Endangered Birds You Can Photograph on Our Tours

grey crowned crane, kenya

Photography can bring attention to the beauty and the peril of endangered species, and spark action to save them. On our Photo Tours we’re conscious of this opportunity and passionate about educating and encouraging participants to focus on them. Here are eight endangered birds you can document and portray before they threaten to disappear.


1. Pallas’s fish eagle


Endangered Pallas's fish eagle, Corbett

© Sachin Rai


Also known as the band-tailed fish eagle or the Pallas’s sea eagle, this raptor looks majestic with an ancestral dark eye, bill, and talons of the first sea-eagles. Feeding mostly on large freshwater fish, it frequently eats water birds. And since it assaults even the greylag goose which is heavier than itself and flies off with the kill, it is popular as one of the greatest weight-lifting triumphs ever recorded for a flying bird.

The Pallas’s fish eagle is Vulnerable, with a population of about 2,500 to 10,000 remaining, and can be seen on our Kaziranga and Corbett Photography Tours.


2. The adjutants

Getting their English name from their gait that’s rather stiff when they walk on ground, both the greater and lesser adjutants are endangered due to improved sanitation in the areas they dwell in.  The greater adjutant is especially rare, with the huge garbage dump in the outskirts of Guwahati being one of the best places to see it.  Although they are known for their habit of scavenging, adjutants are also opportunistic enough to prey on vertebrates.


Endangered lesser adjutant stork, Bandhavgarh

© Sachin Rai


You can see the greater adjutant on our Kaziranga Wildlife Photo Tour, and the lesser adjutant on our Bandhavgarh Photography Tour.


3. Grey-crowned crane


Endangered grey-crowned crane, Kenya

© Sachin Rai


The grey-crowned crane is found in the African dry savannahs. This tall, handsome bird is known to nest in wetter habitats although they dwell in the southern parts of the Sahara. This bird that faces threat to its habitat due to overgrazing, drainage and pesticide pollution in much of its range is a delight to watch when it’s displaying, which involves bowing, dancing and even jumping. With a head that has a crown of adorable, stiff golden feathers, the grey-crowned crane is omnivorous and spends entire day looking for food and sleeping the whole night.

Watch and photograph the endangered grey-crowned crane on our upcoming Photo Tour to Kenya.


4. Woolly-necked stork

Distributed in a range of habitats, including freshwater wetlands, forest marshes and agricultural areas, the woolly-necked stork is a glistening black bird with a furry white neck. It’s a large wading bird and walks slowly and steadily on the ground on the lookout for prey, which includes insects, reptiles and amphibians. It usually uses forest trees and solitary trees to build nests but it is so adaptive that in India, it sometimes builds its nest on cell phone towers!


Endangered woolly-necked stork, Kanha

© Santosh Saligram

However, you can see the woolly-necked stork on the Kaziranga Photo Tour.


5. Secretarybird


Endangered secretarybird, Kenya

© Sachin Rai


A terrestrial bird of prey, the secretarybird is mostly found in the vast grasslands and savannahs of Africa. A recent theory describes that the word ‘secretary’ is borrowed from an altered French form of the Arabic saqr-et-tair or ‘hunter-bird’. The generic name Sagittarius is ‘archer’ in Latin, which might be an analogy with this endangered bird’s ‘quills’ to a quiver containing arrows.

You can behold this beautiful bird on our Kenya and Tanzania Photo Tours.


6. Red-headed vulture


Endangered red-headed vulture, Bandhavgarh

© Sachin Rai


Also known as the Indian black vulture and Asian king vulture, the imposing red-headed vulture is mainly found in India, with scattered populations in a few parts of Southeast Asia. An adult’s prominent naked head is deep red to orange in colour. The red-headed vulture is localised mostly to northern India, chiefly inhabiting the semi-desert and cultivated areas, and in open country. It was uplisted from Least Concern to Near Threatened by the IUCN in 2004.

But the endangered red-headed vulture can be beheld and photographed on our Bandhavgarh Photo Tour.


7. Long-billed vulture


Endangered long-billed vulture, Bandhavgarh

© Sachin Rai


The long-billed vulture, also called as the Indian vulture, chiefly breeds on hilly cliffs in peninsular and central India. With its bald head, short tail feathers and very broad wings, this vulture is distinguished from other species by its wing coverts and also the less-buffed body. It is a scavenger that mainly feeds on carcasses of dead animals, and is mostly found moving in flocks. Although it primarily breeds on cliffs, it is known to build its nest on trees in Rajasthan.

This vulture can be found on our Bandhavgarh Photo Tour.


8. Southern ground hornbill


Endangered southern ground hornbill, Kenya

© Sachin Rai


The southern ground hornbill is the largest species of hornbill. Its black colouration, with bright red patches of bare skin on its face, makes it a handsome bird to be framed into some evocative photographs. Found in the savannahs of Africa, it needs large trees for nesting. It looks out for food in short but dense grass. This hornbill has gained significance in several traditional African cultures with its large size and loud voice.

You can see the southern ground hornbill on our Photo Tours to Kenya and Tanzania.


Categories: Articles, Nature, Photography, Travel
Sourabha Rao

Sourabha is a staff writer at Toehold who dexterously gives verbal form to the inexpressible, and with her passion for travel, weaves immersive stories that transcend space and dissolve time.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *