Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Black-chinned Laughingthrush

Continuing with our "Animals of the Western Ghats" theme-- today we have the Black-Chinned Laughingthrush, an Endanered bird that lives above elevations of 4,000ft.

This bird has a a confusing taxonomic past, and you will sometimes see it referred to as the Nilgiri or Rufus-Breasted Laughingthrush. It has also gone through 3 different genera before ending up in Trochalopteron!

Today, we know it as T. cachinnans, though it does have a few different subspecies. You can tell those apart based on their coloration and location. Different subspecies have varying amounts of grey and red on their breasts.

All of the subspecies exhibit similar behavior. They live at higher elevations hear forest edges. They forage for berries and insects either alone or in small groups. And they nest between February and June, building nests in low bushes near the ground. Two blue eggs are laid at a time, and the chicks are fully fledged after 3 weeks. Interestingly, the parents will completely deconstruct the nest after fledging!

Like the other animals we've been learning about this week, the Black-chinned Laughingthrush is in trouble due to habitat loss. They also have a small, fragmented range that does their population size no favors.

IUCN Status : Endangered
Location : India
Size : Length up to 10in (24cm)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Aves -- Order : Passeriformes
Family : Leiothrichidae -- Genus : Trochalopteron -- Species : T. cachinnans
Image :  Lee's Birdwatching

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