Thursday, 5 May 2016

Hunting Thrushes: Orange-headed Thrush

Thrushes are the family of the birds that have members known to be one of the most beautiful birds of the Avian world. Thrushes are plump, short-plumaged, small to medium-sized birds that generally inhabit the wooded areas and feed on ground. Most of the times they are insectivorous, but then most eat fruits along with worms. In my experience the hunt for thrushes, especially these ones begin and end with patience - a little patience if at all. If you do spot a bird, forging in a place, move to the spot next to a tree or a bush and just sit down. It will take a few minutes before the birds will start - what they stopped due to your disturbance and you can have a great time staring at these objects of beauty...

Orange-headed Thrush (cynotus) the bird with Red Indian face stripes.
Orange-headed Thrush - a date with a friendly bird...
Till the time I was not looking for this bird - this was rarely seen - but once I started looking out for it - I find it surprisingly well distributed across a large variety of habitats I have travelled to in the Subcontinent. There are total of four sub-species in the Subcontinent and I have have so far been fortunate to see two of them. Infact the first time I saw the Orange-headed thrush was in Nagpur - that has the subspecies ‘cynotus' - the one with white streaks across its face - just like a Red-Indian ready for battle. Over a period of time I saw many many of them - each time I stop and admire the beauty of those stripes. The birds take very little time to accommodate to your presence and if you stand still or sit without moving for some time - you will find them hopping all around you.
Hey mama - I lost my strtipes' - ctrina subspecies of himalayas

Same bird pictured above...

Pictures taken at Sattal
The second subspecies that I have come across was in the Himalayas - for the first time in the lower hills of Shimla and then proper sightings and photographs in Satal, in Uttarakhand. The difference of this subspecies ‘citrina' is - no ‘Red-Indian face markings’.

The other two have not been sighted by me so I will surely be on the lookout for them - the ‘andamanensis’ the ones found in Andaman and ‘albogularis’ a resident of Nicobar Islands. There is a mention of subspecies resident of China also but I could not find too much data on them. Will add on as and when I progress...

Disclaimer: When I say 'Hunting' I mean searching for, or seeing, or photography, anything but killing.
Secondly I have used 'Red-Indian' and am not aware if it is an offensive term - please do leave a comment - it will be removed.

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