List of birds of Kerala
The state of Kerala, India has about 509 bird species within its boundary. This following list of birds is based on the taxonomic treatment and scientific nomenclature of Howard and Moore Complete Checklist of the Birds of the World 4th edition. Species list and English names is entirely based on the checklist of Birds of Kerala  published in November 2015. Five recent additions to this list are also included.
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Ducks, geese and swans
Anatidae includes the ducks and most duck-like waterfowl, such as geese and swans. These birds are adapted to an aquatic existence with webbed feet, flattened bills, and feathers that are excellent at shedding water due to an oily coating.
- Lesser whistling duck, Dendrocygna javanica
- Bar-headed goose, Anser indicus
- Ruddy shelduck, Tadorna ferruginea
- Ferruginous duck, Aythya nyroca (also called Ferruginous pochard)
- Tufted duck, Aythya fuligula
- Garganey, Anas querquedula
- Northern shoveler, Anas clypeata
- Gadwall, Anas strepera
- Eurasian wigeon, Anas penelope
- Indian spot-billed duck, Anas poecilorhyncha
- Northern pintail, Anas acuta
- Common teal, Anas crecca
- Comb duck, Sarkidiornis melanotos (also called Knob-billed duck)
- Cotton Teal, Nettapus coromandelianus (also called Cotton pygmy-goose)
Pheasants and partridges
The Phasianidae are a family of terrestrial birds which consists of quails, partridges, snowcocks, francolins, spurfowls, tragopans, monals, pheasants, peafowls and jungle fowls. In general, they are plump (although they vary in size) and have broad, relatively short wings.
- Grey francolin, Francolinus pondicerianus
- Rain quail, Coturnix coromandelica
- Jungle bush quail, Perdicula asiatica
- Painted bush quail, Perdicula erythrorhyncha
- Red spurfowl, Galloperdix spadicea
- Painted spurfowl, Galloperdix lunulata
- Grey junglefowl, Gallus sonneratii
- Indian peafowl, Pavo cristatus
Flamingos are gregarious wading birds, usually 3 to 5 feet (0.9 to 1.5 m) tall, found in both the Western and Eastern Hemispheres. Flamingos filter-feed on shellfish and algae. Their oddly shaped beaks are specially adapted to separate mud and silt from the food they consume and, uniquely, are used upside-down. There are 6 species worldwide and 2 species which occur in India of which only 1 occur in Kerala.
- Greater flamingo, Phoenicopterus roseus
Grebes are small to medium-large freshwater diving birds. They have lobed toes and are excellent swimmers and divers. However, they have their feet placed far back on the body, making them quite ungainly on land. There are 20 species worldwide and 5 species which occur in India and 1 in Kerala
- Little grebe, Tachybaptus ruficollis
Pigeons and doves
- Rock pigeon, Columba livia
- Nilgiri wood pigeon, Columba elphinstonii
- Oriental turtle dove, Streptopelia orientalis
- Red turtle dove, Streptopelia tranqubarica 
- Eurasian collared dove, Streptopelia decaocto
- Spotted dove, Spilopelia chinensis
- Laughing dove, Spilopelia senegalensis
- Emerald dove, Chalcophaps indica
- Orange-breasted green pigeon, Treron bicinctus
- Grey-fronted green pigeon, Treron affinis (in some classifications it is split from Treron pompadora which is resident in Sri Lanka)
- Yellow-footed green pigeon, Treron phoenicopterus
- Green imperial pigeon, Ducula aenea
- Mountain imperial pigeon, Ducula badia
Sandgrouses have small, pigeon like heads and necks, but sturdy compact bodies. They have long pointed wings and sometimes tails and a fast direct flight. Flocks fly to watering holes at dawn and dusk. Their legs are feathered down to the toes. There are 16 species worldwide and 9 species which occur in India and just one in Kerala. India has the largest number of sandgrouse of any country.
Tropicbirds are slender white birds of tropical oceans, with exceptionally long central tail feathers. Their heads and long wings have black markings.
The frogmouths are a group of nocturnal birds related to the nightjars. They are named for their large flattened hooked bill and huge frog-like gape, which they use to take insects. There are 12 species worldwide and 2 species which occur in India and 1 in Kerala.
- Ceylon frogmouth, Batrachostomus moniliger
Nightjars are medium-sized nocturnal birds that usually nest on the ground. They have long wings, short legs and very short bills. Most have small feet, of little use for walking, and long pointed wings. Their soft plumage is camouflaged to resemble bark or leaves.
- Great eared-nightjar, Eurostopodus macrotis
- Indian jungle nightjar, Caprimulgus indicus
- Jerdon's nightjar, Caprimulgus atripennis
- Indian nightjar, Caprimulgus asiaticus
- Savanna nightjar, Caprimulgus affinis
Swifts are small birds which spend the majority of their lives flying. These birds have very short legs and never settle voluntarily on the ground, perching instead only on vertical surfaces. Many swifts have long swept-back wings which resemble a crescent or boomerang. There are 9 species which have been recorded in Kerala.
- Crested treeswift, Hemiprocne coronata
- Indian swiftlet, Aerodramus unicolor
- White-rumped needletail, Zoonavena sylvatica
- Brown-backed needletail, Hirundapus giganteus
- Asian palm-swift, Cypsiurus balasiensis
- Alpine swift, Tachymarptis melba
- Common swift, Apus apus 
- Fork-tailed swift, Apus pacificus (Race leuconyx that winter in Kerala is sometimes treated as a separate species Blyth's swift)
- Little swift, Apus affinis
The family Cuculidae includes cuckoos, roadrunners and anis. These birds are of variable size with slender bodies, long tails and strong legs. Many are brood parasites. There are 138 species worldwide and 21 species which occur in India and 16 species in Kerala.
