20 July 2018

My Genetic Journey

[Short glossary of terms available at the end.]

Not having the slightest idea about my lineage beyond my great-grandfather, I was clueless about my roots, and not wearing a Syed or Mughal hat did not help matters either. Whatever documentary records existed, were left behind in the mayhem of Partition in 1947, when my parents’ families migrated from Jalandhar in Indian Punjab. All that remained were stories, happily twisted by the bards and passed down the generations. Some years ago, I heard of DNA tests being used for genealogy, and given my high school studies in the pre-medical stream – albeit four decades ago – I could faintly figure out the basics. I quickly caught up with the latest in the field of ‘population genetics’ through two very useful books for the layperson: The Journey of Man by Spencer Wells and Seven Daughters of Eve by Bryan Sykes. The former explains the development and world-wide spread of male lineages while the latter discusses the female lineages in Europe. As I finished the books, I became sufficiently enthused to order DNA tests through the Internet. This entailed an inside-the-cheek scrape with sterilised cotton buds sent by the testing company; the cotton buds carrying the DNA sample were returned through courier. Six weeks later, as promised, I received the report with about as much anxiety as on a final exam result announcement!

My Patriline

My patriline (father, father’s father … and so on) was determined through what is known as a Y-Chromosome DNA test. The patriline was found to belong to Haplogroup (unique group) R2, one of several hundred male groups and sub-groups discovered so far.  The group originated in  Central Asia about 25,000 years ago when one of its members underwent a mutation (M-124) on his Y-Chromosome.  This mutation marked him as different from his Haplogroup R ancestors (‘R’ having originated 30,000 years ago). My DNA test revealed the presence of the tell-tale M-124 mutation marker. [Since the time I tested in 2005, an upstream marker M-479 was discovered which is now the defining mutation for Haplogroup R2, while M-124 now denotes my sub-clan R2a that arose about 15,000 years ago.]

The timeframe as to when the defining mutation took place is determined by noting the number of markers present, each mutation occurring on an average every 5,000 years. With five mutation markers identified on my Y-DNA prior to the latest M-479 (viz, M207, M45, M9, M89, and M168), the age of my Haplogroup R2 turns out to be 25,000 years.

Y-Chromosome DNA Haplogroup R2 Migration Map
The place of origin of the mutation can be determined by noting in which part of the world maximum variants of a particular haplogroup exist; this is because longer the haplogroup has been around, more time for varieties to crop up.  In case of R2, the maximum variation exists in the region of Central Asia (roughly present day Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Afghanistan), implying that R2 people have existed for the longest period in that region.

R2 people left the arid steppes, with nine out of every ten men gradually moving to the fertile Indus and Ganges river valleys of South Asia, where this group’s prevalence today stands at around 9% of the male population. In Pakistan, 7% of all males are of R2 lineage. An unusually high R2 spike at 37% has been observed amongst the Burusho-speaking males from Hunza, albeit from a small sample population.  Haplogroup R2 is responsible for one of the three earliest large scale population dispersals into South Asia, and the R2 people can vie for the title of ‘sons-of-the-soil’ along with those of Y-Chromosome Haplogroups H and L.

While 90% of individuals belonging to Haplogroup R2 are present in South Asia, the remainder are found in Central Asia, Anatolia, and the Caucasus.  Outside of South Asia, the frequency breakdown of Haplogroup R2 within their respective population groups is as follows: Kurds 10%, Tajiks 6%, Georgians 4%, Uyghurs 4%, Uzbeks 3%, Armenians 2%, Azerbaijanis 2%, Kazakhs 2%, Kyrgyz 2% and Turks 2%. A few population groups show a disproportionately high incidence of R2; these include Sinte Roma 53%, Bartangi Tajiks 17%, and Chechens 16%.

My Haplogroup R2 also conveys a lot more about my lineage in a roundabout way. It tells me that, were I to claim holy Arab lineage (with surnames like Abbasi, Ansari, Farooqui, Hashmi, Qureshi, Siddiqui, Syed, Usmani, etc) it would be bogus, because virtually all Arabs of the peninsula belong to the male Haplogroups J1 and J2, and some I and G. Similarly, any pretensions about my being an imperial Mongol (with surnames like Barlas, Changezi, Chughtai, Mirza, Mughal, Taimuri, etc) would be unfounded because Mongols belong to Haplogroup C2. So with no regal or sacred surname embellishing our family, it is likely that our paternal ancestors moved into South Asia, and settled down as simple farmers in the Indo-Gangetic plains; they could well be the precursors of the Harappans, I'd like to imagine.  The presence of R2 deep down in Sri Lanka, South India and Bangladesh points to these early migrations, which continued over a long timespan. Much later, the R2 men were joined by R1a pastoral nomads of the Central Asian steppes, who started to migrate around the time the Harappan Civilisation started to 'de-urbanise' around 2000 BC; today, R1a presence is more pronounced in Pakistan and Northern India.

