Tickell's blue flycatcher

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Tickell's blue-flycatcher
Tickell's blue flycatcher (Cyornis tickelliae) Photograph By Shantanu Kuveskar.jpg
Scientific classification Red Pencil Icon.png
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Muscicapidae
Genus: Cyornis
C. tickelliae
Binomial name
Cyornis tickelliae
Blyth, 1843

Muscicapa tickelliae
Cyornis tickelli
Muscicapula tickelliae


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 Bangladesh and western Myanmar. The Indochinese blue flycatcher was formerly considered conspecific. They are blue on the upperparts and the throat and breast are rufous. They are found in dense scrub to forest habitats.

Passerine Any bird of the order Passeriformes, which includes more than half of all bird species. Sometimes known as perching birds

A passerine is any bird of the order Passeriformes, which includes more than half of all bird species. Sometimes known as perching birds or – less accurately – as songbirds, passerines are distinguished from other orders of birds by the arrangement of their toes, which facilitates perching, amongst other features specific to their evolutionary history in Australaves.

Bird Warm-blooded, egg-laying vertebrates with wings, feathers and beaks

Birds, also known as Aves or avian dinosaurs, are a group of endothermic vertebrates, characterised by feathers, toothless beaked jaws, the laying of hard-shelled eggs, a high metabolic rate, a four-chambered heart, and a strong yet lightweight skeleton. Birds live worldwide and range in size from the 5 cm (2 in) bee hummingbird to the 2.75 m (9 ft) ostrich. They rank as the world's most numerically-successful class of tetrapods, with approximately ten thousand living species, more than half of these being passerines, sometimes known as perching birds. Birds have wings which are more or less developed depending on the species; the only known groups without wings are the extinct moa and elephant birds. Wings, which evolved from forelimbs, gave birds the ability to fly, although further evolution has led to the loss of flight in flightless birds, including ratites, penguins, and diverse endemic island species of birds. The digestive and respiratory systems of birds are also uniquely adapted for flight. Some bird species of aquatic environments, particularly seabirds and some waterbirds, have further evolved for swimming.

Old World flycatcher Family of birds

The Old World flycatchers are a large family, the Muscicapidae, of small passerine birds mostly restricted to the Old World. These are mainly small arboreal insectivores, many of which, as the name implies, take their prey on the wing. The family includes 324 species and is divided into 51 genera.

The name commemorates the British ornithologist Samuel Tickell who collected in India and Burma. [2]

Samuel Tickell British ornithologist

Colonel Samuel Richard Tickell was a British army officer, artist, linguist and ornithologist in India and Burma.


Tickell's blue flycatcher is about 1112 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. [3]

Pale-chinned blue flycatcher species of bird

The pale-chinned blue flycatcher or Brook's flycatcher is a species of bird in the family Muscicapidae. It is a sparrow-sized bird. Male is bluish-grey on upper parts, rufous throat and white below. Its nesting season is April–June.

They have sometimes been known to feed even after dusk. [4] Apart from flying insects they have been noted to occasionally glean crawling insects. [5]

The 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 [6] ) [7] [8]

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. [9]

Blue-throated blue flycatcher species of bird

The blue-throated blue flycatcher is a small passerine bird in the flycatcher family, Muscicapidae. It resembles Cyornis tickelliae but easily separated by the blue throat. The habitat of this species is a thicker forest than other species of flycatchers. The blue-throated flycatcher is found in much of the Indian Subcontinent, all through the Himalayas, the plains and Western Ghats of India in the cold months, and also extends eastwards into Bangladesh, and to Arakan and the Tenasserim Hills in Myanmar.

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. [6] The metallic song consists of short clicks followed by five or six notes resembling that of the Spot-breasted fantail. Alarm calls include churr and clicking notes. [3] It is a wary bird and is easily observed in small gardens too. 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. Now they are being observed inhabiting garbage places. [10] During the breeding season, they may take larger prey including small vertebrates. A bush frog has been reported as prey in Sri Lanka. [11]

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. [12] [13] [14]

Related Research Articles

Spotted flycatcher species of bird

The spotted flycatcher is a small passerine bird in the Old World flycatcher family. It breeds in most of Europe and western Asia, and is migratory, wintering in Africa and south western Asia. It is declining in parts of its range.

