madaraspatensis   (6)


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