- Pied cuckoo, Clamator jacobinus
- Chestnut-winged cuckoo, Clamator coromandus
- Large hawk-cuckoo, Hierococcyx sparverioides
- Common hawk-cuckoo, Hierococcyx varius
- Indian cuckoo, Cuculus micropterus
- Common cuckoo, Cuculus canorus
- Lesser cuckoo, Cuculus poliocephalus
- Banded bay cuckoo, Cacomantis sonneratii
- Grey-bellied cuckoo, Cacomantis passerinus
- Fork-tailed drongo-cuckoo, Surniculus lugubris dicruroides
- Asian koel, Eudynamys scolopaceus
- Blue-faced malkoha, Phaenicophaeus viridirostris
- Sirkeer malkoha, Taccocua leschenaultii
- Greater coucal, Centropus sinensis
- Lesser coucal, Centropus bengalensis
Rails, crakes, gallinules and coots
Rallidae is a large family of small to medium-sized birds which includes the rails, crakes, coots and gallinules. Typically they inhabit dense vegetation in damp environments near lakes, swamps or rivers. In general they are shy and secretive birds, making them difficult to observe. Most species have strong legs and long toes which are well adapted to soft uneven surfaces. They tend to have short, rounded wings and to be weak fliers.
- Slaty-legged crake, Rallina eurizonoides
- Slaty-breasted rail, Gallirallus striatus
- White-breasted waterhen, Amaurornis phoenicurus
- Spotted crake, Porzana porzana 
- Baillon's crake, Porzana pusilla
- Ruddy-breasted crake, Porzana fusca
- Watercock, Gallicrex cinerea
- Grey-headed swamphen, Porphyrio poliocephalus
- Common moorhen, Gallinula chloropus
- Eurasian coot, Fulica atra
Bustards are large terrestrial birds mainly associated with dry open country and steppes in the Old World. They are omnivorous and nest on the ground. They walk steadily on strong legs and big toes, pecking for food as they go. They have long broad wings with "fingered" wingtips and striking patterns in flight. Many have interesting mating displays.
- Macqueen's bustard, Chlamydotis undulata (race macqueeni of houbara bustard raised to full species)
- Lesser florican, Sypheotides indicus (syn. Eupodotis indica)
The storm petrels are relatives of the petrels and are the smallest seabirds. They feed on planktonic crustaceans and small fish picked from the surface, typically while hovering. The flight is fluttering and sometimes bat-like. There are 21 species worldwide and 6 species which occur in India and three in Kerala.
- Wilson's storm petrel, Oceanites oceanicus
- Swinhoe's storm petrel, Oceanodroma monorhis
- White-faced storm petrel,Pelagodroma marina  [Historical]
Shearwaters and petrels
The procellariids are the main group of medium-sized "true petrels", characterised by united nostrils with medium septum and a long outer functional primary. There are 75 species worldwide and 12 species which occur in India and 7 in Kerala.
- Jouanin's petrel, Bulweria fallax
- Streaked shearwater, Calonectris leucomelas
- Cory's shearwater, Calonectris borealis
- Flesh-footed shearwater, Ardenna carneipes
- Wedge-tailed shearwater, Ardenna pacificus
- Short-tailed shearwater, Ardenna tenuirostris
- Persian shearwater, Puffinus persicus
Storks are large, long-legged, long-necked, wading birds with long, stout bills. Storks are mute, but bill-clattering is an important mode of communication at the nest. Their nests can be large and may be reused for many years. Many species are migratory. There are 19 species worldwide and 9 species which occur in India and six species occur in Kerala.
- Painted stork, Mycteria leucocephala
- Asian openbill, Anastomus oscitans
- Black stork, Ciconia nigra
- Woolly-necked stork, Ciconia episcopus
- White stork, Ciconia ciconia
- Lesser adjutant, Leptoptilos javanicus
Pelicans are large water birds with a distinctive pouch under their beak. As with other members of the order Pelecaniformes, they have webbed feet with four toes.
Bitterns, herons and egrets
The family Ardeidae contains the bitterns, herons and egrets. Herons and egrets are medium to large wading birds with long necks and legs. Bitterns tend to be shorter necked and more wary. Members of Ardeidae fly with their necks retracted, unlike other long-necked birds such as storks, ibises and spoonbills.
- Grey heron, Ardea cinerea
- Purple heron, Ardea purpurea
- Eastern great egret, Ardea modesta
- Intermediate egret, Egretta intermedia
- Western reef heron, Egretta gularis
- Little egret, Egretta garzetta
- Indian pond heron, Ardeola grayii
- Cattle egret, Bubulcus ibis coromandus (Treated as a full species Bubulcus coromandus by Rasmussen and Anderton, 2005 and sometimes called the eastern cattle egret)
- Striated heron, Butorides striata
- Black-crowned night heron, Nycticorax nycticorax
- Malayan night heron, Gorsachius melanolophus
- Yellow bittern, Ixobrychus sinensis
- Little bittern, Ixobrychus minutus
- Cinnamon bittern, Ixobrychus cinnamomeus
- Black bittern, Ixobrychus flavicollis
- Great bittern, Botaurus stellaris
Ibises and spoonbills
Threskiornithidae is a family of large terrestrial and wading birds which includes the ibises and spoonbills. They have long, broad wings with 11 primary and about 20 secondary feathers. They are strong fliers and despite their size and weight, very capable soarers.
- Black-headed ibis, Threskiornis melanocephalus
- Black ibis, Pseudibis papillosa
- Glossy ibis, Plegadis falcinellus
- Eurasian spoonbill, Platalea leucorodia
Frigatebirds are large seabirds usually found over tropical oceans. They are large, black-and-white or completely black, with long wings and deeply forked tails. The males have coloured inflatable throat pouches. They do not swim or walk and cannot take off from a flat surface. Having the largest wingspan-to-body-weight ratio of any bird, they are essentially aerial, able to stay aloft for more than a week.
- Christmas Island frigatebird, Fregata andrewsi
- Great frigatebird, Fregata minor
- Lesser frigatebird, Fregata ariel
Boobies and gannets
Phalacrocoracidae is a family of medium to large coastal, fish-eating seabirds that includes cormorants and shags. Plumage colouration varies, with the majority having mainly dark plumage, some species being black-and-white and a few being colourful.
- Indian cormorant, Phalacrocorax fuscicollis
- Great cormorant, Phalacrocorax carbo
- Little cormorant, Phalacrocorax niger
Darters are often called "snake-birds" because of their long thin neck, which gives a snake-like appearance when they swim with their bodies submerged. The males have black and dark-brown plumage, an erectile crest on the nape and a larger bill than the female. The females have much paler plumage especially on the neck and underparts. The darters have completely webbed feet and their legs are short and set far back on the body. Their plumage is somewhat permeable, like that of cormorants, and they spread their wings to dry after diving. There are 4 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in India and also in Kerala.
