Blue rock thrush

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Blue rock thrush
Monticola solitarius, Spain 1.jpg
Male M. s. solitarius
Monticola solitarius 29-August-2015.jpg
Female M. s. solitarius
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Muscicapidae
Genus: Monticola
Species: M. solitarius
Binomial name
Monticola solitarius
(Linnaeus, 1758)

The blue rock thrush (Monticola solitarius) is a species of chat. This thrush-like Old World flycatcher was formerly placed in the family Turdidae. It breeds in southern Europe, northwest Africa, and from central Asia to northern China and Malaysia.

Taxonomy[edit]

The blue rock thrush was described by Carl Linnaeus in 1758 in the 10th edition of his Systema Naturae under the binomial name Turdus solitarius.[2][3] The specific epithet solitarius is classical Latin for solitary.[4] The rock thrush genus Monticola was formerly placed in the family Turdidae[5] but molecular phylogenetic studies have shown that the species in the genus are more closely related to members of the Old World flycatcher family Muscicapidae.[6]

There are five recognised subspecies:[7][8]

  • M. s. solitarius (Linnaeus, 1758) – northwest Africa, south Europe, north Turkey to Georgia and Azerbaijan to north Africa
  • M. s. longirostris (Blyth, 1847) – Greece and west and south Turkey through the Middle East to the northwest Himalayas to northeast Africa and India
  • M. s. pandoo (Sykes, 1832) – central Himalayas to east China and north Vietnam to Greater Sunda Islands
  • M. s. philippensis (Statius Müller, 1776) – east Mongolia to Sakhalin south to Japan, extreme north Philippines and northeast China to Indonesia
  • M. s. madoci Chasen, 1940 – Malay Peninsula and north Sumatra

There is a proposal to split Monticola solitarius into two species: a western taxon comprising M. s. solitarius and M. s. longirostris and an eastern taxon with M. s. philippensis, M. s. pandoo and M. s. madoci.[9]

Description[edit]

The blue rock thrush is a starling-sized bird, 21–23 cm (8.3–9.1 in) in length with a long slim bill. The breading male of the nominate subspecies is unmistakable, with all blue-grey plumage apart from its darker wings.[8] Females and immatures are much less striking, with dark brown upperparts, and paler brown scaly underparts. The male of the subspecies M. s. philippensis has rufous-chestnut plumage from the mid-breast down to the undertail.[8] Both sexes lack the reddish outer tail feathers of rock thrush.

The male blue rock thrush sings a clear, melodious call that is similar to, but louder than the call of the rock thrush.

Distribution and habitat[edit]

The European, north African and southeast Asian birds are mainly resident, apart from altitudinal movements. Other Asian populations are more migratory, wintering in sub-Saharan Africa, India and southeast Asia. This bird is a very uncommon visitor to northern and western Europe.

Behaviour[edit]

Blue rock thrush breeds in open mountainous areas. It nests in rock cavities and walls, and usually lays 3-5 eggs. An omnivore, the blue rock thrush eats a wide variety of insects and small reptiles in addition to berries and seeds.[8]

The blue rock thrush is Malta's national bird and is shown on the Lm 1 coins that was part of the previous currency of the country.

Gallery[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ BirdLife International (2012). "Monticola solitarius". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013. 
  2. ^ Linnaeus, C. (1758). Systema naturae per regna tria naturae, secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, differentiis, synonymis, locis. Tomus I. Editio decima, reformata (in Latin). Holmiae:Laurentii Salvii. p. 170. 
  3. ^ Mayr, Ernst; Paynter, Raymond A. Jr. (1964). Check-list of Birds of the World. Volume 10. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Museum of Comparative Zoology. p. 138. 
  4. ^ Jobling, James A. (2010). The Helm Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names. London: Christopher Helm. p. 359. ISBN 978-1-4081-2501-4. 
  5. ^ Dickinson, E.C., ed. (2003). The Howard and Moore Complete Checklist of the Birds of the World (3rd ed.). London: Christopher Helm. ISBN 978-0-7136-6536-9. 
  6. ^ Sangster, G.; Alström, P.; Forsmark, E.; Olsson, U. (2010). "Multi-locus phylogenetic analysis of Old World chats and flycatchers reveals extensive paraphyly at family, subfamily and genus level (Aves: Muscicapidae)". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 57 (1): 380–392. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2010.07.008. 
  7. ^ Gill, Frank; Donsker, David, eds. (2016). "Chats, Old World flycatchers". World Bird List Version 6.2. International Ornithologists' Union. Retrieved 20 May 2016. 
  8. ^ a b c d Collar, N. "Blue Rock-thrush (Monticola solitarius)". In del Hoyo, J.; Elliott, A.; Sargatal, J.; Christie, D.A.; de Juana, E. Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions. Retrieved 9 July 2016. (subscription required)
  9. ^ Zuccon, D.; Ericson, Per G.P. (2010). "The Monticola rock-thrushes: phylogeny and biogeography revisited". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 55: 901–910. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2010.01.009. 

External links[edit]