Posts Tagged 'birds of kerala'

cherry picking at our backyard: the indian koel

Posted by on 19 Jul 2009 | Category: photography, prakriti

indian koel female on the cherry tree

Is somebody watching me?

The female Indian Koel, eudynamys scolopacea, on our cherry tree.

indian koel female on the cherry tree


indian koel female on the cherry tree

Got it!

These koels often raid our bulbul nests. The bulbuls often make their nests around our house, at low shrubs. Once the hungry chicks come out, both bulbuls are in a frenzy to get enough food for them and probably it is during this time that the koels often find out the nestlings and get away with them. Sometimes one koel will mislead the bulbuls and in the mean time another koel would get the nestlings…

Date: 14 Oct 2007
Location: @ home, Kottayam, Kerala, India
Camera: Nikon D80 + Tamron SP AF90mm f/2.8 Di Macro Lens

Male Indian koels are glossy greenish black. Here is a quick shot from our old records.

male indian koel

Date: 08 June 2007
Location: @ home, Kottayam, Kerala, India
Camera: Olympus C770UZ + MCON-40 Macro Lens

nest raiders at our backyard

Posted by on 01 Jul 2009 | Category: photography, prakriti

One day we heard a lot of commotion just outside of our house. We saw 3 or 4 purple sunbirds, red whiskered bulbuls and yellow browed bulbuls at the same location, hovering and squeaking around. Though the possibility of a snake was there, it was ruled out because we saw a crow-pheasant (greater coucal) nearby, which is another enemy and nest raider of the smaller birds. Probably there is some bird nest nearby and the crow-pheasant was after it.

greater coucal, centropus sinensis

The greater coucal, Centropus sinensis, at the scene of action.

As usual, we took our camera and though the birds were in a distance, captured some photographs. These photographs were taken on 15 Feb 2008, from our home at Kerala. As usual, the photographs were processed and closely checked very late, more than a year later. We were taken in for a surprise. All of a sudden there is a snake in the picture! That too, a long snake with its long tail entwined all over the all-spices tree in our backyard…

purple sunbirds and the snake

The male purple sunbird, cinnyris asiaticus (~ nectarinia asiatica), as you see, is in the breeding plumage. They are glossy purple during breeding time and have brownish upper and greyish-white under sides during non-breeding time. You can see the predating snake sneaking through the all-spices tree on the right.

Birds, especially the smaller ones, have an effective (well, sometimes) defense system against snakes. If one of them finds a snake, they make sure that the whole world knows about it, by flapping and chirping out loud. This brings the rest of the community to the scene of action. Altogether, they make an aggressive attempt to mob and drive the snake away.

red whiskered bulbul, pycnonotus jocosus

Red whiskered bulbuls, pycnonotus jocosus, at the scene of action. We had earlier discovered that the red whiskered bulbuls are nesting nearby. Some of these >> red whiskered bulbul nests were photographed around the same time. So it is of ultimate interest to both these birds to get rid of the enemy off their domain.

yellow browed bulbul, lole indica

Yellow browed bulbul, lole indica, at the scene of action.

the great papaya fight

Posted by on 21 Feb 2009 | Category: photography, prakriti

“This is my papaya!”

“No, this is mine!”

indian treepie and the small green barbet

Reminiscing the great papaya fight of 2005 through an old photograph.

Rufous Treepie and Small Green Barbet competing for the papaya.

Birds of Kerala

copyright violation by malayala manorama

Posted by on 02 Dec 2008 | Category: photography

7 Nov 2008. Casually reading through Malayala Manorama, a malayalam newspaper we subscribe, the pleading eyes of an Indian Mynah grabbed my attention. The mynah was too familiar to me… I told sarah that this was the mynah on the papaya tree, which I photographed a few years back. We checked our records and found that it was stolen from my article on kerala birds here:

malayala manorama steals copyrighted photograph

The plagiarised photograph which appeared in page 9 of  malayala manorama newspaper on 7th November, 2008.


indian mynah

The original photograph, taken on 24th September, 2005, from my front yard. Note that the copyright embedded was also dismissed by the newspaper.

