World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Blue whistling thrush

Article Id: WHEBN0012465002
Reproduction Date:

Title: Blue whistling thrush  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: List of birds of Thailand, List of birds of Afghanistan, List of birds of Asia
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Blue whistling thrush

Blue whistling thrush
Subspecies temminckii from Pangolakha Wildlife Sanctuary, Sikkim
Subspecies eugenei from Royal Agricultural Station, Doi Ang Khang, Thailand
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Muscicapidae
Genus: Myophonus
Species: M. caeruleus
Binomial name
Myophonus caeruleus
(Scopoli, 1786)

The blue whistling thrush (Myophonus caeruleus) is a whistling thrush found along the Himalayas in the Indian subcontinent and extending into Southeast Asia. It is known for its loud human-like whistling song at dawn and dusk. The widely distributed populations show variations in size and plumage with several of them considered as subspecies. Like others in the genus, they feed on the ground, often along streams and in damp places foraging for snails, crabs, fruits and insects.


This whistling thrush is dark violet blue with shiny spangling on the tips of the body feathers other than on the lores, abdomen and under the tail. The wing coverts are a slightly different shade of blue and the median coverts have white spots at their tips. The bill is yellow and stands in contrast. The inner webs of the flight and tail feathers is black. The sexes are similar in plumage.[2][3][4][5]

It measures 31–35 cm (12–14 in) in length. Weight across the subspecies can range from 136 to 231 g (4.8 to 8.1 oz). For comparison, the blue whistling thrush commonly weighs twice as much as an American robin. Among standard measurements, the wing chord can measure 15.5–20 cm (6.1–7.9 in) long, the tarsus is 4.5–5.5 cm (1.8–2.2 in) and the bill is 2.9–4.6 cm (1.1–1.8 in).[6] Size varies across the range with larger thrushes found to the north of the species range and slightly smaller ones to the south, corresponding with Bergmann's rule. In northern China, males and females average 188 g (6.6 oz) and 171 g (6.0 oz), whereas in India they average 167.5 g (5.91 oz) and 158.5 g (5.59 oz).[6][7]

M. c. temminckii at Buxa Tiger Reserve, India

Several populations are given subspecies status. The nominate form with a black bill is found in central and eastern China. The population in Afghanistan, turkestanicus, is often included in the widespread temminckii which has a smaller bill width at the base and is found along the Himalayas east to northern Burma. The population eugenei, which lacks white spots on the median coverts, is found south into Thailand. Cambodia and the Malay peninsula have crassirostris, while dichrorhynchus with smaller spangles occurs further south and in Sumatra. The Javan population, flavirostris, has the thickest bill.[2][8] The subspecies status of several populations has been questioned.[9][10]

Habitat and distribution

It is found in temperate forests and subtropical or tropical moist montane forests and is found in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Thailand, Turkmenistan, and Vietnam.[8] They make altitudinal movements in the Himalayas, descending in winter.

Behaviour and ecology

The blue whistling thrush is usually found singly or in pairs. They hop on rocks and move about in quick spurts. They turn over leaves and small stones, cocking their head and checking for movements of prey.[11] When alarmed they spread and droop their tail. They are active well after dusk and during the breeding season (April to August) they tend to sing during the darkness of dawn and dusk when few other birds are calling. The call precedes sunrise the most during November.[12] The alarm call is a shrill kree. The nest is a cup of moss and roots placed in a ledge or hollow beside a stream. The usual clutch consists of 3 to 4 eggs, the pair sometimes raising a second brood. They feed on fruits, earthworms, insects, crabs and snails. Snails and crabs are typically battered on a rock before feeding. In captivity, they have been known to kill and eat mice and in the wild have been recorded preying on small birds.[4][13][14]


  1. ^  
  2. ^ a b Delacour, J (1942). "The Whistling Thrushes". Auk 59 (2): 246–264.  
  3. ^ Rasmussen PC and Anderton JC (2005). Birds of South Asia. The Ripley Guide. Volume 2. Washington DC and Barcelona: Smithsonian Institution and Lynx Edicions. p. 371. 
  4. ^ a b Ali, S and Ripley, SD (1998). Handbook of the Birds of India and Pakistan. Volume 9 (2 ed.). New Delhi: Oxford University Press. pp. 81–84. 
  5. ^ Oates, EW (1889). The Fauna of British India. Birds. Volume 1. London: Taylor and Francis. pp. 178–180. 
  6. ^ a b Thrushes by Peter Clement. Princeton University Press (2001), ISBN 0691088527
  7. ^ CRC Handbook of Avian Body Masses by John B. Dunning Jr. (Editor). CRC Press (1992), ISBN 978-0-8493-4258-5.
  8. ^ a b Deignan HG; Paynter, RA, Jr and Ripley, S D (1964). Mary, E & Paynter, R A, Jr, ed. Check-list of birds of the world. Volume 10. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Museum of Comparative Zoology. pp. 142–144. 
  9. ^ Lord Rothschild (1926). "On the avifauna of Yunnan, with critical notes".  
  10. ^ Kloss, CB (1917). "Myiophoneus temmincki". Records of the Indian Museum 13 (418). 
  11. ^ Baker, ECS (1924). "The Fauna of British India. Birds. Volume 2" (2 ed.). London: Taylor and Francis. pp. 180–181. 
  12. ^ George, Joseph (1961). "Time of first morning call of the Himalayan Whistling Thrush".  
  13. ^ Astley, HD (1903). "Myiophoneus temmincki"The Blue Whistling Thrush . Avicultural Magazine 1 (6): 196–201. 
  14. ^ Way, ABM (1945). "Whistling Thrush (Myophonus caeruleus) preying on other birds". J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 45 (4): 607. 

External links

  • Photos, videos and sounds
  • Calls and songs on Xeno-Canto
  • Blue Whistling Thrush on Avibase
  • Blue Whistling ThrushOriental Bird Images: Selected images
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.