Thai National Parks

Birds of Thailand

Species of Thailand

Tickell's blue flycatcher

Binomial name: Cyornis tickelliae, Edward Blyth, 1843

Tickell's blue flycatcher (Cyornis tickelliae) is a small passerine bird in the flycatcher family. This is an insectivorous species which breeds in tropical Asia, from the Indian Subcontinent eastwards to Southeast Asia. Its range stretches across all the countries from India to Indonesia. They are blue on the upperparts and the throat and breast are rufous. They are found in dense scrub to forest habitats.

The name commemorates the British ornithologist Samuel Tickell who collected in India and Burma.

Description

Tickell's blue flycatcher is about 11–12 cm long. It sits upright and forages mainly in the overgrowth. The male's upper parts are bright blue, its throat and breast are red, and the rest of the underparts are white. The female is duller blue with a brighter blue brow, shoulder, rump, and tail. It hybridizes with the pale-chinned blue flycatcher (Cyornis poliogenys) in the Eastern Ghats of India and these hybrids have sometimes been called the subspecies vernayi. The juvenile is streaked and has a spotted mantle, scaly brown upperparts, head and breast, with just the wings and tail being blue.

They have sometimes been known to feed even after dusk. Apart from flying insects they have been noted to occasionally glean crawling insects.

The widespread species shows regional variations in plumage and size and several of these populations have been designated with subspecies names. The nominate form is found in India, Nepal and Myanmar. The Sri Lankan population is separated as jerdoni (or nesea/mesaea said to be darker) and the population in Thailand and southern Myanmar is named as indochina. Further south is the form sumatrensis (Sumatra Island, Malaysia) and lamprus on Anamba Island.

In the past this species has been considered as a subspecies of the blue-throated blue flycatcher (Cyornis rubeculoides) which resembles this but has a blue throat.

Habitat and distribution

Tickell's blue flycatcher breeds in dry forest, scrub, bamboo and gardens.

Behaviour and ecology

The metallic song of the bird includes a series of clicks followed by five or six notes that end abruptly. The metallic song consists of short clicks followed by five or six notes resembling that of the white-browed fantail-flycatcher. Alarm calls include churr and clicking notes. It is a wary bird and not always easily observed. It is a forest-loving species which is found in thick cover and shade, and particularly haunts the banks of wooded streams.

They feed mainly by capturing insects in flight but their prey include other insects such as termites and earwigs that may be gleaned or picked from the ground.

The breeding season is April to August (March to June in Sri Lanka). It nests in a hole in a tree or amongst rocks that is lined with fine grass and fibres and lay 3–5 eggs.

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Scientific classification

Kingdom
Animalia
Phylum
Chordata
Class
Aves
Order
Passeriformes
Family
Muscicapidae
Genus
Cyornis
Species
Cyornis tickelliae

Synonyms

  • Muscicapa tickelliae
  • Cyornis tickelli
  • Muscicapula tickelliae

Conservation status

Least Concern (IUCN3.1)

Least Concern (IUCN3.1)

Distribution map of Tickell's blue flycatcher, Cyornis tickelliae in Thailand

Range map of Cyornis tickelliae 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.

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