It would be so much fun to retrace the route of prehistoric migrations of my R2 ancestors, but for the present there are no clear clues. If I were to join the dots between centres of present day R2 concentrations in South Central Asia, I would see myself travelling through Bukhara, Samarkand, Dushanbe, Kabul, Peshawar, and then debouching onto the Punjab plains, terminating my journey at Jalandhar.

My Matriline

My matriline (mother, mother’s mother … and so on) was determined through what is known as a mitochondrial DNA test.  The matriline was found to belong to Haplogroup J, one of several hundred female groups and sub-groups discovered so far.  Haplogroup J originated 45,000 years ago when a mutation took place in the DNA of a woman who lived in the Anatolian-Caucasus region. The mutation left a tell-tale signature in her mitochondrial DNA that is carried by all of her female descendants to this day. Thus, all of them can be identified by the J ‘badge’.

Further mutations took place on the J line, which can be identified as J1a1 (27,000 years ago), J2a (19,000 years ago), J2b2 (16,000 years ago), etc. Each of these mutations took place in the DNA of women who can be termed as the ‘first ladies’ of their sub-clans. Their identity endures almost as a bar code in the ‘J’ women of today. My maternal sub-clan is J2b2.

Haplogroup J is associated with the spread of farming and herding in Europe during the Neolithic Era (8,000-10,000 years ago). All other West Eurasian origin haplogroups were previously given to hunting and gathering.

mtDNA Haplogroup J2 Migration Map
Of the two main sub-groups, J1 takes up four-fifths of the total, and is spread mostly on the European continent. J1 is also found amongst Saudis, Yemenis, Iraqis and Palestinians. J2 is more localised around the Mediterranean, notably in Turkey, Greece, Italy/Sardinia and Spain. A surprising presence of J2 (10%) amongst the Mansi of Ob river valleys in Russia, indicates a Neolithic Phase expansion towards the Urals. East of the Caucasus, occurrence of J2 has been noted in Northern Iran at 5%, Azerbaijan at 3% and Turkmenistan at 3%.

In Pakistan, where West Eurasian lineages occur at frequencies of up to 50% in some ethno-linguistic groups, J1 averages around 5%, while J2 occurrence is very rare. Intriguingly, however, it is found amongst 9% of Kalash women. When the presence of J2 is seen in association with the most frequent Kalash sub-group U4 (34%) which is abundant in the Volga-Urals region, a Trans-Caucasus (rather than the supposed Greek) origin of the Kalash is considered plausible.

It is also likely that some of my J2 ancestral women (along with their men, of course) migrated across the Caucasus on to the steppes north of Caspian and Black Seas, which was the heartland of R1a males. While R1a men are mostly found in East Europe, they also swung east and migrated into South Asia as the Vedic Aryans, starting around 2000 BC. My mother’s patriline of R1a attests to this occurrence. So that is how a few J2 women (along with their R1a men) ended their sojourn in what is now Pakistan. When and where a R2 man from my father’s side married the first ‘outsider’ J2 woman from my mother’s side will, perhaps, remain an enduring mystery.

My Ethnic Origins

The patriline and matriline tests look at a very specific and narrow segment of a person’s ancestry by testing for only the 2 pairs of sex chromosomes.  In each generation, only one person is of interest.  Five generations mean just five patrilineal or matrilineal ancestors (eg, father, grandfather, great grandfather, G-G-grandfather, G-G-G-grandfather). Thus, it can be seen that these two tests do not provide a comprehensive picture of one’s ethnicity, and are only meant to check for specific lineages.

The ethnic origins test looks at all 22 pairs of chromosomes, except the X- and Y-sex chromosomes. Thus, the complete genetic contribution of every generation is available. With every generation, the contributors double in number, so the genetic material for testing is vast. As an example, the fifth generation has 32 ancestors; tenth generation would have 1,048 ancestors! Theoretically speaking, tests are not limited by how far back can testing be done, so one can actually check for one’s Neanderthal great-great-great grand uncles as well!

