Tickell's blue flycatcher
Tickell's blue flycatcher (Cyornis tickelliae) is a small passerine bird in the flycatcher family. This is an insectivorous species which breeds in tropical Asia, from the Indian Subcontinent eastwards to Southeast Asia. Its range stretches across all the countries from India to Indonesia. They are blue on the upperparts and the throat and breast are rufous. They are found in dense scrub to forest habitats.
Tickell's blue flycatcher is about 11–12 cm long. It sits upright and forages mainly in the overgrowth. The male's upper parts are bright blue, its throat and breast are red, and the rest of the underparts are white. The female is duller blue with a brighter blue brow, shoulder, rump, and tail. It hybridizes with the pale-chinned blue flycatcher (Cyornis poliogenys) in the Eastern Ghats of India and these hybrids have sometimes been called the subspecies vernayi. The juvenile is streaked and has a spotted mantle, scaly brown upperparts, head and breast, with just the wings and tail being blue.
The widespread species shows regional variations in plumage and size and several of these populations have been designated with subspecies names. The nominate form is found in India, Nepal and Myanmar. The Sri Lankan population is separated as jerdoni (or nesea/mesaea said to be darker) and the population in Thailand and southern Myanmar is named as indochina. Further south is the form sumatrensis (Sumatra Island, Malaysia) and lamprus on Anamba Island.
Habitat and distribution
Tickell's blue flycatcher breeds in dry forest, scrub, bamboo and gardens.
Behaviour and ecology
The metallic song of the bird includes a series of clicks followed by five or six notes that end abruptly. The metallic song consists of short clicks followed by five or six notes resembling that of the white-browed fantail-flycatcher. Alarm calls include churr and clicking notes. It is a wary bird and not always easily observed. It is a forest-loving species which is found in thick cover and shade, and particularly haunts the banks of wooded streams.
They feed mainly by capturing insects in flight but their prey include other insects such as termites and earwigs that may be gleaned or picked from the ground. During the breeding season, they may take larger prey including small vertebrates. A bush frog has been reported as prey in Sri Lanka.
A species of feather mite Proterothrix cyornis has been described from a Tickell's blue flycatcher from Vietnam.
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- Gabadage, Dines; Perera, Palinda; Botejue, Madhava; Karunarathna, Sameera (2015). "Tickell's Blue Flycatcher Cyornis tickelliae eats a Sri Lankan shrub frog". Birding Asia. 24: 128–129.
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- Mironov, S.V.; Tolstenkov, O.O. (2013). "Three new feather mites of the subfamily Pterodectinae (Acari: Proctophyllodidae) from Passerines (Aves: Passeriformes) in Vietnam". Proceedings of the Zoological Institute RAS. 317 (1): 11–29.
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