- Oriental darter, Anhinga melanogaster
The thick-knees are a group of largely tropical waders in the family Burhinidae. They are found worldwide within the tropical zone, with some species also breeding in temperate Europe and Australia. They are medium to large waders with strong black or yellow-black bills, large yellow eyes and cryptic plumage. Despite being classed as waders, most species have a preference for arid or semi-arid habitats.
- Eurasian oystercatcher, Haematopus ostralegus
Avocets and stilts
Recurvirostridae is a family of large wading birds, which includes the avocets and stilts. The avocets have long legs and long up-curved bills. The stilts have extremely long legs and long, thin, straight bills. There are 9 species worldwide and 2 species which occur in India and Kerala.
Plovers and lapwings
The family Charadriidae includes the plovers, dotterels and lapwings. They are small to medium-sized birds with compact bodies, short, thick necks and long, usually pointed, wings. They are found in open country worldwide, mostly in habitats near water. There are 66 species worldwide and 20 species which occur in India and 13 in Kerala.
- Sociable lapwing, Vanellus gregarius  [Historical]
- Yellow-wattled lapwing, Vanellus malabaricus
- Grey-headed lapwing, Vanellus cinereus
- Red-wattled lapwing, Vanellus indicus
- White-tailed lapwing, Vanellus leucurus
- Pacific golden-plover, Pluvialis fulva
- Grey plover, Pluvialis squatarola
- Ringed plover, Charadrius hiaticula (Also known as common ringed plover)
- Little ringed plover, Charadrius dubius
- Kentish plover, Charadrius alexandrinus
- Caspian plover, Charadrius asiaticus 
- Lesser sandplover, Charadrius mongolus
- Greater sandplover, Charadrius leschenaultii
Painted-snipe are short-legged, long-billed birds similar in shape to the true snipes, but more brightly coloured. There are 2 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in India and Kerala.
- Greater painted-snipe, Rostratula benghalensis
The jacanas are a group of tropical waders in the family Jacanidae. They are found throughout the tropics. They are identifiable by their huge feet and claws which enable them to walk on floating vegetation in the shallow lakes that are their preferred habitat. There 8 species worldwide and 2 species which occur in India and also in Kerala.
Sandpipers and allies
Scolopacidae is a large diverse family of small to medium-sized shorebirds including the sandpipers, curlews, godwits, shanks, tattlers, woodcocks, snipes, dowitchers and phalaropes. The majority of these species eat small invertebrates picked out of the mud or soil. Variation in length of legs and bills enables multiple species to feed in the same habitat, particularly on the coast, without direct competition for food. There are 89 species worldwide and 43 species which occur in India and 35 species occur in Kerala.
- Eurasian woodcock, Scolopax rusticola
- Wood snipe, Gallinago nemoricola [Historical]
- Jack snipe, Lymnocryptes minimus
- Pintail snipe, Gallinago stenura
- Swinhoe's snipe, Gallinago megala [Historical]
- Common snipe, Gallinago gallinago
- Black-tailed godwit, Limosa limosa
- Bar-tailed godwit, Limosa lapponica
- Whimbrel, Numenius phaeopus
- Eurasian curlew, Numenius arquata
- Spotted redshank, Tringa erythropus
- Common redshank, Tringa totanus
- Marsh sandpiper, Tringa stagnatilis
- Common greenshank, Tringa nebularia
- Green sandpiper, Tringa ochropus
- Wood sandpiper, Tringa glareola
- Terek sandpiper, Xenus cinereus
- Common sandpiper, Actitis hypoleucos
- Ruddy turnstone, Arenaria interpres
- Great knot, Calidris tenuirostris
- Red knot, Calidris canutus
- Sanderling, Calidris alba
- Little stint, Calidris minuta
- Temminck's stint, Calidris temminckii
- Long-toed stint, Calidris subminuta
- Curlew sandpiper, Calidris ferruginea
- Dunlin, Calidris alpina
- Broad-billed sandpiper, Limicola falcinellus
- Buff-breasted sandpiper, Tryngites subruficollis
- Pectoral sandpiper, Calidris melanotos 
- Long-billed dowitcher, Limnodromus scolopaceus 
- Ruff, Philomachus pugnax
- Red-necked phalarope, Phalaropus lobatus
The buttonquails are small, drab, running birds which resemble the true quails. The female is the brighter of the sexes and initiates courtship. The male incubates the eggs and tends the young.
The crab-plover is related to the waders. It resembles a plover but with very long grey legs and a strong heavy black bill similar to a tern. It has black-and-white plumage, a long neck, partially webbed feet and a bill designed for eating crabs.
- Crab-plover, Dromas ardeola
Pratincoles and coursers
Glareolidae is a family of wading birds comprising the pratincoles, which have short legs, long pointed wings and long forked tails, and the coursers, which have long legs, short wings and long, pointed bills which curve downwards. There are 17 species worldwide and 6 species which occur in India and four species occur in Kerala.
- Indian courser, Cursorius coromandelicus  [Historical]
- Oriental pratincole, Glareola maldivarum
- Collared pratincole, Glareola pratincola
- Small pratincole, Glareola lactea
The family Stercorariidae are, in general, medium to large birds, typically with grey or brown plumage, often with white markings on the wings. They nest on the ground in temperate and arctic regions and are long-distance migrants. There are 7 species worldwide and 5 species which occur in India all of them occur in Kerala.
- Pomarine skua, Stercorarius pomarinus
- Parasitic skua, Stercorarius parasiticus
- Long-tailed skua, Stercorarius longicaudus
- Brown skua, Catharcta antarctica
- South polar skua, Catharcta maccormicki
Gulls and terns
Laridae is a family of both Gulls and Terns. Gulls are medium to large seabirds including kittiwakes. They are typically grey or white, often with black markings on the head or wings. They have stout, longish bills and webbed feet. Terns are a group of generally medium to large seabirds typically with grey or white plumage, often with black markings on the head. Most terns hunt fish by diving but some pick insects off the surface of fresh water. Terns are generally long-lived birds, with several species known to live in excess of 30 years. There are about 80 species worldwide and about 40 species which occur in India and 25 in Kerala.
