|Over 500 seen.
The Hypocolius is a regular winter visitor to Kutch. The faithful wintering site is near Fulay in the Banni area, where a maximum population of 150 birds was seen on 20th December 1993 by me
In 2015-2016 a maximum of 40 birds was seen at Fulay.
About 35 km away (as a Hypocolius would fly) from Fulay we came across over 500 Hypocolius (a very conservative estimate). The actual number may exceed 700.
The birds were very vocal, seen feeding on Salvadora persica berries. The site was full of Salvadora persica and thorny bushes of Prosopis juliflora. The exotic weed Prosopis juliflora is cut for making charcoal in Banni, and the fallen branches and stands spread over some 500 acres of land provide the Hypocolius with a very nice hide out and communal roosting ground during the day.
We spent a total of four hours in two days on 26th March 2016 at 8.45 am, and on 27th march 2016 at 7.10 am. We took the count of birds and took images of flying, day roosting and feeding birds. The Salvadora bushes were in one single line and over-grown (packed with thorny bushes) so movement in the habitat was a problem.
In 10 minutes we could count over 100 Hypocolius flying from one side to the other.
Our estimate of this migratory flock is approximately 500+ birds. This appears to be the single largest number ever seen of this species. - JK