Velvet-fronted nuthatch species of bird

The velvet-fronted nuthatch is a small passerine bird in the nuthatch family Sittidae found in southern Asia from Nepal, India, Sri Lanka ‍and Bangladesh east to south China and Indonesia. Like other nuthatches, it feeds on insects in the bark of trees, foraging on the trunks and branches and their strongly clawed toes allow them to climb down tree trunks or move on the undersides of horizontal branches. They are found in forests with good tree cover and are often found along with other species in mixed-species foraging flocks. Adult males can be told apart by the black stripe that runs behind and above the eyes. They have a rapid chipping call note. They breed in tree cavities and holes, often created by woodpeckers or barbets.

Grey-breasted prinia species of bird

The grey-breasted prinia or Franklin's prinia is a wren-warbler belonging to the family of small passerine birds found mainly in warmer southern regions of the Old World. This prinia is a resident breeder in the Indian subcontinent, Sri Lanka and southeast Asia. Like other prinias, it often holds the tail upright but it is easily told by a smoky grey band across the breast which contrasts with a white throat. The beak is all black while the legs are pink. The tail is graduated as in other prinias and the grey feathers are tipped in white. In the breeding plumage the upperparts are grey while non-breeding birds are pale above with rufous wings and a weak supercilium. It is found in scrub, forest clearings and other open but well vegetated habitats. It can be confused with the rufescent prinia.

Indian roller species of bird

The Indian roller is a member of the roller bird family. It occurs widely from West Asia to the Indian Subcontinent. It is listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List.

Black-rumped flameback species of bird

The black-rumped flameback, also known as the lesser golden-backed woodpecker or lesser goldenback, is a woodpecker found widely distributed in the Indian subcontinent. It is one of the few woodpeckers that are seen in urban areas. It has a characteristic rattling-whinnying call and an undulating flight. It is the only golden-backed woodpecker with a black throat and black rump.

Kashmir flycatcher species of bird

The Kashmir flycatcher is a small passerine bird in the flycatcher family Muscicapidae. At one time it was considered to be a subspecies of the red-breasted flycatcher, Ficedula parva.

White-bellied blue flycatcher species of bird

The white-bellied blue flycatcher is a small passerine bird in the flycatcher family Muscicapidae. It is endemic to the Western Ghats of southwest India. Males are dark blue with a lighter shade of blue on the brow and have a greyish white belly. Females have a rufous breast, a white face and olive grey above.

Grey-headed canary-flycatcher species of bird

The grey-headed canary-flycatcher, sometimes known as the grey-headed flycatcher, is a species of small flycatcher-like bird found in tropical Asia. It has a square crest, a grey hood and yellow underparts. They are found mainly in forested habitats where they often join other birds in mixed-species foraging flocks. Pairs are often seen as they forage for insects by making flycatcher-like sallies and calling aloud. Several subspecies are recognized within their wide distribution range. In the past the genus Culicicapa was considered to be an Old World flycatcher but studies have found them to belong to a new family designated as the Stenostiridae or fairy flycatchers that include the African genera Stenostira and Elminia.

Indian paradise flycatcher species of bird

The Indian paradise flycatcher is a medium-sized passerine bird native to Asia, where it is widely distributed. As the global population is considered stable, it has been listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List since 2004. It is native to the Indian subcontinent, Central Asia and Myanmar.

Legges flowerpecker species of bird

The Legge's flowerpecker or white-throated flowerpecker is a small passerine bird. It is an endemic resident breeder in Sri Lanka. It is named after the Australian ornithologist William Vincent Legge.

Bar-winged flycatcher-shrike species of bird

The bar-winged flycatcher-shrike is a small passerine bird usually placed in the Vangidae. It is found in the forests of tropical southern Asia from the Himalayas and hills of southern India to Indonesia. Mainly insectivorous it is found hunting in the mid-canopy of forests, often joining mixed-species foraging flocks. They perch upright and have a distinctive pattern of black and white, males being more shiny black than the females. In some populations the colour of the back is brownish while others have a dark wash on the underside.

Brown-breasted flycatcher species of bird

The brown-breasted flycatcher or Layard's flycatcher is a small passerine bird in the flycatcher family Muscicapidae. The species breeds in north eastern India, central and Southern China and northern Burma and Thailand, and migrates to southern India and Sri Lanka. It forages for insects below the forest canopy, often close to the forest floor.