- Heuglin's gull, Larus heuglini
- Pallas's gull, Ichthyaetus ichthyaetus
- Brown-headed gull, Chroicocephalus brunnicephalus
- Black-headed gull, Chroicocephalus ridibundus
- Slender-billed gull, Chroicocephalus genei
- Black-legged kittiwake, Rissa tridactyla
- Sabine's gull, Xema sabini
- Gull-billed tern, Gelochelidon nilotica
- Caspian tern, Hydroprogne caspia
- Lesser crested tern, Thalasseus bengalensis
- Sandwich tern, Thalasseus sandvicensis
- Great crested tern, Thalasseus bergii
- River tern, Sterna aurantia
- Roseate tern, Sterna dougalli 
- Common tern, Sterna hirundo
- White-cheeked tern, Sterna repressa
- Black-bellied tern, Sterna acuticauda
- Little tern, Sternula albifrons (Not differentiated from Saunders's tern, Sterna saundersi in the checklist)
- Bridled tern, Onychoprion anaethetus
- Sooty tern, Onychoprion fuscatus
- Whiskered tern, Chlidonias hybrida
- White-winged tern, Chlidonias leucopterus
- Lesser noddy, Anous tenuirostris
- Brown noddy, Anous stolidus
- White tern, Gygis alba
The Pandionidae family contains only one species, the osprey. The osprey is a medium-large raptor which is a specialist fish-eater with a worldwide distribution.
- Osprey, Pandion haliaetus
Hawks, kites and eagles
Accipitridae is a family of birds of prey, which includes hawks, eagles, kites, harriers and Old World vultures. These birds have powerful hooked beaks for tearing flesh from their prey, strong legs, powerful talons and keen eyesight.
- Jerdon's baza, Aviceda jerdoni
- Black baza, Aviceda leuphotes
- Crested honey buzzard, Pernis ptilorhynchus
- Black-winged kite, Elanus caeruleus
- Black kite, Milvus migrans
- Brahminy kite, Haliastur indus
- White-bellied sea eagle, Haliaeetus leucogaster
- White-tailed eagle, Haliaeetus albicilla
- Lesser fish eagle, Ichthyophaga humilis
- Grey-headed fish eagle, Ichthyophaga ichthyaetus
- Egyptian vulture, Neophron percnopterus
- White-rumped vulture, Gyps bengalensis
- Indian vulture, Gyps indicus
- Himalayan vulture, Gyps himalayensis 
- Cinereous vulture, Aegypius monachus
- Red-headed vulture, Sarcogyps calvus
- Short-toed snake eagle, Circaetus gallicus
- Crested serpent eagle, Spilornis cheela
- Western marsh harrier, Circus aeruginosus
- Northern harrier, Circus cyaneus (Also known as hen harrier)
- Pallid harrier, Circus macrourus
- Pied harrier, Circus melanoleucos
- Montagu's harrier, Circus pygargus
- Crested goshawk, Accipiter trivirgatus
- Shikra, Accipiter badius
- Besra, Accipiter virgatus
- Eurasian sparrowhawk, Accipiter nisus
- White-eyed buzzard, Butastur teesa
- Eurasian buzzard, Buteo buteo (race vulpinus)
- Black eagle, Ictinaetus malaiensis
- Indian spotted eagle, Clanga hastata (earlier treated as C. pomarina hastata)
- Greater spotted eagle, Clanga clanga
- Steppe eagle, Aquila nipalensis
- Eastern imperial eagle, Aquila heliaca
- Bonelli's eagle, Aquila fasciatus
- Booted eagle, Aquila pennata
- Rufous-bellied eagle, Lophotriorchis kienerii
- Crested hawk-eagle, Nisaetus cirrhatus (Spizaetus restricted to the neotropics by Gjershaug et al., 2008)
- Mountain hawk-eagle, Nisaetus nipalensis kelaarti
Barn owls are medium to large owls with large heads and characteristic heart-shaped faces. They have long strong legs with powerful talons. There are 16 species worldwide and 3 species which occur in India and in Kerala.
- Australasian grass-owl, Tyto longimembris (Also known as eastern grass owl)
- Barn owl, Tyto alba
- Ceylon bay owl, Phodilus assimilis (Western Ghats race ripleyi and Sri Lankan race assimilis included here by Rasmussen and Anderton, 2005 split from the widely disjunct Oriental bay-owl)
The typical owls are small to large solitary nocturnal birds of prey. They have large forward-facing eyes and ears, a hawk-like beak and a conspicuous circle of feathers around each eye called a facial disk.
- Indian scops owl, Otus bakkamoena
- Oriental scops owl, Otus sunia
- Pallid scops owl, Otus brucei 
- Rock eagle-owl, Bubo bengalensis
- Spot-bellied eagle-owl, Bubo nipalensis
- Brown fish owl, Ketupa zeylonensis
- Mottled wood owl, Strix ocellata
- Brown wood owl, Strix leptogrammica
- Jungle owlet, Glaucidium radiatum
- Spotted owlet, Athene brama
- Brown hawk-owl, Ninox scutulata
- Short-eared owl, Asio flammeus
The family Trogonidae includes trogons and quetzals. Found in tropical woodlands worldwide, they feed on insects and fruit, and their broad bills and weak legs reflect their diet and arboreal habits. Although their flight is fast, they are reluctant to fly any distance. Trogons have soft, often colourful, feathers with distinctive male and female plumage. There are 33 species worldwide and 3 species which occur in India and only 1 in Kerala.
- Malabar trogon, Harpactes fasciatus
Hornbills are a group of birds whose bill is shaped like a cow's horn, but without a twist, sometimes with a casque on the upper mandible. Frequently, the bill is brightly coloured. There are 57 species worldwide and 10 species which occur in India and 4 in Kerala.
- Malabar grey hornbill, Ocyceros griseus
- Indian grey hornbill, Ocyceros birostris
- Malabar pied hornbill, Anthracoceros coronatus
- Great hornbill, Buceros bicornis
Hoopoes have black, white and orangey-pink colouring with a large erectile crest on their head. There are 2 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in India and in Kerala.
