Rufous Treepie

The Rufous Treepie (Dendrocitta vagabunda) is an Asian treepie, a member of the Corvidae (crow) family.


It is slightly smaller than the European Magpie (Pica pica) and has somewhat shorter, more rounded wings and a proportionately longer tail. The bill is shorter and thicker too, and slightly downcurved, and the legs are shorter. The head, neck and breast are a deep slate-grey colour, sometimes slightly brownish.

The underparts and lower back are a warm tawny-brown to orange-brown in colour with white wing coverts and black primaries. The tail is a light bluish-grey with a thick black band on the tip. The bill, legs and feet are black.

The range of this species is quite large, covering all of 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.

This is a typically arboreal species feeding almost completely in trees on fruits, invertebrates, small reptiles and the eggs and young of birds; it has also been known to take flesh from recently killed carcasses. It is extremely agile while searching for food, clinging and clambering through the branches and will sometimes travel in small mixed hunting parties with unrelated species such as drongos and babblers.

The nest is built in trees and bushes and is usually quite shallow. There are usually 3-5 eggs laid.

This species has a variety of calls, but a bob-o-link call is the commonest along with a variety of harsh calls.


Deformed beaks…a mystery


Birds’ beaks are made of keratin, similar to human fingernails and hair. Normally, beaks wear down with use, continuing to grow at the same time. There’s a balance. But something is causing this super-fast growth — and it doesn’t get turned off. There seems to be a concentration in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska but the cause is unknown still.

read more | digg story

Read more about this mystery at the Alaska Science Center or the Falcon Research Group or the University of Michigan Dearborn.

Stresemann’s Bush Crow (Zavattariornis stresemanni)

Stresemann’s Bush Crow (Zavattariornis stresemanni)

Named after the German ornithologist Erwin Stresemann, Stresemann’s Bush Crow (Zavattariornis stresemanni), also known as Abyssinian Pie, Bush Crow or by its generic name Zavattariornis, is a rather Starling-like member of the Crow family, Corvidae. It is slightly larger than the North American Blue Jay, Cyanocitta cristata and is a bluish-grey in overall appearance becoming almost white on the forehead. The throat and chest are creamy-white with the tail and wings a glossy black. The black feathers have a tendency to bleach to brown at their tips. The iris of the bird is brown and the eye is surrounded by a band of naked bright blue skin The bill, legs and feet are black.

Habitat Range Map
Habitat Range Map

The range of this species is quite restricted being confined to thorn Acacia country in southern Ethiopia near Yavello (Javello), Mega and Arero. It can be curiously absent from apparently suitable country nearby to these areas, the reasons for this not being apparent.

Feeding is usually in small groups taking mainly insects.

Breeding usually starts in March, with the birds building their nest high in an Acacia tree. The birds usually lay five to six cream eggs with lilac blotches. The nest itself is globular in shape with a tubular entrance on top. It is possible that more than just the breeding pair visit the nest and that the young of previous years help in rearing the young.

The voice of this bird is described as a high pitched ‘Chek’.

Watch a video of the Ethiopian Bush crow here:

Introducing the crowtation!

In honor of the wonderful crow member of the corvid family… I have decided to make the quotations on this website be crow-tations instead. I know, I know… cute. =) So, without further ado…here is the first official use of the crow-tation with a quote from Seneca:

He that visits the sick in hopes of a legacy, but is never so friendly in all other cases, I look upon him as being no better than a raven that watches a weak sheep only to peck out its eyes.

Voila! What do you think?