The Birds of Bangladesh
There are some great locations for bird watching in Bangladesh: forests, mountains, and even choice areas in and around most of the lakes. However, if you don’t know what you’re looking for then you might as well sleep in or go searching for Bengal Tigers.
The Doel or the magpie robin is the national bird of Bangladesh. One of the more familiar birds about towns and villages. Shy, silent and unobtrusive during non-breeding season, but known to pull a complete change of character that more often than not sees it skulking about in the bushes and trees, subtly cooing in hopes of attracting a mate.
Conspicuous during breeding season when the male Doel sings lustily (chirping the bird equivalent of Barry White) from its favorite treetop or post, specifically during early mornings and late afternoons. The doel’s chirping is accentuated by upward jerks of its white fringed tail. The Doel also happens to be a very good mimic of other birds’ calls (which is a good trick to know when you’re out searching for a mate). It jealously guards its breeding territory, and intruding males are regaled with all sorts of bird machismo including a puffed out chest, strutting about a general display of arrogance (much like you would expect to find in Naples, Italy – only there we’re not talking about birds).
The Shalik or myna bird is a very common bird species in Bangladesh. A common myna is about the size of an American robin. Its colors range from rich wine-brown on the lower breast to deep black on the head, neck, and upper breast. It has a splash of white on the lower edge of its wings, and its bill and legs are a bright yellow. This myna feeds on plants, insects, and worms. It often builds its nest in crevices of buildings. It is a noisy bird that is common about yards and buildings. Thus, you don’t need to travel far to find a myna staring back at you within your binoculars range of vision. It is often seen among chickens or perched on the backs of cattle.
Just like back in the United States, mynas are easily taught to imitate the human voice and can talk, sing, and whistle.
Meanwhile, the Machhhranga or the kingfisher is very common in the Bangladesh river delta. Twelve varieties of kingfishers have been recorded in Bang including the brown-winged, white-collard, black-capped and the rare ruddy kingfisher.
The Kaththokra or the woodpecker boasts an incredible 22 different in the country, especially in the Sundarbans.
And finally, the red-cockaded woodpecker is becoming rarer and identified as a vulnerable species in Bang, its classification being listed just under endangered.
It doesn’t take much too really get sucked into the joy of bird watching. A field guide, a sturdy pair of binoculars and a little patience. Check out the Travel link on Bangladesh.com for reliable points-of-contact for tour agencies that can provide transport to the best bird watching areas in the region.