I took an ethnic origins test to determine my ethnic composition. The results were a little surprising, but when looked at in light of my patrilineal and matrilineal origins, things did fall in place.

I am 77% South Asian, 13% West Asian, 6% Central Asian, 2% Irish-Scottish-Welsh and 2% Balkan. My patrilineal and matrilineal results provide clear clues in understanding these ethnic origins. The first three ethnicities are quite easy to figure out as my father’s side moved to South Asia from Central Asia, and my mother’s side moved to South Asia from West Asia (Anatolia and Caucasus region).  The latter two ethnicities reflect those West Asian cousins who migrated west, and ended up in Northern and Southern Europe instead of turning east for South Asia. In other words, we all shared a common ancestor a few millennia ago.

The ethnic origins results can be uploaded to third party ancestry sites for free, and allow a ‘second opinion’ on the raw results. I have done that, and generally, the ethnic origins are quite in agreement. Slight variations are there because different testing companies follow different testing protocols, and also, the interpretation of various geographical areas like Central Asia and West Asia is different.

The only challenge that remains for me is to discover definite migration routes followed by my ancestors into South Asia from their far-off places of origins in West Asia and Central Asia. As the data base of tested population groups expands, joining the dots is bound to become more precise. Once that happens, I would have truly come home!

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GLOSSARY OF TERMS

ChromosomeStructure found in the nucleus of a cell, which contain the genes. Humans have 23 pairs of chromosomes (22 pairs of autosomes and two sex chromosomes).

DNA (DeoxyriboNucleic Acid)Known as the structure of heredity, the DNA is a chemical consisting of a sequence of hundreds of millions of nucleotides found in the nucleus of cells and that contains the genetic information about an individual; DNA is shaped like a double-stranded helix.
 
Gene A gene is the basic physical and functional unit of heredity. Genes, which are made up of DNA, act as instructions to make molecules called proteins. A complete set of genetic instructions is called a Genome.

Haplogroup – A haplogroup is a genetic population group of people who share a common ancestor on the patrline or matriline. Haplogroups are assigned letters of the alphabet, and sub-groups consist of additional number and letter combinations.

Mutation An inheritable change that may occur in a gene or in a chromosome, and may take the form of a chemical rearrangement, or a partial loss or gain of genetic material.

Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) – It is the DNA located in cellular mitochondria that convert chemical energy from food into a form that cells can use. mtDNA is inherited solely from the mother. mtDNA is a powerful tool for tracking ancestry through females, and has been used in this role to track the ancestry back hundreds of generations.

Nucleotides – These are the alphabets of DNA. There are four of them: adenine (A), thymine (T), guanine (G) and cytosine (C). They always go by pairs, A with T, and G with C. Such pairs are called "base pairs". The 46 chromosomes of human DNA are composed of a total of 3 billion base pairs. The Y-chromosome possesses 60 million base pairs, against 153 million for the X chromosome.  mtDNA consists of only 16,569 base pairs.

Y chromosome – One of the two sex chromosomes, X and Y. The Y chromosome passes down from father to son. Females do not receive it. Since the Y chromosome goes down the paternal line, it is valuable for genealogy studies, since in general it follows a surname line. 

 

14 July 2018

Our Garden Birds

Without birds, where would we have learned that there can be song in the heart? [Hal Borland]

Location - Lahore, Pakistan
Garden Size - 9.8m x 4.8m (32' x 16')



A sibilant tweet heralds the arrival of the Purple Sunbird (Nectarinia asiatica), and I instantly know where to look for the tiny bird, one of the smallest in Pakistan. Our Rangoon Creeper, with its boughs laden with fragrant pink flowers, is where these birds have breakfast of sweet nectar every morning. The male, in dazzling iridescent purple tinged with cobalt blue and black, is an enchanting sight, darting about from flower to flower. Though the drab olive female has no role in attracting mates – unlike mammalia – it does have a keen eye for anything that is lustrous, purple, and flies.  Done with their high energy morning meal, the pair darts off, but I continue to hear the sharp call notes of the sunbirds until midday, flitting about in the tall Neem and Jaman trees in the neighbourhood. The sights and sounds of the sunbirds does wonders to my mood at the start of the day, so I make sure that the flowery creeper along our garden wall is in good shape, and loaded with sweet delights for the charming visitors. [Size 10 cm]
 
