On the Rocks

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Nilgiri PipitIt was a very early start during my visit to Thattekad during the winter times of November 2014. A few hours from Thattekad is nested Munnar. As my eyelids slowly closed to the morning breeze, the smell of tea plantations woke me and left me high instantly. The finely maintained estates left me with goosebumps.

The highlight of Munnar to me was the Nilgiri Pipit. It is a tiny sweetheart found at high altitudes in South India. They are bright brown in colour and usually found as singles or in pairs.They grow anywhere between 12 -14 cm and have a shorter fifth primary. Smaller birds are very swift. You have to hold your breath until that click happens, or at least you get a good sight of the bird. I learnt to slow down and watch, though my excitement shows here and there.  I remember high up on the hill I was shifting from one corner to the other. Finally they got comfortable in one of the rocks, and I clicked away.

Nilgiri Pipits are found in Ponmudi Hills and Nilgiris above 3000 ft and their habitat includes marshy slopes and small streams. Their numbers are largely reducing because of colonization and forest fire and they are rated vulnerable.


  • Species name- Nilgiri Pipit – Anthus nilghiriensis
  • Place of shot – Munnar, Kerala
  • Season- November 2014