Magnetic field induced augmented thermal conductivity of magneto-nanocolloids involving nanoparticles, viz. Fe2O3, Fe3O4, NiO and Co3O4 dispersed in different base fluids have been reported. Experiments reveal the augmented thermal transport under external applied magnetic field. A maximum thermal conductivity enhancement ∼114% is attained at 7.0 vol% concentration and 0.1 T magnetic flux density for Fe3O4/EG magneto-nanocolloid. However, a maximum ∼82% thermal conductivity enhancement is observed for Fe3O4/kerosene magneto-nanocolloid for the same concentration but relatively at low magnetic flux density (∼0.06 T). Thereby, a strong effect of fluid as well as particle physical properties on the chain formation propensity, leading to enhanced conduction, in such systems is observed. Co3O4 nanoparticles show insignificant effect on the thermal conductivity enhancement of MNCs due to their minimal magnetic moment. A semi-empirical approach has been proposed to understand the mechanism and physics behind the thermal conductivity enhancement under external applied magnetic field, in tune with near field magnetostatic interactions as well as Neel relaxivity of the magnetic nanoparticles. Furthermore, the model is able to predict the phenomenon of enhanced thermal conductivity as a function of physical parameters and shows good agreement with the experimental observations. © 2016 Elsevier B.V.