The Brown Rock Chat (Oenanthe fusca) is usually the first bird to serenade me with its sweet song at daybreak. When I first heard the tuneful aria, I hurried out to see the bird, which turned out to be quite like a female robin, but for its brown head and breast, with wings and tail shading off into a dark chocolate colour. Perched on the gate, it jerked its head as if startled, but I found this to be a recurring action every 10-15 seconds. Careful observation revealed that a gradual lifting of its tail precedes the jerky head movement, but there seems no explanation for this odd motor action. The chats are quite wary of human presence, and as I try to approach one for a closer look, it immediately flies off to the ledge.  I have seldom seen a chat perch on a tree, as buildings and similar structures are its preferred hangouts. With both sexes being alike, and their rich repertoire of calls and songs quite similar, the musical performance seems more of a synchronised duet. [Size 17 cm]


When I step out each morning, the rapid trilling whistles of the Common Babblers (Turdoides caudatus) seem to greet me, though I know they are in happy conversation with their own flock.  As I go to the gate to collect the newspaper, a party of half a dozen babblers suddenly takes flight, barely making it to the top of the boundary wall in much laboured flight. Finding me a familiar and harmless figure, they return one by one to their favourite hunting ground by the hedges. Hopping and slithering around, they forage for insects as well as berries, while a few elder members perched on the nearby Windmill Palm maintain a careful lookout, ready to sound a clamorous alarm at the sight of any predator. The babblers maintain their lively presence all day, and their whistles can be heard constantly, even though they may be out of sight in the hedges. To us, these babblers are like watchmen on the lookout for any intruders, even if these be vagrant cats or a snooping chameleon. [Size 23 cm]
 
The cacophony of babblers is broken by the Red Vented Bulbuls (Pycnonotus cafer) that chatter about melodiously, and quite heartily too. They often leave me enthralled with a short song or two, of several phrases.  Bulbuls are loveable birds as long as one does not have a fruit orchard, for these birds can be nasty pests.  The red vented variety is pugnacious in nature and quite possessive of its territory. It raises loud alarm calls on the sight of predators like cats, snakes or mongooses.  The bulbul’s red vent under the tail may seem amusing, but Darwin seemed to have no explanation for this oddly located flash of colour that is present in both genders.  Rather surprising is a sad fact that this perky bulbul is listed by IUCN amongst the 100 most invasive species, and one of three amongst all birds. It is said to harm ‘biological diversity’ amongst ecosystems, being a little bully of sorts somewhere in the Pacific islands.  Notwithstanding their unfavourable attribute, I am unabashedly pleased to see these bulbuls thriving in our garden, and would love to see them thrash about in their favourite birdbath for years to come. [Size 20 cm]
 
Just as I start to read the newspaper, I am startled by what sounds like the crackle of electric sparks. With no wires around as the source of the unusual noise, I find a small warbler-like bird flap onto the branches of our small Frangipani tree, and break into a resonant cheup, cheup, cheup. I have finally spotted the little Ashy Prinia (Prinia socialis), a not too regular visitor in our garden.  With both sexes having a slaty grey upper side blending into the brown wings, a white throat, and a hint of beige at the belly, they are distinct enough not to be confused with other species of prinias. The Ashy Prinia hunts for small insects in the creepers, flicking its graduated tail constantly.  Seldom staying for more than a few minutes, the prinia darts over to the neighbours’ garden, only to be replaced by its graceful cousin to continue the morning revelry. [Size 13 cm]
 
The delicate little Graceful Prinia (Prinia gracilis) has been visiting our garden for years, but it often takes me a while to be sure, especially when the similar looking Common Chiffchaff drops by in winters.  The prinia is sandy brown on the upper side with some streaking, and whitish at the belly, with a long tapering tail. A repetitive zit, zit, zit sounds like a gleeful notification meant for any prospective mate to join in for company; surely, another prinia alights from nowhere, and the insect hunt is on in the creepers. The song repertoire of the little bird includes what sound like trilling breeps and cherleeps to me.  It is hard to tell the cock from the hen, until I see some aerial antics by what turns out to be a male. Restless as most prinias are, the pair rapidly shoots off after a few minutes, which is all it can spare for my amusement. [Size 11 cm]
 