- Hoopoe, Upupa epops
Woodpeckers and allies
Woodpeckers are small to medium-sized birds with chisel-like beaks, short legs, stiff tails and long tongues used for capturing insects. Some species have feet with two toes pointing forward and two backward, while several species have only three toes. Many woodpeckers have the habit of tapping noisily on tree trunks with their beaks. There are 218 species worldwide and 33 species which occur in India and 13 in Kerala.
- Eurasian wryneck, Jynx torquilla
- Speckled piculet, Picumnus innominatus
- Brown-capped pygmy woodpecker, Dendrocopos nanus (Also known as brown-capped pygmy woodpecker)
- Yellow-crowned woodpecker, Dendrocopos mahrattensis
- Rufous woodpecker, Celeus brachyurus
- White-bellied woodpecker, Dryocopus javensis
- Lesser yellownape, Picus chlorolophus
- Streak-throated woodpecker, Picus xanthopygaeus
- Common flameback, Dinopium javanense
- Black-rumped flameback, Dinopium benghalense
- White-naped woodpecker, Chrysocolaptes festivus
- Greater flameback, Chrysocolaptes lucidus
- Heart-spotted woodpecker, Hemicircus canente
The barbets are plump birds, with short necks and large heads. They get their name from the bristles which fringe their heavy bills. Most species are brightly coloured.
- Brown-headed barbet, Psilopogon zeylanicus
- White-cheeked barbet, Psilopogon viridis
- Malabar barbet, Psilopogon malabaricus (Western Ghats only, split by Rasmussen and Anderton (2005) with the crimson-fronted barbet, Psilopogon rubricapillus referring to the Sri Lankan species )
- Coppersmith barbet, Psilopogon haemacephalus
The bee-eaters are a group of near passerine birds in the family Meropidae. Most species are found in Africa but others occur in southern Europe, Madagascar, Australia and New Guinea. They are characterised by richly coloured plumage, slender bodies and usually elongated central tail feathers. All are colourful and have long downturned bills and pointed wings, which give them a swallow-like appearance when seen from afar. There are 26 species worldwide and 7 species which occur in India and 6 in Kerala.
- Blue-bearded bee-eater, Nyctyornis athertoni
- Green bee-eater, Merops orientalis
- Blue-tailed bee-eater, Merops philippinus
- Blue-cheeked bee-eater, Merops persicus
- Chestnut-headed bee-eater, Merops leschenaulti
- Blue-throated bee-eater,Merops viridis
Rollers resemble crows in size and build, but are more closely related to the kingfishers and bee-eaters. They share the colourful appearance of those groups with blues and browns predominating. The two inner front toes are connected, but the outer toe is not. There are 12 species worldwide and 3 species which occur in India and also Kerala.
- European roller, Coracias garrulus
- Indian roller, Coracias benghalensis
- Dollarbird, Eurystomus orientalis
Kingfishers are medium-sized birds with large heads, long, pointed bills, short legs and stubby tails. There are 93 species worldwide and 13 species which occur in India and 7 in Kerala.
- Common kingfisher, Alcedo atthis
- Blue-eared kingfisher, Alcedo meninting
- Black-backed kingfisher, Ceyx erithaca (Also known as Oriental dwarf kingfisher)
- Stork-billed kingfisher, Pelargopsis capensis
- White-throated kingfisher, Halcyon smyrnensis
- Black-capped kingfisher, Halcyon pileata
- Pied kingfisher, Ceryle rudis
Falconidae is a family of diurnal birds of prey. They differ from hawks, eagles and kites in that they kill with their beaks instead of their talons. There are 62 species worldwide and 15 species which occur in India of which seven occur in Kerala.
- Lesser kestrel, Falco naumanni
- Eurasian kestrel, Falco tinnunculus
- Amur falcon, Falco amurensis
- Eurasian hobby, Falco buteo
- Oriental hobby, Falco severus
- Red-necked falcon, Falco chiquera
- Peregrine falcon, Falco peregrinus
Parrots and allies
- Alexandrine parakeet, Psittacula eupatria
- Rose-ringed parakeet, Psittacula krameri
- Plum-headed parakeet, Psittacula cyanocephala
- Blue-winged parakeet, Psittacula columboides
- Vernal hanging parrot, Loriculus vernalis
Pittas are medium-sized by passerine standards and are stocky, with fairly long, strong legs, short tails and stout bills. Many are brightly coloured. They spend the majority of their time on wet forest floors, eating snails, insects and similar invertebrates. There are 32 species worldwide and 5 species which occur in India and 1 species in Kerala.
- Indian pitta, Pitta brachyura
Minivets and cuckooshrikes
The cuckooshrikes are small to medium-sized passerine birds. They are predominantly greyish with white and black, although some species are brightly coloured. There are 82 species worldwide and 15 species which occur in India and 5 in Kerala.
- Small minivet, Pericrocotus cinnamomeus
- Scarlet minivet, Pericrocotus flammeus (Himalayan race P. f. speciosus is sometimes considered a different species and takes the name Scarlet Minivet while the nominate is called Orange Minivet Pericrocotus flammeus)
- Ashy minivet, Pericrocotus divaricatus
- Large cuckooshrike, Coracina javensis
- Black-headed cuckooshrike, Coracina melanoptera
The Old World orioles are colourful passerine birds. They are not related to the New World orioles. There are 29 species worldwide and 5 species which occur in India and 3 in Kerala.
- Black-hooded oriole, Oriolus xanthornus
- Indian golden oriole, Oriolus kundoo (Split from European golden oriole.)
- Black-naped oriole, Oriolus chinensis
The woodswallows are soft-plumaged, somber-coloured passerine birds. They are smooth, agile flyers with moderately large, semi-triangular wings. There are 11 species worldwide and 2 species which occur in India and 1 in Kerala.
- Ashy woodswallow, Artamus fuscus
Woodshrikes and flycatcher-shrikes
The woodshrikes are similar in build to the shrikes. There are 12 species worldwide and 3 species which occur in India and Kerala.
- Bar-winged flycatcher-shrike, Hemipus picatus
- Large woodshrike Tephrodornis virgatus (Endemic race of Western Ghats T. virgatus sylvicola sometimes accorded species status and called malabar woodshrike Tephrodornis sylvicola)
- Common woodshrike, Tephrodornis pondicerianus
The ioras are bulbul-like birds of open forest or thorn scrub, but whereas that group tends to be drab in colouration, ioras are sexually dimorphic, with the males being brightly plumaged in yellows and greens. There are 4 species worldwide and 2 species which occur in India and 1 in Kerala.
