Habitat of Kerala Laughingthrush
Kerala Laughingthrush is found in the high montane forests. This grey bibbed, rufous bellied bird with a prominent dark eye-stripe and broad white brow was grouped along with the grey-breasted subspecies of the Black-Chinned Laughingthrush and known as the Grey-Breasted Laughingthrush.
Category of Kerala Laughingthrush
The nominate subspecies of Kerala Laughingthrush is found in the Palni Hills, Tamil Nadu and meridionale with a shorter white brow is found in the high hills south of the Achankovil Gap.
Colour of Kerala Laughingthrush
Kerala Laughingthrush has a dark grey-brown crown and narrow dark grey eyes stripe with a broad white supercilium above it. This supercilium extends behind the eye in the nominate subspecies but stops above the eye in subspecies meridionale. The throat is distinctly grey unlike in the black-chinned Laughingthrush found north of the Palghat Gap and continues into the upper breast. The grey of the upper breast is faintly streaked in brown. The lower breast and belly is rusty brown and the upper parts are olive brown. The bill is browner and not as dark grey as in the black-chinned. The subspecies meridionale has greyer upper plumage, paler crown and the centre of the belly is white with chestnut brown on the flanks and vent. The iris is dark red or red-brown. The sexes are indistinguishable in the field.
Description of Kerala Laughingthrush
Kerala Laughingthrush was described from the Kodaikanal region on the basis of a specimen obtained by Rev. Samuel Bacon Fairbank and came to be called the Pulney laughing-thrush. The lack of the black chin of jerdoni was noted even when this species was first described but it was made into a subspecies under jerdoni in the second edition of "The Fauna of British India", Including Ceylon and Burma in 1922 by Stuart Baker. In 1880 Blanford described meridionale based on a specimen obtained by F. W. Bourdillon. The close relationship of meridionale and fairbanki was noticed by William Ruxton Davison in 1883. The current regrouping of the forms, considering the Palghat Gap as a biogeographic barrier and giving importance to the chin colour, was introduced in 2005 by Pamela C. Rasmussen and Anderton.
Behaviour of Kerala Laughingthrush
Kerala Laughingthrush is found in pairs and small groups and they sometimes join mixed-species feeding flocks.
Feeding of Kerala Laughingthrush
Kerala Laughingthrush feeds on the nectar of flowers of Lobelia excelsa, Rhododendron and Strobilanthes species. They also feed on the petals of some flowers such as Strobilanthes and the fruits of a range of plants including Viburnum, Eurya, Rubus and Rhodomyrtus tomentosa.
Breeding Season of Kerala Laughingthrush
The breeding season of Kerala Laughingthrush is from December to June, but the peak breeding time is April and May. The nest is a cup of grass with moss and lined with fine fibre placed in a low fork hidden in dense vegetation. The usual clutch is two blue eggs with reddish markings and indistinguishable from those of the Black-Chinned Laughingthrush. When the nest is predated or after the young fledge, the nest is destroyed. The nests of other birds in the vicinity may also be torn up by the parent birds. Unhatched eggs may also be eaten by the parent birds.
Call of Kerala Laughingthrush
The contact calls of Kerala Laughingthrush are very loud series of steeply ascending notes pee-koko... pee-koko followed by more abrupt notes. Numerous other vocalizations such as a low kweer calls are produced in other behavioural contexts. Some calls appear to be antiphonal duets.
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