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Fairytale flycatcher

winged visitor The attractive paradise flycatcher Photo: Mallika Rajasekaran  

Has a loud and raucous call, which has nothing to do with melody, just pierced your ears? Well, you just heard the Indian paradise flycatcher. It is a fist-sized bird in a beautiful brick colour, with ribbon like tail feathers, doing a dance of its own behind it, in the shrubs growing in the wilderness. May be the Chinese ribbon dancers got their inspiration from this pretty little bird.

The Indian paradise flycatcher is also known as Terpsiphone Paradise. They are medium-sized perching birds, native to Asia. The good news is that their global population is considered stable, and it has been listed as ‘least concern’ on the IUCN Red List since 2004.

They are also our winter visitors, who come around November and December and leave by March or April. Mallika Rajasekaran, who spotted these tiny birds in her home, says, “I was waiting for the male birds as they are more attractive than their female counterparts with their long white tails.”

According to a birding site, the male birds have elongated central tail feathers with a black and rufous plumage and some have white plumage. Females are short-tailed with rufous wings and a black head.

Asian Paradise Flycatchers feed on insects, which they capture mid air under thickly growing trees.

The adult male Asian paradise flycatcher is adorned with a drooping 30-cm long central tail feathers, which gives it a fairy like appearance.

The females are only 20 cm in size and do not have the gorgeous tail streamers.

“The Asian paradise flycatcher are small birds measuring around 22 cm. Young males have a short tail, which will take two to three years to reach adulthood. While breeding both parents share the responsibility, but a major part is done by the female,” shares birder Venkatesh Rangan.


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Printable version | Jan 24, 2022 8:29:39 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/Fairytale-flycatcher/article13982739.ece

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