Thursday, 1 September 2011

Grey hypocolius

Hypocolius ampelinus

Photo by Christodoulos Makris (Trek Nature)

Common name:

Order Passeriformes
Family Hypocoliidae

These birds are mostly found breeding in the Middle East, and near Asia, in Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Turkmenistan. They winter around the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf coasts of the Arabian Peninsula. They are sometimes found further west, in Turkey, Israel and Egypt.

The grey hypocolius is 19-23 cm long and weigh 48-57 g.

They are mostly found in dense vegetation and arid, dry, lowlands, most often found in river valleys near deserts or semi-deserts, and forage along small tree groupings, irrigated and cultivated areas, palm groves, and broad-leaf scrubs.

The diet of the grey hypocolius consists primarily of fruits, particularly berries and dates, but also other fruits and young shoot leaves. Occasionally they will also consume invertebrates.
These birds breed in May-June. The cup-shaped nest is is made of grass and plant down and lined with wool and hair. The nest is placed within a dense bush or low tree up to 4 m above the ground. The female lays 3-4 white or pale grey eggs which are incubated by both parents for 14-15 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge about 14 days after hatching.

IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a large breeding range and, although the global population size has not been quantified, the species is described as reasonably common. The trend direction for this population is difficult to determine owing to the positive and negative processes affecting the species, but overall it is not considered threatened at present.

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