The Rufous Treepie (Dendrocitta vagabunda) is a treepie belongs to crow family Corvidae. The bird is native to the Indian Subcontinent and adjoining parts of Southeast Asia. Rufous Treepie has long-tailed, with loud musical calls making it very conspicuous. The size of Rufous treepie is between somewhere 45 to 55 cm including the tail. The Weight of the adult bird is between 80 g. to 140 g. The bird normally found in open scrub, agricultural areas, forests as well as urban gardens.
However, it is very adaptable, omnivorous and opportunistic in feeding. Male and female are very similar. But the only main color of the body is cinnamon with a black head and the long graduated tail is bluish grey and is tipped in black with the wing has a white patch. The only confusable species is the grey treepie which though lacks the bright rufous mantle. The bill is stout with a hooked tip, and underparts and lower back are a warm tawny-brown to orange-brown in color with white wing coverts and black primaries.
Moreover, the bill legs and feet are black. This is a very noisy bird with great agility can be seen in urban parks and large gardens. This species is visible mainly in lowlands, and usually below 1000 meters. According to the range, it can be found up to 2100 meters of elevation. A local name for this bird kotri is derived from the typical call while other names include Handi Chancha and taka chor “coin thief”.
This species has a wide repertoire of calls, but a bob-o-link or ko-tree call is most common. Similar to the Eurasian magpie in the United Kingdo. It appears that being highly intelligent and an opportunistic feeder has been a recipe for success in the treepie’s ability to live alongside humans. The Rufous Treepie has distinctive dipping flight during which each dip ends in upwards jerk. The flight is undulating a swift noisy flapping, followed by a short glide on outspread wings and tail.
The Tree-Pies are arboreal omnivorous, and they feed on Insects, caterpillars, lizards, frogs, centipedes, young birds, small birds, rodents, bats, snakes, frogs, lizards, Fruits both wild and cultivated are eaten. Moreover, they are notorious to feed on the fruits of Trichosanthes tricuspidata which are toxic to mammals. They also hunt systematically for birds’ nests and are highly destructive to the eggs and young of the smaller species. The bird has also been known to take flesh from recently killed carcasses. Normally the breeding season starts in March till June.
The nest is built in trees and bushes and is habitually a shallow platform. The nest consists usually 3 to 5 eggs laid. The inner cup is lined with rootlets and small twigs. It is placed at about 5 to 8 meters above the ground in an isolated or prominent tree or in the bush. Both sexes share in building, incubation, and care of the young. The range of this bird is quite large, covering all of mainland India up to the Himalayas, Pakistan and southeasterly in broadband into Bangladesh, Burma Laos, and Thailand in open forest consisting of scrub, plantations, and gardens.
The bird is widespread populations show variations and numerous subspecies are recognized. The nominate subspecies is found in the northeastern part of peninsular India south to Hyderabad. The desert form is paler and called pallida, vernayi of the Eastern Ghats is brighter while parvula of the Western Ghats is smaller in size. The form in Pakistan and Afghanistan is bristoli while the form in southern Thailand is saturatior. E C Stuart Baker describes sclateri from the upper Chindwin to the Chin Hills and kinneari from souther Myanmar and northwest Thailand. The bird is an agile forager, clinging and clambering through the branches and sometimes joining mixed hunting parties along with species such as drongos and babblers.
The Rufous Treepie has been observed feeding on ectoparasites of wild deer. Like many other corvids, they are recognized to cache food. They have been considered to be helpful to palm cultivation in southern India due to they’re foraging on the grubs of the destructive weevil Rhynchophorus ferrugineus. The Rufous treepie is not the most remarkable, the grandest or the most ornate. But it is a lovely and confident little bird.
The Rufous Treepie is usually common and widespread in its range except in Vietnam where it is more local and uncommon. So many thanks to the large number of insects that it consumes, hence it is not considered a pest in spite of some damage caused to orchards and cereal crops. The species is not at present threatened. Read More – Difference Between Carolina Wren vs House Wren
Originally posted 2018-03-28 16:57:43.