An amazing visitor to our garden is the Common Tailorbird (Orthotomus sutorius). The little bird is renowned for its remarkable ability to use its bill for stitching leaves into a nest covering that serves as a suitable camouflage against predators.  The edges of a big enough leaf are pierced with the bill and ‘sewn’ together with plant fibre to make a sort of a sheath, in which the actual nest of twigs and dry grass is built. I have not had the opportunity of seeing a tailorbird’s nest, as there are no suitable trees in our garden whose leaves it might choose for a home.  The bird has olive green upper sides and creamy lower parts, and can be easily confused with similar-looking warblers, unless one is careful to note the bird’s rusty-tinged forehead. The tail is upheld most of the time, and in some males, is said to be a bit longer than females, though there is no consensus if this is an instance of sexual dimorphism.  Hiding in the bushes, the tailorbird betrays its presence by the unmistakable territorial call, chwee-chwee-chwee. [Size 13 cm]
 
My earliest memories of robins were their images on the packets of Robin 'Neel' Whitener (indigo powder), a common household item used for brightening up washed white clothes. These images were, however, of the Robin Redbreast, a European species different from the Indian Robin (Saxicoloides fulicata) that is a common visitor to our garden. Sexually dimorphic, the cock robin is a majestic little bird with a tail held up emphatically, as it hops about to forage for insects. Deep brown on the upper side, with white shoulder patches, it is glossy black on the underside. The hen is beige on the neck, back and under side, and the wings are brown lacking the white patches. Both sexes have a chestnut coloured feathery tuft under the tail. The mating dance of the male is an enchanting display of dazzling plumage, and cannot fail to attract even the most unresponsive female. The robin is a fine songster, and its repertoire comprises sharp whistling warbles that are amongst the finest natural melodies one can hear in a garden. [Size 19 cm]
 
The Common Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita) is a winter visitor to the Indus plains, and makes its annual presence in our garden each October, soon after the end of monsoon season.  With olive drab upper parts and creamy underside, it can be confused with the similar looking Graceful Prinia, but for a much shorter tail. Both sexes are alike in appearance, though the female is slightly smaller.  Since chiffchaffs breed in spring, their mating habits and nesting behaviour is not observable during their winter sojourn to Pakistan. The bird gets its name from its repetitive calls, though it is not as noisy as the rest of the warblers.  It usually flits about in the foliage looking for insects while flicking its wings and tail.  Annual migration to balmy climes is apparently the reason for better survival prospects, and hence an increasing population of the chiffchaff. [Size 11 cm]
 
One of the smaller species of doves that frequent our garden is the  Red Collared Dove (Streptopelia tranquebarica). I have often seen them sipping water from the birdbath after fluttering down from the terrace railing. Being summer breeding visitors, they are mostly seen in pairs, cooing ardently as one would expect.  Sexually dimorphic, the male has a blue-grey head, ruddy upper parts, and is paler on the underside; the slightly smaller female has beige-grey upper parts and is light grey on the underside. Both have a half-black collar at the neck. The birdcall sounds something like cocoo-coo-cocoo-coo. In our younger days, we had believed a fanciful fable about this dove. It is said that the bird had indicated to a passing caravan of Midianites that the teenaged Yousaf (Joseph, later prophet) had been cast in a well by his jealous half-brothers.  Yousaf khoo, Yousaf khoo” (“Yousaf in the well”) is how the dove is supposed to have called out in Punjabi, which was somehow understood by the Hebrew-speaking travellers, and Yousaf was miraculously rescued! [Size 23 cm]
 
There could not be a more gentle-looking bird in our garden than the Laughing Dove (Streptopelia senegalensis). It is a small slim dove with a relatively long tail. Its head and upper parts are pinkish-beige with the wing edges lined by a streak of grey, and the front of the neck is mottled with black dots; the lower parts are a lighter shade of beige. Both sexes are alike. Their flight is quick and direct with the regular beats, and an occasional flick of the wings. In the breeding season, males exhibit some aerial antics by rapidly climbing up to about fifty feet, and then gliding down in a circular pattern for a perfect landing near the female.  I have found this dove to be somewhat tamer than its collared cousin, and is quite comfortable in the vicinity of humans.  It typically feeds on the ground, picking up grain and bread scraps.  Its mild calls of ohh-HO-ho-ho indeed invoke a hint of merriment and laughter. [Size 27 cm]
 
