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Thread: The Courtship feeding of Orange-headed Thrush

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    Majdia, Madanpur, Nadia, West Bengal
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    Default The Courtship feeding of Orange-headed Thrush

    It was a few moments’ sojourn in last scorching summer under the roof made by dense green leaves of the mango trees and in the ground where sunrays were playing hide and seek with the dry leaves in our village. One was the King and the other his wife, the queen. Their bodies were deep and bright orange coloured, and their conjugal life as well was colourful in the same manner, almost same as ourselves the humans. Are you surprised? Or confused? Please wait and let me elaborate.

    The “King” and the “Queen” in my story is actually a pair of birds. Their English name is Orange headed thrush (OHT), and scientific name Zoothera citrina, whom in Bengali we call “Dama”. This Citrina sub-species of the OHT are found across the foot of the north eastern Himalayas. There is another sub-species called caynotus which looks a bit different and carries white patches on either side of their eyes. They are found across the southern India.

    They are not very popular as cage birds in our country but in south eastern Asian countries they have a very high demand as cage birds. To cater for this demand these birds are commercially produced and reared in Java and Indonesia. These birds are known as marvelous singers. The famous ornithologist Salim Ali has quoted on their singing capacities in the ninth part of his book “Handbook of the Birds of India and Pakistan” - “A typical Thrush song, loud, sweet and variable with some very high pitched notes, reminiscent of the Blackbird’s; contains many successive repetition of strophes (as a European Song Thrush, Turdus philomelos) and faithful imitations of other birds’ songs and call. Uttered chiefly in the morning and evening while sitting motionless, wings drooping at the sides and tail held low; usually given from low trees or down in dense cover.” This ability of these birds has made them more lucrative to the prospective customers.

    I have never heard them of singing very loudly. The period of their conjugal life that I witnessed was very small and was only for three days. I observed them for two consecutive days then about seven days later. The OHTs are basically shy in nature. They took quite a lot of time to feel free in the presence of a large camera and not-a-good looking cameraman. After that they took my presence as granted.

    "The King" and "The Queen"
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