- Common iora, Aegithina tiphia
The drongos are mostly black or dark grey in colour, sometimes with metallic tints. They have long forked tails, and some Asian species have elaborate tail decorations. They have short legs and sit very upright when perched, like a shrike. They flycatch or take prey from the ground. There are 24 species worldwide and 9 species which occur in India and 6 in Kerala.
- Black drongo, Dicrurus macrocercus
- Ashy drongo, Dicrurus leucophaeus
- White-bellied drongo, Dicrurus caerulescens
- Bronzed drongo, Dicrurus aeneus
- Hair-crested drongo, Dicrurus hottentottus
- Greater racket-tailed drongo, Dicrurus paradiseus
The fantails are small insectivorous birds which are specialist aerial feeders. There are 44 species worldwide and 4 species which occur in India and only 1 in Kerala.
- White-browed fantail, Rhipidura aureola
Order: Passeriformes Family: Laniidae Shrikes are passerine birds known for their habit of catching other birds and small animals and impaling the uneaten portions of their bodies on thorns. A typical shrike's beak is hooked, like a bird of prey. There are 31 species worldwide and 9 species which occur in India and 3 in Kerala.
- Brown shrike, Lanius cristatus (Includes distinct subspecies Philippine shrike L. c. lucionensis)
- Bay-backed shrike, Lanius vittatus
- Long-tailed shrike, Lanius schach
Crows and treepies
The family Corvidae includes crows, ravens, jays, choughs, magpies, treepies, nutcrackers and ground jays. Corvids are above average in size among the Passeriformes, and some of the larger species show high levels of intelligence. There are 120 species worldwide and 22 species which occur in India and 4 in Kerala.
- Rufous treepie, Dendrocitta vagabunda
- White-bellied treepie, Dendrocitta leucogastra
- House crow, Corvus splendens
- Large-billed crow Corvus macrorhynchos (Regionally occurring race C. m. culminatus is sometimes considered a distinct species and called Indian jungle crow Corvus culminatus)
Monarch flycatchers and paradise flycatchers
The monarch flycatchers are small to medium-sized insectivorous passerines which hunt by flycatching. There are 99 species worldwide and 2 species which occur in India and Kerala.
The flowerpeckers are very small, stout, often brightly coloured birds, with short tails, short thick curved bills and tubular tongues.
- Thick-billed flowerpecker, Dicaeum agile
- Pale-billed flowerpecker, Dicaeum erythrorhynchos
- Plain flowerpecker, Dicaeum concolor(Races of northeastern India D. c. minullum and Andamans D. c. virescens are sometimes considered different species and hence the Western Ghat endemic nominate race takes the name nilgiri flowerpecker while the name plain flowerpecker is used for D. c. minullum)
Sunbirds and spiderhunters
The sunbirds and spiderhunters are very small passerine birds which feed largely on nectar, although they will also take insects, especially when feeding young. Flight is fast and direct on their short wings. Most species can take nectar by hovering like a hummingbird, but usually perch to feed. There are 131 species worldwide and 15 species which occur in India and 5 in Kerala.
- Little spiderhunter, Arachnothera longirostra
- Purple-rumped sunbird, Leptocoma zeylonica
- Crimson-backed sunbird, Leptocoma minima (Also known as small sunbird)
- Purple sunbird, Cinnyris asiaticus
- Loten's sunbird, Cinnyris lotenius (Also known as long-billed sunbird)
Fairy-bluebirds and leafbirds
The fairy-bluebirds are bulbul-like birds of open forest or thorn scrub. The males are dark-blue and the females a duller green. There are 2 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in India and in Kerala. The leafbirds are small, bulbul-like birds. The males are brightly plumaged, usually in greens and yellows. There are 9 species worldwide and 4 species which occur in India and 2 in Kerala.
- Asian fairy-bluebird, Irena puella
- Golden-fronted leafbird, Chloropsis aurifrons
- Jerdon's leafbird, Chloropsis jerdoni
The weavers are small passerine birds related to the finches. They are seed-eating birds with rounded conical bills. The males of many species are brightly coloured, usually in red or yellow and black, some species show variation in colour only in the breeding season. There are 116 species worldwide and 4 species which occur in India and 2 in Kerala.
Waxbills and munias
The estrildid finches are small passerine birds of the Old World tropics and Australasia. They are gregarious and often colonial seed eaters with short thick but pointed bills. They are all similar in structure and habits, but have wide variation in plumage colours and patterns.
- Red munia, Amandava amandava (Also known as Red avadavat)
- Indian silverbill, Euodice malabarica (Also known as White-throated munia)
- White-rumped munia, Lonchura striata
- Scaly-breasted munia, Lonchura punctulata
- Black-throated munia, Lonchura kelaarti
- Black-headed munia, Lonchura malacca (Race of east India L. m. atricapilla sometimes accorded species status and called chestnut munia Lonchura atricapilla while the regional birds are known as tricoloured munia)
Sparrows are small passerine birds. In general, sparrows tend to be small, plump, brown or grey birds with short tails and short powerful beaks. Sparrows are seed eaters, but they also consume small insects. There are 35 species worldwide and 12 species which occur in India and 2 in Kerala.
Wagtails and pipits
Motacillidae is a family of small passerine birds with medium to long tails. They include the wagtails, longclaws and pipits. They are slender, ground feeding insectivores of open country. There are 54 species worldwide and 20 species which occur in India and 15 in Kerala.
