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Blue Whistling Thrush

Myophonus caeruleus (Scopoli, 1786)

Синяя птица | Көкқұс
adult

2015-06-21
Almaty region, Kimasar
© Gennadiy Dyakin

Description

The male of the Blue Whistling Thrush is black purple tinged; with the glistening sharp ends of little feathers; the underparts are same on the back but the rear part of the abdomen and undertail are dimmer. The forehead is light-purple. The flight feathers have bright-purple outer webs and dark-brown inner ones; the secondaries have purple inner webs also but dark-brown is kept only as narrow strip along the core of the feather. The tail is purple with brownish borders of the webs of the tail feathers. The bottom of the tail and flight feathers are dark-brownish. The feathers of the uppertail with the white base of the both webs. Some of median coverts with bright-white round spots forming chain-shaped strip across the wing. The legs and claws are dark-brown; the bill is yellow with the dark-brown comb lightening to the hooked tip. The eyes are dark-brown. In fresh plumage the coloring is brightly and more purple, in old plumage one is dimmer. Sexes are similar. Juveniles are dark-brown purple tinged, dimmer than adults; the head and wing coverts without glistening tips. The bill is dark. Weight 130-195 grams, males wing 178-197, females wing 170-185.

Distribution

Breeds only in Tien Shan (Pskem, Ugam, Talasskiy Alatau, Kirgizskiy Alatau and Zailiyskiy Alatau ridges), and also in Kungey Alatau on Kulsay. Probably breeds in Malyy Karatau where six birds observed in the end of August 2002. On migration occurs at Chokpak Pass (recorded on May 5, 1969; September 13, 1973; October 20, 1971; and one bird ringed April 20, 2004) and in Chu-Iliyskiye Mts. On dispersal recorded at eastern Kyzylkum desert (May 25, 1987), in Malyy Karatau (mid-April – early May, 1986), in Taukum desert (27-29 April 1996), in Chulak Mts.( April 14, 1973) and in upper current of Charyn river (June 14 1980). Occasionally winters in Zailiyskiy and Talasskiy Alatau, including Aksu-Djabagly and Almaty. Through the apparent dispersing of the Blue Whistling Thrush to the east its number recent years has increased.

Biology

The Blue Whistling Thrush is rare, in some places quite common breeding migrant. It inhabits the mountains gorges with trees and scrub thickets, usually near the rivers or small waterfalls at 1100-2700 m. It appears in March - April. The migration is invisible. The nest is built for 6-10 days on cavity or ledge of cliff, on floodgate and under bridges; at 0.1-10 m above the water (rare aside of water stream). The nest is the large, massive, cup-shaped construction building from moss, dry grass and rootlets; and lining with rootlets and leaves or birch bark. The nests of the Blue Whistling Thrushes sometimes are well visible but untouchable. The breeding cliff is used for breeding during several years, as a rule the new nest is built on the old one, or nearby in other place. Clutches of 4-6 eggs are in early May – end of June. The female incubates for 17-18 days. Both parents feed juveniles fledged in mid-June – end July. Usually one brood per summer, but some pairs breed twice per season. It eats different insects and other invertebrates, but also eats the berries. The repeated breeding after the losing of first nest (flashing after strong rain) is recorded too. The brood decays after a week after the juveniles fledging; the rest time the birds live singly. The autumn migration as the spring one is not clear. Latest birds recorded in the end of November. In the warm winters it winters in the breeding places.

Subspecies

Myophonus caeruleus turcestanicus (Zarudny, 1909)

References

"Птицы Казахстана" том 3. "Наука". Алма-Ата, 1970. Э.И.Гаврилов. "Фауна и распространение птиц Казахстана". Алматы, 1999. Gavrilov E. I., Gavrilov A. E. "The Birds of Kazakhstan". Almaty, 2005. А.Ф.Ковшарь "Певчие птицы". Алма-Ата, "Кайнар", 1983. "По страницам Красной книги Казахстана. Позвоночные животные". Составитель А.Ф.Ковшарь. Алматы, "Алматыкiтап", 2004.

supplement

subspecies

Myophonus caeruleus turcestanicus
(Zarudny, 1909)

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Turdidae

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