Monitoring bird migration through public participation

Each winter, millions of birds belonging to hundreds of species migrate into India from latitudes further north. When do these birds come and how do they spread across the country?More details can be found on the MigrantWatch website and on the blog.

  • Bar-headed Goose - one of our most spectacular migrants. Photo by Kalyan Varma.

  • Asian Brown Flycatcher. Photo by Sumit Sinha.

  • Common Stonechat. Photo by BW Shirolkar.

  • Grey Wagtail. Photo by Clement Francis.

Summaries of MigrantWatch data

There are over 30,000 sightings of migratory species in the MigrantWatch database. Each of these can be explored by anyone who goes to the website. On our data page, tou can search for species or State, and can specify other search criteria. The sightings are displayed in map and tabular form, and if you log in to your MigrantWatch account you can download the raw data.

In addition to providing access to the individual sightings, the MigrantWatch team occasionally creates numerical or graphical (including map-based) summaries of the information that participants have contributed. These summaries are posted on the MigrantWatch blog; do visit!

Finally, in 2013, we came out with a brief overview of the first five years of the project in a report: MigrantWatch 2007-2012. This report shows some summaries of the patterns that have emerged, and also lists, with thanks, all the contributors to the project.

Migrantwatch 5 years summary report 2013 03 cover

Cover of the MigrantWatch 5-year summary report

Pied Cuckoo Campaign

The Pied Cuckoo is a strange and enigmatic species. Like many other cuckoos, it is a brood parasite on the nests of other species. But its migration is particularly interesting. There are two populations of Pied Cuckoos in India. The resident population in the southern peninsula can be seen year-round. But in central and northern India, Pied Cuckoos are seen between June and November, and are largely absent for the rest of the year. These migratory cuckoos appear to be travelling to and from Africa; and their appearance in late May and June has led to the belief that the birds herald the onset of the monsoon.

The Pied Cuckoo Campaign is an effort to collect information on the arrival of these birds to better understand whether or not they indeed are 'harbingers of the monsoon'. The campaign has been running since 2009 as part of MigrantWatch, and the information contributed so far suggests that these cuckoos do indeed arrive ahead of the monsoon in central and northern India, but the degree to which they do so differs from place to place and from year to year.

Piedcuckoo avinashlondhe

Pied Cuckoo, by Avinash Londhe (via MigrantWatch)





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    Jeganathan, P. (2015). வானில் பறக்கும் புள்களைத் தேடி. தி ஹிந்து சித்திரை மலர். January 2015. (On my eBirding Big Year). Vanil Parakkum Pulgalai Thedi. The Hindu Sithirai Malar. January 2015. 

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  • Report
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    Unpublished report, Citizen Science Programme, National Centre for Biological Sciences.

    PDF, 2.76 MB

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    Available here:

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