- Forest wagtail, Dendronanthus indicus
- Tree pipit, Anthus trivialis
- Olive-backed pipit, Anthus hodgsoni
- Red-throated pipit, Anthus cervinus
- Nilgiri pipit, Anthus nilghiriensis
- Richard's pipit, Anthus richardi
- Paddy-field pipit, Anthus rufulus (Also known as Oriental pipit)
- Blyth's pipit, Anthus godlewskii
- Tawny pipit, Anthus campestris
- Long-billed pipit, Anthus similis (Endemic race A. s. travancorensis also known as Travancore brown rock pipit)
- Yellow wagtail, Motacilla flava
- Grey wagtail, Motacilla cinerea
- Citrine wagtail, Motacilla citreola
- White-browed wagtail, Motacilla maderaspatensis
- White wagtail, Motacilla alba
Finches are seed-eating passerine birds, that are small to moderately large and have a strong beak, usually conical and in some species very large. All have twelve tail feathers and nine primaries. These birds have a bouncing flight with alternating bouts of flapping and gliding on closed wings, and most sing well. There are 137 species worldwide and 44 species which occur in India and just 1 in Kerala.
- Common rosefinch, Carpodacus erythrina
The emberizids are a large family of passerine birds. They are seed-eating birds with distinctively shaped bills. In Europe, most species are called buntings. In North America, most of the species in this family are known as sparrows, but these birds are not closely related to the Old World sparrows which are in the family Passeridae. Many emberizid species have distinctive head patterns. There are 275 species worldwide and 18 species which occur in India and 4 in Kerala.
- Little bunting, Schoeniclus pusillus 
- Red-headed bunting, Emberiza bruniceps
- Black-headed bunting, Emberiza melanocephala
- Grey-necked bunting, Emberiza buchanani (Also known as grey-hooded bunting)
- Grey-headed canary-flycatcher, Culicicapa ceylonensis
The Paridae are mainly small stocky woodland species with short stout bills. Some have crests. They are adaptable birds, with a mixed diet including seeds and insects.
- Cinereous tit, Parus cinereus. (Known earlier as great tit, Parus major)
- Black-lored Tit Machlolophus xanthogenys(Endemic race of Western Ghats M. x. travancoreensis is sometimes considered under race M. x. aplonotus as an independent species named indian black-lored tit or indian tit or indian yellow tit Parus aplonotus
Larks are small terrestrial birds with often extravagant songs and display flights. Most larks are fairly dull in appearance. Their food is insects and seeds. There are 91 species worldwide and 22 species which occur in India and 6 species occur in Kerala.
- Rufous-tailed lark, Ammomanes phoenicura
- Ashy-crowned sparrow-lark, Eremopterix griseus
- Jerdon's bushlark, Mirafra affinis
- Greater short-toed lark, Calandrella brachydactyla
- Oriental skylark, Alauda gulgula
- Malabar lark, Galerida malabarica
Cisticolas and allies
The Cisticolidae are warblers found mainly in warmer southern regions of the Old World. They are generally very small birds of drab brown or grey appearance found in open country such as grassland or scrub.
- Zitting cisticola, Cisticola juncidis
- Golden-headed cisticola, Cisticola exilis
- Grey-breasted prinia, Prinia hodgsonii
- Jungle prinia, Prinia sylvatica
- Ashy prinia, Prinia socialis
- Plain prinia, Prinia inornata
- Common tailorbird, Orthotomus sutorius
Bush warblers and grassbirds
- Rusty-rumped warbler,Locustella certhiola  [Historical]
- Grasshopper warbler, Locustella naevia
- Broad-tailed grassbird, Schoenicola platyurus
- Bristled grassbird, Chaetornis striata
Tree & reed warblers
- Thick-billed warbler, Iduna aedon
- Booted warbler, Iduna caligata
- Sykes's warbler, Iduna rama
- Blyth's reed warbler, Acrocephalus dumetorum
- Paddyfield warbler, Acrocephalus agricola
- Clamorous reed warbler, Acrocephalus stentoreus
The family Hirundinidae is adapted to aerial feeding. They have a slender streamlined body, long pointed wings and a short bill with a wide gape. The feet are adapted to perching rather than walking, and the front toes are partially joined at the base. There are 75 species worldwide and 15 species which occur in India and 9 species in Kerala.
- Northern house martin, Delichon urbicum
- Streak-throated swallow, Hirundo fluvicola
- Red-rumped swallow, Cecropis daurica
- Pacific swallow, Hirundo tahitica (Endemic race of Western Ghats and Sri Lanka, H. t. domicola, sometimes accorded species status and named Hill Swallow Hirundo domicola)
- Wire-tailed swallow, Hirundo smithii
- Barn swallow, Hirundo rustica
- Eurasian crag-martin, Ptyonoprogne rupestris
- Dusky crag-martin, Ptyonoprogne concolor
- Plain martin, Riparia paludicola chinensis (Regional vagrants are of race R. p. chinensis, sometimes accorded species status and called grey-throated sand-martin, Riparia chinensis)
Bulbuls are medium-sized songbirds. Some are colourful with yellow, red or orange vents, cheeks, throats or supercilia, but most are drab, with uniform olive-brown to black plumage.
- Black bulbul Hypsipetes leucocephalus (Endemic race of Western Ghats and Sri Lanka, H. l. ganeesa, sometimes accorded species status and named Square-tailed bulbul or Square-tailed black bulbul Hypsipetes ganeesa)
- Black-crested bulbul Pycnonotus melanicterus (Endemic race of Western Ghats, P. m. gularis, sometimes accorded species status and named flame-throated bulbul Pycnonotus gularis)
- Red-whiskered bulbul, Pycnonotus jocosus
- Red-vented bulbul, Pycnonotus cafer
- Yellow-throated bulbul, Pycnonotus xantholaemus
- White-browed bulbul, Pycnonotus luteolus
- Grey-headed bulbul, Brachypodius priocephalus
- Yellow-browed bulbul, Acritillas indica
Old world leaf warblers
- Hume's leaf warbler, Abrornis humei 
- Common chiffchaff, Phylloscopus collybita
- Tytler's leaf warbler, Phylloscopus tytleri
- Tickell's leaf warbler, Phylloscopus affinis
- Green leaf warbler, Seicercus nitidus
- Greenish leaf warbler, Seicercus trochiloides
- Large-billed leaf warbler, Seicercus magnirostris
- Western crowned leaf warbler, Seicercus occipitalis
Sylvia warblers and allies
The family Sylviidae is a group of small insectivorous passerine birds. They mainly occur as breeding species, as the common name implies, in Europe, Asia and, to a lesser extent, Africa. Most are of generally undistinguished appearance, but many have distinctive songs.
