Thursday, 7 November 2013

Nilgiri blue robin

Myiomela major

Photo by P.J. Vasanthan (Internet Bird Collection)

Common name:
Nilgiri blue robin (en); asa-curta-de-flancos-ruivos (pt); brachyptère à flancs roux (fr); alicorto flanquirrufo (es); Madraskurzflügel (de)

Order Passeriformes
Family Turdidae

This species is endemic to the Western Ghats of southern India, where it is restricted to the Nilgiri hills and South Wayanad hills, and to three peaks in south-western Karnataka.

These birds are 14-15 cm long.

The Nilgiri blue robin is mostly found in the undergrowth of mountain rainforests, at altitudes of 1.000-1.500 m, favouring areas near streams. They also use Eucalyptus and Acacia plantation as well as gardens close to primary rainforests.

They forage on the ground, picking caterpillars, small flies and other insects.

These birds breed in April-June. They are monogamous and nest is a large, shallow cup made of green moss and lined with rootlets. It is placed on a tree hollow or rocky crevice in a ravine, or sometimes on roadside banks. The female lays 2-3 eggs which are incubated by both parents for 16-17 days. The chicks are fed by both parents but there is no information on the length of the fledgling period.

IUCN status -EN (Endangered)
This species has a small breeding range and, although the global population size has not been quantified, evidence suggests that it is moderately common within suitable habitat. The Nilgiri blue robin is suspected to be declining due to habitat loss caused by forest harvesting for fuelwood and clearance for livestock grazing, plantations and human settlements. The development of hydroelectric plants and the construction of roads are further threats. Furthermore, having a mountain distribution that is close to the maximum altitude within its range, this species is potentially susceptible to climate change

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