Skip to main content

Aasheesh Pittie Papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MS-020

Content Description

The Pittie Papers are arranged in the following series.

Zafar Futehally Correspondence Humayun Abdulali Correspondence Correspondence with other birders Newsletter for Birdwatchers

The Zafar Futehally correspondence consists of handwritten letters and print-outs of email correspondence between Pittie and prominent birder, naturalist and conservationist Zafar Futehally, who was principally associated with the Bombay Natural History Society and the birding journals Newsletter for Birdwatchers and Newsletter for Ornithologists. These are divided into the sub-series correspondence related to the Newsletter for Birdwatchers, correspondence regarding other projects, correspondence related to Ornithological Society of India, personal correspondence and other miscellaneous documents.

Pittie began corresponding with Futehally in the 1980s, and includes his observations of birding and mentions members of the birdwatching community in Andhra Pradesh. The extensive correspondence relates to matters related to the Newsletter for Birdwatchers, the Journal of the BNHS and birding. This includes the Nomenclature booklet co-authored by Pittie with Andrew Robertson, a review of changes in birding nomenclature and their impacts on Indian birding. The letters also offer a view of his subsequent extensive work in indexing the Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society and in creating and maintaining the Bibliography of South Asian Ornithology project.

The Humayun Abdulali Correspondence consists of Pittie’s correspondence with the ornithologist Humayun Abdulali. It has been arranged chronologically into the sub-series correspondence 1980-1989, correspondence 1990 - 1999, correspondence 2000 - 2009. The letters are primarily regarding birding observations, sub-species descriptions, naming conventions for birds, and mention a Andhra Pradesh birding checklist put out by the BSAP.

The third series consists of correspondence with other birders, collated into one series to accord with the arrangement of provenance. It is further arranged into the following sub-series: Bombay Natural History Society correspondence, BirdLife International correspondence, Krys Kazmiercak correspondence and correspondence with fellow birders. The Bombay Natural History Society correspondence includes letters and emails between Pittie and various other key figures of the BNHS, including Asad Rahmani, Jamil Urfi, Saraswathy Unnithan, and J C Daniels.

Pittie’s correspondence with BirdLife International pertains to visits of BirdLife members to the forests of Andhra Pradesh, for whom the Birdwatchers’ Society of Andhra Pradesh provided assistance, as well as discussions of possible memberships of various wildlife chapters under BirdLife.

The bulk of Pittie’s correspondence with other birders pertains to his database on ‘Bibliography of South Asian Ornithology’ that he was building at the time, and include his reflections of the process of building up such a database. It offers a glimpse into a network of early-career naturalists. There is also discussion of many bird species, including rare species, and references for them.

Correspondence between Kazmiercak, a British birder, and Pittie has also been retained. Correspondence with other birders includes letters from Andrew Robertson regarding the booklet Nomenclature of Birds of the Indian subcontinent - A review of some changes, the manuscript has been retained by the Archives.

The fourth and final series consists of issues of the Newsletter for Birdwatchers from 1961 to 1969. These are arranged chronologically.


  • Creation: 1963 - 2013

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for access unless mentioned in specific folders

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright may not have been assigned to Archives, National Centre for Biological Sciences. Permission for reproduction or distribution must be obtained in writing from the Archives at NCBS ( The Archives at NCBS makes no representation that it is the copyright owner in all of its collections. The user must obtain all necessary rights and clearances before use of material and material may only be reproduced for academic and non-commercial use.

Biographical / Historical

Aasheesh Pittie is the editor of the birding journal Indian Birds ( Pittie started out as an amateur birder in his teens. Thereafter, he was one of the prominent members of the Andhra Pradesh Society of Birdwatchers, in which role he was consulted for his considerable expertise on birds of the region. Pittie edited several birding newsletters including the newsletters of the Birdwatcher’s Society of Andhra Pradesh, called Pitta and Mayura. He co-authored ‘A Checklist of the Birds of Andhra Pradesh’ and ‘Nomenclature of Birds of the Indian subcontinent, A Review of Some Changes Taking Place’. He compiled ‘A Bibliographic Index to the Ornithology of the Indian Region, Part I’ covering volumes 1-90 of the Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society and all volumes of Stray Feathers. He maintained extensive correspondence with prominent birders of the era such as Zafar Futehally and Humayan Abdulali, as well as various figures associated with the Bombay Natural History Society, the fledgling Ornithological Society of India, BirdLife International and numerous birding enthusiasts and specialists.


2.5 Linear Feet (5 Hollinger style archive-boxes)

Language of Materials



The intellectual arrangement strives to preserve provenance and original order of the papers. Where an original order could not be found, the Archives has applied an order, and folders within sub-series are arranged usually in chronological or alphabetical order. See Scope and Content section for details.

Physical Location

Archives at NCBS

Aasheesh Pittie Papers
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Archives at NCBS Repository

National Centre for Biological Sciences - Tata Institute of Fundamental Research
Bangalore Karnataka 560065 India
+9180 6717 6010
+9180 6717 6011