White-crested Laughingthrush

White-crested Laughingthrush    Garrulax  leucolophus


  • Garrulax : Latin word garrulous –babbling, chattering; ax – inclining towards
  • Leucolophus : Greek word leukos- white; lophos- crest 

Vernacular Names: Hindi: Rawil-kahy, Ass: Naga-dhapolika, Cachar: Dao-flantu, Lepcha: Karrio-pho, Mishmi: Puhu, Bhutia: Karria-goka, Naga: Ngo

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

Description: Size of 26-28 cm, wt. of 108–131 g. It is a large chestnut-and-brown laughingthrush with white hood, crest and breast and broad black mask; long erectile crown feathers frequently raised to form crest. The nominate race has white crown, mid-grey nape. The lores, cheek and ear-coverts are black, the mantle and back dull rufous-chestnut, shading into olive-brown posteriorly and on upperwing. The tail is slatier; throat and upper breast are white, tinged pale grey at breast side, chestnut of mantle extending across lower breast and merging on upper belly into rufescent olive-brown rest of underparts. The iris is brown to dark crimson, orbital skin pale bluish-slate; bill is slate-black or horn-black; legs are dark slate-lead to blackish-green. Both the sexes are similar, but male may be brighter rufous above. The juvenile has shorter crest and more ashy-brown nape; more rufescent above, particularly on wing fringes. The Race patkaicus(South East Arunachal Pradesh and North East Indian hill state,South of Rive Brahmaputra), is like nominate, but generally has more extensive and slightly darker chestnut on mantle.

Habitat: It is found in broadleaf evergreen forest and mixed deciduous forest, disturbed, secondary and regenerating forest, scrub bamboo-jungle, overgrown abandoned cultivation, plantations and gardens near forest. Found from lowlands to 2135m.

Food habitsIt eatsinsects likebeetles, spiders, berries and seeds, small reptiles and flower nectar. Itforages mostly on lower to middle storeys and on ground, hacking at earth and tossing aside leaves in search of invertebrates; changes place in bounding hops. It is noisy and gregarious at all seasons, in flocks of 6–12, often associating with other Laughingthrushes in bird waves.

Breeding habits: They breed in Feb–Sept throughout main range and is multi-brooded. The nest is a large, shallow, rough cup, made of coarse grasses, bamboo or other dead leaves, twigs, roots, moss, creeper, plant twigs, stems and tendrils, lined with rootlets, coarse roots, pliant flower stems and leaf stalks, placed above ground in shrub, bush or low tree. They lay a clutch of 2–6 eggs. The incubation is done by both sexes for a period of 14 days.  The nestlings fed by all group-members. The chicks may leave nest long before fully grown. Brood parasitismis done by Chestnut-winged Cuckoo, Jacobin Cuckoo and Large Hawk-cuckoo.