Scientific Name: Vanellus indicus
Family : Charadriidae
Tamil Name : Aalkaatti kuruvi
Description: A familiar ground bird which is bronze brown above, white below and a crimson fleshy wattle in front of each eye. The wings and back are light brown with a purple sheen, but head and chest and front part of neck are black. Short tail is tipped black. The long legs are yellow. In flight, prominent white wing bars formed by the white on the secondary coverts.
Distribution and status: It is distributed throughout the Indian continent. Common in the countryside.
Habitat: It is often found in open country, ploughed fields, grazing land, and margins of dry beds or tanks
Habits:. Sexes alike. Producer of the well known sound Did you do it? Didn’t do it which is basically an alarm call to warn other birds of human intruders. Runs about in short spurts to catch prey typically like a ground bird. It is uncannily and ceaselessly vigilant towards intruders.
Food: Insects, grubs, mollusks.
Life cycle : Nesting season is from March and August. Eggs four in number are stone colored or grayish brown and peg shaped. Eggs are laid in open grassland or Scrubland in a depression ringed around with a few pebbles. They match the soil color and remain camouflaged. The eggs hatch in 28 to 30 days. Egg mortality is high (~43%) due to predation by mongooses, crows and kites. Chicks had a lower mortality (8.3%) and their survival improved after the first week.
Role in the environment : They are an important component of the grassland ecosystem.
Photo Source :Dr. J. Patrick David