Blue-eared kingfisher bird of India and Southeast Asia

The blue-eared kingfisher is found in Asia, ranging across the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia. It is found mainly in dense shaded forests where it hunts in small streams. It is darker crowned, with darker rufous underparts and lacking the rufous ear stripe of the common kingfisher which is found in more open habitats. A number of subspecies have been described that differ in measurement and colour shade. Adult males have an all dark bill while females have a reddish lower mandible.

Dark-sided flycatcher species of bird

The dark-sided flycatcher is a small passerine bird belonging to the genus Muscicapa in the Old World flycatcher family Muscicapidae. It has a wide distribution in Asia with northern birds migrating south for the winter. It is also known as the Siberian flycatcher or sooty flycatcher, the latter name is also used for the sooty flycatcher of Africa.

<i>Cyornis</i> genus of birds

Cyornis is a genus of birds in the Old World flycatcher family Muscicapidae most of which are native to south-east Asia.

Lemon-bellied flyrobin species of bird

The lemon-bellied flyrobin or lemon-bellied flycatcher is a species of bird in the family Petroicidae. Found in Australia, Indonesia, and Papua New Guinea, its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests and subtropical or tropical mangrove forests.

Mascarene paradise flycatcher species of bird

The Mascarene paradise flycatcher is a species of bird in the monarch-flycatcher family Monarchidae. It is endemic to the Mascarene islands of Mauritius and Réunion. There are two subspecies recognized: the nominate subspecies from Réunion, also known as the Réunion paradise flycatcher; and T. b. desolata from Mauritius. The Mascarene paradise flycatcher was originally described in the genus Muscicapa and the subspecies T. b. desolata was originally described as a separate species.

Indochinese blue flycatcher species of bird

The Indochinese blue flycatcher is a species of bird in the family Muscicapidae. It is found from southern Myanmar and the Malay Peninsula to Indochina and northeastern Sumatra. It was previously considered conspecific with Tickell's blue flycatcher.


  1. BirdLife International 2017. Cyornis tickelliae (amended version of 2016 assessment). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T103761678A111162678. https://doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2017-1.RLTS.T103761678A111162678.en. Downloaded on 28 June 2019.
  2. Beolens, Bo; Watkins, Michael (2003). Whose Bird? Men and Women Commemorated in the Common Names of Birds. London: Christopher Helm. pp. 338–339.
  3. 1 2 Rasmussen, P.C.; Anderton, J.C. (2005). Birds of South Asia: The Ripley Guide. Volume 2. Smithsonian Institution & Lynx Edicions. pp. 385–387.
  4. Sharma, S.K. (2006). "Nocturnal feeding by the Tickell's Blue Flycatcher Cyornis tickelliae". Zoos' Print Journal. 21 (2): 2171. doi:10.11609/jott.zpj.1359.2171.
  5. Serrao, J.S. (1964). "Tickell's Blue Flycatcher feeding on crawling prey". Newsletter for Birdwatchers . 4 (3): 12.
  6. 1 2 Whistler, Hugh (1949). Popular handbook of Indian birds. London, UK: Gurney and Jackson. pp. 122–124.
  7. Baker, E. C. Stuart (1924). The Fauna of British India, Including Ceylon and Burma. Birds. Volume 2. London, UK: Taylor and Francis. pp. 234–236.
  8. Robinson H.C. & N.B. Kinnear (1928). "Notes on the Genus Cyornis Blyth". Novitates Zoologicae . 34: 231–261.
  9. Wait, W.E. (1922). "The Passerine birds of Ceylon". Spolia Zeylanica. 12: 117–118.
  10. D'Abreu, E.A. (1920). Some insect prey of birds in the Central Provinces. Report of the proceedings of the third entomological meeting. Volume 3. Calcutta: Government Press. pp. 859–871.
  11. Gabadage, Dines; Perera, Palinda; Botejue, Madhava; Karunarathna, Sameera (2015). "Tickell's Blue Flycatcher Cyornis tickelliae eats a Sri Lankan shrub frog". Birding Asia. 24: 128–129.
  12. Abdulali, Humayun (1979). "The nesting of Tickell's Flycatcher (Muscicapa tickelliae) in Bombay". J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 76 (1): 159–161.
  13. Hume, A.O. (1890). The nests and eggs of Indian birds. Volume 2. London: R. H. Porter. pp. 7–8.
  14. Oates, E.W. (1903). Catalogue of the collection of birds' eggs in the British Museum. volume 3. London: British Museum. p. 256.