Red-faced Liocichla        Liocichla phoenicea


  • Liocichla : Greek word leios –smooth; kikhle – Thrush
  • Phoenicea : Greek word phoinikeos crimson, red, purple

Vernacular Names: Cachar: Dao-yao-gajao, Lepcha: Tilji-pho, Bhutia: Repcha

Distribution in India: Eastern Himalayas and North East India

Description: Size of 21–23 cm; wt. of 42–53 g. It is a fairly small laughingthrush-like babbler, mostly plain brown but with crimson face and throat sides, bold black lateral crownstripe and scarlet in wings and tail. The nominate race has crown and upperparts as olive-brown, rufescent tinge posteriorly becoming chestnut on uppertail-coverts. The  upperwing is complex in coloration, with chestnut on greater coverts and outer fringes of secondaries and tertials, primaries with scarlet fringes, secondaries are pale-tipped and with narrow pale grey outer edges basally and scarlet edges distally. The tail is blackish with broad tips dull yellowish-pink; lores are dark crimson, lateral crownstripe are black, face , submoustachial area, area around most of eye, postocular superciliary area and ear-coverts and neck side are crimson; chin to flanks and thighs are ochrous olive-brown, with mid-grey belly and scarlet-tipped black undertail-coverts. The  iris is crimson or dark crimson to reddish-brown, orbital skin is dull lead-grey; bill is dark brown to black; legs are horn to brown. Both the sexes are similar. The juvenile has duller face than adult, upperparts are less rufous, lateral crownstripe are less distinct, rufescent tail tip is less sharply defined, iris is brown. The  nominate is found in (Sikkim and N West Bengal E to Bhutan and NE India (Arunachal Pradesh)). The race bakeri (Meghalaya, S Assam (N Cachar), Nagaland, Manipur and Mizoram, in NE India) has slightly greyer crown than nominate, slightly darker and less extensive red on head, little rufous or chestnut tinge on rear upperparts, slightly paler and browner underparts, extensive grey on centre of abdomen..

Habitat: It is found in dense undergrowth in broadleaf evergreen forest, dense thickets of secondary growth bordering cultivation and streams, grass, scrub. It is found from 500m –2500 m.

Food habits: It eats Insects, berries and seeds. It is very skulking and unobtrusive. It typically feeds in undergrowth and on ground, sometimes in open..

Breeding habits:  They breed in Mar–Sept. The nest is a fairly deep, compact cup, made of dry bamboo or other leaves, grasses and grass flowers, fine twigs, creepers, roots, plant fibres, moss and lichen, lined with rootlets, black fibres and moss roots, placed above ground, sometimes lower, in bush or sapling. They lay a clutch of 2–4 eggs.