Birds and butterflies are some of the most loved and admired taxa of animals, due to their beauty, colour, vivacity, diversity, fragility,
accessibility and friendliness. Another reason for our admiration for birds and butterflies is their flying ability, which Man has always aspired to
gain. Although we have reached the moon, we can only glide (that also with artificial ‘wings’), much life the ancestors of birds, millions of years
ago. Which child does not desire to majestically soar like an eagle, high up in the sky, or dexterously flit from flower to flower, sipping the
Birds and butterflies are also good indicators of the quality of our environment - more of them means that the environment is still
good, the air is breathable, trees and shrubs are surviving, open space has not been encroached upon, the wetlands are still not too polluted, and
the crow and the cat population are under control. In UK, one of the parameters of the quality of life is the diversity of birds found around a
house, a village or a town.
Being more or less harmless to us and found everywhere, bird and butterfly watching can be a very enjoyable hobby. Although, there is
no age bar in developing this hobby, the best is to start early. A child-like inquisitiveness will teach you the difference between an Ashy Prinia
and the Jungle Prinia, the difference between the call of the Rock Bush Quail and the Jungle Bush Quail, and the subtle plumage difference
between the Tawny Eagle and the Greater Spotted Eagle.
This is Mehran Zaidi’s second book. I liked his first book Bird by Bird: Common Indian Birds. Certainly, a great achievement for a
graduate student! I hope, like his earlier book, this book will also help in developing interest among youngsters, especially in particular. Can a
person who enjoys the antics of a Tailor Bird or a Purple Sunbird in his garden be oblivious to the fifth which we generate, can a person who
spends a lovely morning near a wetland while ducks fly all around him/her, remain unmoved by the pollution of the Yamuna, can a person who
likes the Plain Tiger or a Danaid Eggfly allow unnecessary cutting of shrubs in his municipal garden?
Love of nature starts from knowing the life forms around you. And if you love nature, you would protect it. I hope this book would
help in developing a young army of conservationists, which our country urgently required.
About the Author
Mehran Zaidi: The Youngest Ornithology enthusiast, Mehran started watching birds when he was just 10 years old. At 17 years he was a
contributor to various National dailies on the subject of Birds and Bird watching. By the age of 19 he was already an author. Educated at the
Modern School, New Delhi and topped his batch in history he is presently studying at the Asian College of Journalism, Chennai.
Mehran has done a one-year diploma course for Leadership in Biodiversity Conservation from the Bombay Natural History
Society (BNHS), and was one of the few, besides being the youngest to be awarded a certificate. He is presently undergoing a one-year
Ornithology course from BNHS. He is also a keen photographer and has completed a course in Advanced Photography from Bal Bhavan, New
Mehran has interned has interned with the Hindustan Times NEXT to upgrade his journalistic skills. He was a regular contributor one
‘birds and other creatures’ for The Hindustan Times and The Tribune. He wrote a weekly column, ‘Spotted in my Neighbourhood’ for HT NEXT
which was later moved to the main paper.
The Limca Book of Records acknowledges him as a contributor to the Nature and Transport section of their yearbook.
Mehran regularly undertakes interactive sessions and presentations in schools on nature, conservation and birdwatching.
He is actively involved in the Asola Wildlife Sanctuary at Tughlaqabad and ‘Delhibird’, with groups of birdwatchers and
His first book, on birdwatching, Bird (Scholastic India 2006) has received much critical acclaim. It has been extensively reviewed and
appreciated, including a review from the celebrated writer, Khushwant Singh.
Birds and Butterflies of Delhi is his second book on the subject.
Mohd Anwar is a BFA from the prestigious B K College of Art & Craft, Bhubaneswar. His works have been exhibited in the
Lokayat Art Gallery and just Art in 2002 & 2004 respectively. He has illustrated books for Ratna Sagar, Penguin and Scholastic. He specializes
in nature, water colours being his favourite medium. He also does murals and collages.
Hans Ram Yadav is a graduate from College of Art, Delhi University and an MA in drawing and painting from Jiwaji
University, Gwalior. Yadav illustrates for Ratna Sagar and Rupa and for various magazines and newspapers. He loves to share his talent and
knowledge and hence teaches in a government school. He specializes in landscapes and portraits.
I have always enjoyed working with the young and first-time writer, who in spite of their age and lack of popularity have shown great talent and
professionalism in their respective fields of work and hobbies. They always bring a new and fresh perspective to any topic.
Mehran, is one such enthusiast who has a vast amount of knowledge in the field of Ornithology (study of birds). What he lacks in
experience of his technical qualification (because of his age), he makes all efforts to compensate for with his in-depth research as a field
observer. He considers Birds and Butterflies his friends and tries to understand their behaviour patterns as a non-technical observer. He tries to
explain their place in nature and life around us - in simple words that other birdwatchers and nature lovers find easy to understand.
His new book, Birds & Butterflies of Delhi is one such creation targeted at the vast general population that notices all these different
variety of birds and butterflies in the areas of Delhi and its environs but do not have the time to follow their pattern and natural cycle through the
year. Mehran’s new book provides enough information for the first time observer to identify and understand the birds and butterflies around
We have tried to keep the detailing simple by showing the observation grounds (outline map of Delhi) where these variety of birds can
be found through areas highlighted on the maps along with every variety of bird given. However a general map of the Delhi area (see Figure 1)
that identifies the North/South/East/West break-up of the region is given on this page as a guide.
Back of the Book
Watching birds and butterflies can be a very enjoyable hobby. Though, there is no age to bird watching, it is best to start early. A child-like
inquisitiveness will teach you the difference between an Ashy Prinia and the Jungle Prinia, difference between the call of the Rock Bush Quail
and the Jungle Bush Quil, and the subtle plumage difference between the Tawny Eagle and the Greater Spotted Eagle.
Birds and butterflies are good indicators of the quality of our environment - the more of them seen in our everyday lives means that
the environment is still good, the air breathable, trees and shrubs are surviving, there are still open spaces and the wetlands are still not too
The world over one of the parameters of the quality of life is the diversity of birds found around a house, a village or town.
The young Ornithology enthusiast Mehran’s new book Birds & Butterflies of Delhi is a landmark to his dedication to a cleaner
environment and the no-so-popular hobby of birdwatching in Delhi.
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