Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Bulbul with a different name - Crested Finchbill

I have now been to Khonoma in Nagaland a total of 5 times, the reason being - I wanted to bird for a complete year and document as many species I can during this period. My last trip was a difficult one - the rains started lashing Nagaland like never before and the special dish of the day was a million Leeches crawling up my legs. That made me stick to the track walking almost 15 km along the road and observing any and all birds.
Crested Finchbill (Spizixos canifrons)
Well, one of the birds that I did find every time I was there to give me the company was the Crested Finchbill. It always fascinated me as this is one bird looked quite unlike the bulbuls that I had seen but was this family. Well, to be frank, that was my observation and others might not agree with me about its looks matching those of bulbul, I am comparing it with the 13 odd bulbuls of India that I have seen. It's the bill that stands out.

This is the only Bulbul that has a short and conical pale yellow bill. It has a narrow crest that is dark black in males and not so dark in females. The underparts are pale yellow with a bright olive green body. The bird - though seen during all my visits - did not provide too many good shots. It was only in my fourth visit that I got somewhat acceptable shots to put them up here. Infact another observation was that the bird was in large flocks and highly gregarious when not in the breeding season and approaching the breeding season - the bird was in smaller flocks and less vocal.
Crested Finchbill's range

Though this bird has a fairly large range - that extends from East India all the way to South China. This is one of the birds that has actually gained ground due to the practice of 'Jhum Cultivation' (Slash and burn) practised in Nagaland. It is locally common - though my sightings have been only in this particular place in the country so far. It is a resident from 1400-2500 m and moves down to 900 m in winters. It prefers open evergreen and deciduous forest, secondary growth and scrub. 

Listen to the song of the bird - it is close to calls of the Bulbuls.


Dave Lewis said...

I've looked at your photos many times, I should have commented sooner! Your work is day...a visit to India!

S S Cheema said...

@Dave Will look forward to your visit. Let me know when you plan. Will do whatever I can.