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Bird of the Week: Black-and-Orange Flycatcher

10 February 2011 No Comment

This is a very beautiful small bird endemic to Western Ghats in peninsular India. The main population of this flycatcher is found in the high altitude areas of Western Ghats, the Nilgiris and around the Palani Hills. The IUCN conservation status of this beautiful bird is as ‘Nearly Threatened’. Large scale destruction of Shola and Evergreen Forests has directly affected the distribution of this endemic bird. Though it’s high tolerant to modified habitats, the high rate of habitat loss is a real threat at present.

Size and Colorization

black-orange-flycatcher

(Image copyright: Dr. Naseer Ommer)

Black and Orange Flycatchers are small as size of house sparrows.

Male and female are distinct in colorization. Male Black and Orange Flycatchers are having black head and wings with a brighter Orange in rest of the parts. Female flycatchers are having brownish head and wings with a light eye-ring.

Distribution and Habitat

Black and Orange Flycatchers are commonly found in dense Shola Forests in high altitude mountains (above 1500m). The density was about 2.8 ha per pair during the breeding season. It is a highly parochial bird and no local movements other than dispersal of young have been noted. Territories are maintained by a pair throughout the year.

Breeding

The breeding season for Black and Orange Flycatchers is during March to May and are found very vocal during this time. Female builds the nest on a low bush or branch usually made from sedges. They usually lay two eggs which are grey in color with spots.

Diet

Black and Orange Flycatchers feed on insects similar to other flycatchers low over the ground and also pick insects from the ground. The peak feeding activity is at early morning and towards dusk.

Call

A high-pitched soft chee-ri-rrr-ri or a whistling “whee-chee-rii-rirr’ with variations. The alarm call is a zit-zit.

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