Collared Treepie

Collared Treepie  Dendrocitta frontalis

Etymology : 

  • Dendrocitta : Greek word Dendron- tree; kitta – magpie.
  • Frontalis : Latin word for “fronted” derived from frontis – forehead, front.

Vernacular Names :Lepcha: Hamshi bon, Cachar: Dao ka link gashim, Bhutan: Kolio ko

Distribution in India: Resident of Himalayas and North East India.

Description: Size of 38 cm; wt. of 100 g. It is a richly coloured little Treepie with chestnut rear body and uniformly black long, strongly graduated tail, central pair of feathers considerably longer than the next, rather short and stout bill with strongly curved culmen and cutting edges. It has front half of head back to level of mid-crown, middle ear-coverts and upper breast as black. It is separated by very narrow whitish-grey border from clean light grey on the nape, side of neck, hindneck and lower breast. The upperparts are chestnut-brown, upperwing is black, and chestnut on lesser coverts and grey median and greater covertsforming a band across closed wing, tail is black. The underparts below are rich chestnut; iris is red or reddish-brown; bill and legs are blackish-grey. The sexes are similar. The juvenile has buffy fringes of body feathers and tertials, and narrower central tail feathers. The first-year aged by retained worn, brown juvenile primaries and retained narrower tail feathers.

Habitat: It is found inhumid evergreen foothill forests, with extensive stands of bamboo. It is found from foothills to 2100 m.

Food habit: It is omnivorous, primarily carnivorous. It eats a variety of invertebrates and their larvae, also small vertebrates such as small lizards and rodents, and eggs and nestlings of small birds. Also eats a variety of seeds and berries. It is found in pairs or family parties. They make flycatching sallies from tops of tall bamboos.

Breeding habit:  They breed in Apr–Jul in India. They are solitary breeder. The nest is smalland neat, compactly lined with fern rootlets and other soft plant material, well hidden inside bamboo thicket or in top of large prickly shrub at edge of forest. They lay a clutch of 3 or 4 eggs.