A splendid bird that is nowadays a rare visitor to our garden, is the Common Hoopoe (Upupa epops). With its fan-like crest erect while alighting (or when alarmed), it settles down on the grass and uses its long curved bill to probe for insects and grubs. The head, neck and under parts of the hoopoe are khaki, while the wings and square tail are banded black and white. The khaki crest is tipped black and white. Both sexes are alike in size and appearance. The hoopoe flies in a smooth wave-like motion due to its broad rounded wings that need not be flapped rapidly. It has a repetitive, and somewhat mellow, hoop-hoop-hoop call. An allegorical story in the Bible and the Quran alludes to Hud-Hud, a bird which, in conversation with Prophet Sulaiman (King Solomon, who knew the language of birds), brings tidings of a magnificent realm ruled over by the Queen of Saba (Sheba, in Yemen).  How Hud-Hud came to be identified as the hoopoe remains moot, but the story makes for a thought-provoking connection between theology and ornithology. Unfortunately, this bird of the Scriptures is decreasing in numbers due to habitat destruction and over-hunting, according to IUCN estimates. [Size 30 cm]
 
The House Crow (Corvus splendens) needs no introduction, as there are childhood stories galore about its ingenuity and resourcefulness.  A scavenger par excellence, the crow is dependent on man’s presence, and is one of the most familiar birds in any town or village.  Glossy black on the throat and upper side, with a grey nape, mantle and breast, it may not be impressive in appearance, but makes up for the lack of colour with its sociable and clever ways.  In our garden, the crow is ever ready to snatch a morsel, and knows exactly where the food sources like the kitchen are.  I have noted its brainy abilities as it drops a hard dried piece of naan in the birdbath to soften it, messing the water in the process. Once soft enough to be eaten, it flies away with the piece of bread into the tall trees for a hearty meal. Occasionally, it gets into a dogfight with its competitor, the Pariah Kite, and manages to score direct hits with its beak, being the more adroit of the two. The crow seems to have a live-and-let-live relationship with other birds that visit the garden, despite being much bigger than they are.  It will remain a welcome visitor for its presence in our garden reminds us that birds of different feathers can still flock together. [Size 40 cm]
 
The House Sparrow (Passer domesticus) is well known around human dwellings, and is the most common bird in our garden. It is omnivorous, so it subsists on any morsels left over from our dining table, alongside insects and seeds rummaged from the garden. The bird is considered a pest and causes significant damage to ripening wheat, though that is not our concern, mercifully. Sexually dimorphic, the male is markedly distinct from the female. The cock sparrow has a grey crown, black throat, and brown upper parts with black and grey striations. The hen has beige upper parts, also with black and grey striations. The under parts of both sexes are greyish-white. The sparrows can be seen chirping around the birdbath, quenching their thirst, and also taking refreshing baths in the hot summer season. A wary bird, the sparrow keeps its distance from man, but mixes well with most other birds, especially fellow scroungers like crows and mynas. While sparrows continue to thrive in our part of the world, their declining numbers due to use of pesticides in Europe should raise concerns in Pakistan too. It would be a pity if children had to interrupt the delightful story of the crow and sparrow doing a khichri (kedgeree) cooking project, by asking what a sparrow looked like. [Size 15 cm]
 
The most raucous and lively bird of our garden is the Common Myna (Acridotheres tristris). Widely known in towns and villages like the sparrows and crows, the myna is adaptable and opportunist, qualities that have helped it thrive in all environments. IUCN reports an increase in the population of this myna, worldwide. Both sexes have similar appearance and size. The neck and forehead are black, shading into a deep grey at the breast; the rest of the bird is brown, except for a white wing patch and a white tail tip. A yellow patch around the eye and yellow bill are features common to all mynas. The bird has a rich vocabulary, and always seems to be in some kind of conversation with members of its group.  The mynas are first to raise alarm on sighting predators like cats and big lizards, and continue with incessant dive attacks to scare them away. [Size 25 cm]

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 Picture Credits:
 
Rock Chat – Kesavan D
Common Babbler – Raju Kasambe
Red-vented Bulbul – Arthur de Wolf
Purple Sunbird (M) – Achintiya Das
Purple Sunbird (F) – Arun Bhatt
Ashy Prinia – Abhinav R
Graceful Prinia – Dikkuyruklu O Hegen
Common Tailorbird – Simon Richards
Common Chiffchaff – Carlos Capitan Romero
Indian Robin (M) – Siddharth Damle
Indian Robin (F) – Rick Toor
Red Collared Dove (M) – Stanislav Harvancik
Red Collared Dove (F) – Israel G Momin
Laughing Dove – Rohit Kumar Balodia
Common Hoopoe – Jiri Bohdal
House Crow – M Mahdi Karim
House Sparrow (M & F) – Armando Caldas
Common Myna – Viral G Pankaj
 
 
© KAISER TUFAIL. This is an open-access article published under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution Licence, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.