- Eastern Orphean warbler, Curruca crassirostris
- Lesser whitethroat, Curruca curruca (Regionally occurring wintering/passage birds are of race C. c. althaea sometimes accorded species status and named Hume’s Whitethroat)
- Yellow-eyed babbler, Chrysomma sinense
The white-eyes are small and mostly undistinguished, their plumage above being generally some dull colour like greenish-olive, but some species have a white or bright yellow throat, breast or lower parts, and several have buff flanks. As their name suggests, many species have a white ring around each eye. There are 96 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in India and in Kerala.
- Oriental white-eye, Zosterops palpebrosus
Scimitar babblers and allies
The babblers, or timaliids, are somewhat diverse in size and colouration, but are characterised by soft fluffy plumage.
- Indian scimitar babbler, Pomatorhinus horsfieldii
- Tawny-bellied babbler, Dumetia hyperythra
- Dark-fronted babbler, Rhopocichla atriceps (Includes distinct subspecies Bourdillon’s babbler R. a. bourdilloni).
- Puff-throated babbler, Pellorneum ruficeps
Babblers and laughing-thrushes
- Quaker Tit Babbler, Alcippe poioicephala
- Large grey babbler, Turdoides malcolmi
- Rufous babbler, Turdoides subrufa
- Jungle babbler, Turdoides striata
- Yellow-billed babbler, Turdoides affinis
- Wynaad laughing-thrush, Garrulax delesserti
- Kerala laughing-thrush, Strophocincla fairbanki (Endemic to Western Ghats south of Palakkad gap. Sometimes treated as two species - palani laughing-thrush Strophocincla fairbanki & travancore laughing-thrush Strophocincla meridionalis)
- Black-chinned laughing-thrush, Strophocincla cachinnans (Endemic to Western Ghats north of Palakkad gap up to Coorg. Sometimes treated as two species - banasura Laughing-thrush Strophocincla jerdoni & nilgiri Laughing-thrush Strophocincla cachinnans)
Nuthatches are small woodland birds. They have the unusual ability to climb down trees head first, unlike other birds which can only go upwards. Nuthatches have big heads, short tails and powerful bills and feet. There are 24 species worldwide and 7 species which occur in India and 2 in Kerala.
- Chestnut-bellied Nuthatch, Sitta castanea (Himalayan race S. c. cinnamoventris is sometimes considered a different species and takes the name chestnut-bellied nuthatch while the regionally occurring nominate is called indian nuthatch)
- Velvet-fronted nuthatch, Sitta frontalis
Starlings are small to medium-sized passerine birds. Their flight is strong and direct and they are very gregarious. Their preferred habitat is fairly open country. They eat insects and fruit. Plumage is typically dark with a metallic sheen.
- Common starling, Sturnus vulgaris
- Rosy starling, Pastor roseus
- Purple-backed starling, Agropsar sturninus 
- Brahminy starling, Sturnia pagodarum
- Chestnut-tailed starling, Sturnia malabarica (Includes distinct endemic race malabar starling S. m. blythi , sometimes accorded species status)
- Common myna, Acridotheres tristis
- Jungle myna, Acridotheres fuscus
- Hill myna, Gracula religiosa (Endemic race of Western Ghats and Sri Lanka, G. r. indica, sometimes accorded species status and named southern hill myna)
Chats and flycatchers
Chats and flycatchers is a large group of small passerine birds native to the Old World. They are mainly small arboreal insectivores. The appearance of these birds is highly varied, but they mostly have weak songs and harsh calls.
- Indian robin, Saxicoloides fulicatus
- Oriental magpie-robin, Copsychus saularis
- White-rumped shama, Kittacincla malabarica
- Asian brown flycatcher, Muscicapa dauurica
- Brown-breasted flycatcher, Muscicapa muttui
- White-bellied blue flycatcher, Cyornis pallipes
- Tickell's blue flycatcher, Cyornis tickelliae
- Blue-throated flycatcher, Cyornis rubeculoides
- Verditer flycatcher, Eumyias thalassinus
- Nilgiri flycatcher, Eumyias albicaudatus
- White-bellied shortwing, Brachypteryx major (Includes two endemic subspecies, nilgiri shortwing or nilgiri blue robin B. m. major found in the Western Ghats north of Palakkad gap till Bababudan Hills and white-bellied shortwing or white-bellied blue robin B. m. albiventris found south of the gap. Based on molecular studies, it is proposed to elevate the two races to species level.
- Indian blue robin, Larvivora brunnea
- Bluethroat, Luscinia svecica
- Malabar whistling thrush, Myophonus horsfieldii
- Rusty-tailed flycatcher, Ficedula ruficauda
- Kashmir flycatcher, Ficedula subrubra
- Red-breasted flycatcher, Ficedula parva
- Taiga flycatcher, Ficedula albicilla
- Ultramarine flycatcher, Ficedula superciliaris 
- Yellow-rumped flycatcher, Ficedula zanthopygia
- Black-and-rufous flycatcher, Ficedula nigrorufa
- Black redstart, Phoenicurus ochruros
- Blue-capped rock thrush, Monticola cinclorhynchus
- Blue rock thrush, Monticola solitarius
- Rufous-tailed rock thrush, Monticola saxatilis
- Siberian stonechat, Saxicola maurus
- Pied bushchat, Saxicola caprata
- Northern wheatear, Oenanthe oenanthe
- Isabelline wheatear, Oenanthe isabellina
- Pied wheatear, Oenanthe pleschanka 
- Desert wheatear, Oenanthe deserti
The thrushes are a group of passerine birds that occur mainly in the Old World. They are plump, soft plumaged, small to medium-sized insectivores or sometimes omnivores, often feeding on the ground. Many have attractive songs.
- Scaly thrush, Zoothera dauma (The endemic race of Western Ghats, Z. d. neilgherriensis, sometimes accorded species status and called nilgiri thrush)
- Pied thrush, Geokichla wardii
- Orange-headed thrush, Geokichla citrina (Includes distinct subspecies white-throated ground-thrush, Zoothera citrina cyanota)
- Indian blackbird, Turdus simillimus (Endemic to Peninsular India. Includes distinct migratory subspecies black-capped blackbird T. s. nigropileus & resident bourdillon's blackbird T. s. bourdilloni apart from nominate nilgiri blackbird)
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