Fortunately I am in Kerala on vacation now, or I would never have known about this! Going through the rest of the images on the newspaper, it seemed that most of them were simply lifted from the internet, without any consent from the respective photographers/authors.

This is very shameful to come from one of the leading newspapers in Kerala. The editors of the newspaper should ascertain that whatever published in the newspaper is genuine and rightly credited for its source. Failing to do this is a treachery towards its subscribers and the original authors.


19 Nov 2008. I had called manorama yesterday and they assured to email me regarding the necessary actions that could be taken regarding this issue. So far they haven’t contacted me back.

In case malayala manorama doesn’t come up with a satisfactory solution, I will be filing a complaint regarding copyright violation and protection of my intellectual property rights.


21 Nov 2008. Reply from Malayala Manorama:

Dear Roxy

We have enquired about publication of the photograph as mentioned in your mail.

The picture was sent to us by the author of the article in a CD. He had not mentioned that it contained photos having copy right. We are sorry for having published it without your permission.

If you have no objection, we will carry a corrigendum stating that that photo was taken by Roxy Mathew.

Incidentally, I went through your blog. There are good photog raphs. If you are ready to contribute, we would like to publish a few photos with articles in Padhippura ofcourse giving credit to you.

We have warned all our contributors to avoid such mistakes in future.

With regards

Senior Sub Editor


24 Nov 2008. Reply back to Malayala Manorama:

Dear xxxxx, Senior Sub Editor:

Thank you for your email acknowledging the source of the photograph.
It is pleasing to know that the future contributors will be made aware
of providing genuine articles/photographs.

However, I am sorry to say that the solution provided is not satisfactory.
The credits should have been there in any case.
Just running a corrigendum stating the author will not
justify having the photograph on the newspaper free of cost.
Malayala Manorama does not run free advertisements or give
free subscriptions for everyone, right?

The photograph taken by me has been published, without credits,
on a commercial newspaper, which is sold in the market.
This means that the content of the news, articles, photographs
carry a price.

Adding the copyright violation to this, the newspaper has
to pay me a suitable compensation.
The newspaper may be aware that copyright violation charges
can carry a compensation from 50,000 to 2 lakh INR.
Please also note that my camera equipments are as expensive
as the amount stated above.



27 Nov, 2008. From my experience, the dealings with Malayala Manorama on the above issue has been clean and amicable, so far. They are regretful about overlooking the copyright of the photograph. The solutions agreed over the telephone:
1. The newspaper will be paying me an amount of 5,000 INR as compensation.
2. The newspaper will publish a corrigendum crediting the photographer.
This, they stated, will be done within a week. So, let me wait and see before any further updates

The newspaper also mentioned that they will make sure about credits of photographs/articles before publishing any, in the future. So far, as it sounds, is a welcome decision.


01 Dec, 2008. Corrigendum published by Malayala Manorama in the Padippura section. I am also happy to note that many of the photographs published in Padippura these days are credited to their rightful owners.

malayala manorama corrigendum

Translation: The photograph titled Mynah, published in the Padippura section on 7th November, was photographed by Roxy Mathew. The omission of the name is regretted.

05 Dec, 2008. Happy to note that today I received the cheque from Malayala Manorama. Many thanks to the editorial staff of the newspaper for responding to the issue and taking appropriate action at the right time.

malayala manorama pays for the photograph


indian treepie

Posted by on 07 Aug 2008 | Category: prakriti

Watercolor painting of an Indian Treepie, also known as Rufous Treepie, dendrocitta vagabunda.

Indian Treepie

The head, neck and breast of Indian Treepie are a deep slate-grey colour, sometimes slightly brownish. The underparts and lower back are a warm tawny-brown to orange-brown in colour with white wing coverts and black primaries. The tail is a light bluish-grey with a thick black band on the tip.

The Indian Treepie is extremely agile while searching for food, clinging and clambering through the branches. Its acrobatic dances on the coconut palm leaf (ola) has given it the name olenjali  in Malayalam.

Original photograph of the Indian Treepie, by rocksea, used for the painting :

Indian Treepie

Older Entries »