Friends in My Garden- 6

Praying Mantis

Praying Mantis

A healthy garden is one that is teeming with all life forms.

Here is a cute Praying Mantis from my garden. These insects get their name because they have very long front legs that they hold in a position that reminds people of praying.

Front legs of mantis have rows of sharp spines to help them hold on to their prey, which they usually begin to eat head first! They have long necks and triangular head, which can be turned an entire half circle.

Well camouflaged mantis

The eggs of a mantis are enclosed in a foamy pouch called an ootheca or egg sack. When the female produces the ootheca it is soft, but very quickly it will dry to become firm . The ootheca protects the eggs until they hatch.

Mantis ootheca

Friends in My Garden- 5

Common Mormon

A female Common mormon

Another beautiful butterfly seen around my garden.

Males and females of Common mormons (Papilio polytes) are easily identifiable with presence or absence of red crescents on the hind wings; females possessing more of them. Female Common mormon is polymorphic with variations seen on wing designs.

The larva (caterpillar) undergoes various stages before morphing into the butterfly. Each stage is specified as an Instar. Here I am showing two stages of the caterpillar, the Third and Fifth instars.

Male Common mormon on white Ixora flower
Third instar caterpillar
Fifth instar caterpillar


Friends in My Garden- 4

Blue Tiger Butterfly

Blue tiger butterfly- on periwinkle flower

Blue tiger….may be a name least suited for a delicate butterfly. But that is how zoologists have named this beautiful one! Frequenting my garden they are so delightful, moving from flower to flower, adding more colour to the surroundings.

Butterflies start their life as  less appreciated caterpillars and then morph into the elegant beauties that everyone likes.

The Blue tiger butterfly (Tirumala limniace) is commonly found in India and belongs to the group of the brush-footed butterfly family.

These pictures are captured in my garden.

Relishing nectar from sandalwood flowers
Double delight- from my backyard

Friends in My Garden- 3

Black is Beautiful!

Asian koel- Male

Black and handsome….that is Asian koel male!

This legendary singer appears shy and timid like his female counterpart, mostly hiding in the foliage. He is very vocal during breeding season and defends his territory fiercely!

The iridescent black plumage is very attractive and the red iris is fierce.

Asian koels (Eudynamys scolopaceus) belong to the cuckoo order of birds and are fairly large birds. They can be considered a brood parasite as they lay eggs in the nests of crows and other hosts, who raise its young.

Face off between two male Asian koels
Injured, but not out…

Friends in My Garden-2

Spotted Beauty!

Asian koel – female

I am talking about the Asian koel female, a spotted beauty. They are shy and timid, often hiding among the foliage of the trees. Though male koels are around, I have rarely seen them as a pair…separately maintaining their space!

Unlike males that are good singers with high pitch sound, females have a jarring call.

These beauties frequent my backyard trees and trees around my house, in search of berries and shelter.

Here are some pictures of Asian koel (Eudynamys scolopaceus)  female.

A thirsty spotted beauty- on my terrace
Feasting on sandalwood berries in my backyard

Friends in My Garden- 1

Greater Coucal

Greater Coucal- Taking a walk on the parapet

A common visitor in and around my garden.

The shy and a bit clumsy bird is large and crow-like with a long tail and coppery brown wings. They forage for insects among the ground vegetations as well as tree canopies.

Also called Crow pheasant (Centropus sinensis), these are lovely birds with their characteristic ‘calls’

Summer time! Searching water on my terrace
Foraging- in my backyard