Thai National Parks

Birds of Thailand

Species of Thailand

Rufous treepie

Binomial name: Dendrocitta vagabunda, John Latham, 1790

The rufous treepie (Dendrocitta vagabunda) is a treepie, native to the Indian Subcontinent and adjoining parts of Southeast Asia. It is a member of the Corvidae (crow) family. It is long tailed and has loud musical calls making it very conspicuous. It is found commonly in open scrub, agricultural areas, forests as well as urban gardens. Like other corvids it is very adaptable, omnivorous and opportunistic in feeding. In Bengali and some other Indian languages it is called "Harichacha" (হাঁড়িচাচা), after the unpleasant sound it produces.

Description

The sexes are alike and the main colour of the body is cinnamon with a black head and the long graduated tail is bluish grey and is tipped in black. The wing has a white patch. The only confusable species is the grey treepie which however lacks the bright rufous mantle. The bill is stout with a hooked tip. The underparts and lower back are a warm tawny-brown to orange-brown in colour with white wing coverts and black primaries. The bill, legs and feet are black.

The widespread populations show variations and several subspecies are recognized. The nominate subspecies is found in the northeastern part of peninsular India south to Hyderabad. The desert form is paler and called pallida, vernayi of the Eastern Ghats is brighter while parvula of the Western Ghats is smaller in size. The form in Afghanistan and Pakistan is bristoli while the form in southern Thailand is saturatior. E C Stuart Baker describes sclateri from the upper Chindwin to the Chin Hills and kinneari from souther Myanmar and northwest Thailand. The population in eastern Thailand an Indochina is sakeratensis.

Distribution

The range of this species is quite large, covering all of mainland India up to the Himalayas, and southeasterly in a broad band into Burma (Myanmar), Laos, and Thailand in open forest consisting of scrub, plantations and gardens. There is only one verity of Indian Treepie in Indian Institute of Science Education and Research(IISER) Mohali. Mr. Ankit Labh is working on this bird. One can see it in the IISER-M Campus near CAF Building, Near Visitor's guest house and back of Hostel-6. It is not as common as domestic crow but one can find. It is seen usually during Morning and Evening.

Behaviour and ecology

The rufous treepie is an arboreal omnivore feeding almost completely in trees on fruits, seeds, invertebrates, small reptiles and the eggs and young of birds; it has also been known to take flesh from recently killed carcasses. It is an agile forager, clinging and clambering through the branches and sometimes joining mixed hunting parties along with species such as drongos and babblers. It has been observed feeding on ecto-parasites of wild deer. Like many other corvids they are known to cache food. They have been considered to be beneficial to palm cultivation in southern India due to their foraging on the grubs of the destructive weevil Rhynchophorus ferrugineus. They are known to feed on the fruits of Trichosanthes palmata which are toxic to mammals.

The breeding season in India is April to June. The nest is built in trees and bushes and is usually a shallow platform. There are usually 3-5 eggs laid.

This species has a wide repertoire of calls, but a bob-o-link or ko-tree call is most common. A local name for this bird kotri is derived from the typical call while other names include Handi Chancha and taka chor (="coin thief").

A blood parasitic protozoan Trypanosoma corvi has been described from this species and Babesia has been reported from this species. Trematode parasites, Haplorchis vagabundi, have been found in their intestines. A species of quill mite Syringophiloidus dendrocittae has been described from this species.

This article uses material from Wikipedia released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike Licence 3.0. Eventual photos shown in this page may or may not be from Wikipedia, please see the license details for photos in photo by-lines.

Scientific classification

Kingdom
Animalia
Phylum
Chordata
Class
Aves
Order
Passeriformes
Family
Corvidae
Genus
Dendrocitta
Species
Dendrocitta vagabunda

Synonyms

  • Dendrocitta rufa

Conservation status

Least Concern (IUCN3.1)

Least Concern (IUCN3.1)

Distribution map of Rufous treepie, Dendrocitta vagabunda in Thailand
  • Bang Phra Non-hunting Area
  • Chiang Dao District, Chiang Mai
  • Chiang Dao Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Chiang Saen District, Chiang Rai
  • Doi Inthanon National Park
  • Doi Lo District, Chiang Mai
  • Doi Pha Hom Pok National Park
  • Doi Saket District, Chiang Mai
  • Doi Suthep-Pui National Park
  • Hua Hin District, Prachuap Khiri Khan
  • Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Kaeng Khoi District, Saraburi
  • Kaeng Krachan District, Phetchaburi
  • Kaeng Krachan National Park
  • Khao Khiao - Khao Chomphu Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park
  • Khao Yai National Park
  • Mae Ping National Park
  • Mae Rim District, Chiang Mai
  • Mae Taeng District, Chiang Mai
  • Mae Wong National Park
  • Mueang Chiang Mai District, Chiang Mai
  • Mueang Kamphaeng Phet District, Kamphaeng Phet
  • Mueang Lampang District, Lampang
  • Mueang Nakhon Nayok District, Nakhon Nayok
  • Mueang Nonthaburi District, Nonthaburi
  • Mueang Ratchaburi District, Ratchaburi
  • Mueang Tak District, Tak
  • Nam Nao National Park
  • Nanthaburi National Park
  • Nong Ya Plong District, Phetchaburi
  • Pa Sang District, Lamphun
  • Pak Kret District, Nonthaburi
  • Pang Sida National Park
  • Pha Taem National Park
  • Phatthana Nikhom District, Lopburi
  • Phu Hin Rong Kla National Park
  • Phu Khiao Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Phu Soi Dao National Park
  • Sai Yok District, Kanchanaburi
  • Sakaerat Environmental Research Station
  • Samut Prakan Province
  • Ta Phraya National Park
  • Taphan Hin District, Phichit
  • Tha Yang District, Phetchaburi
  • Thap Lan National Park
  • Thung Yai Naresuan Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Wang Chan District, Rayong
  • Wapi Pathum District, Maha Sarakham
  • Wat Phai Lom & Wat Ampu Wararam Non-hunting Area

Range map of Dendrocitta vagabunda in Thailand

Important note; our range maps are based on limited data we have collected. The data is not necessarily accurate or complete.

Special thanks to Ton Smits, Parinya Pawangkhanant, Ian Dugdale and many others for their contribution for range data.

Contribute or get help with ID

Please help us improving our species range maps. To add a new location to the range map we need a clear image of the specimen you have encountered. No problem if you do not know the species, we will do our best to identify it for you.

For the location, please provide the district name or the national park/ wildlife sanctuary name.

Please post your images to our Thai Species Identification Help group on Facebook.