The truth about the Corvid-19 and what you need to know – part 8. The cheepy treepies


Since it appears that the pandemic is taking a long time to settle it has taken some of the urgency out of getting through the Corvid-19 series. In fact if I do it too fast I might have to make up the time with a Cervid-19 series and I am far from sure I can find things to talk about for 19 of the Cervidae. It is proving a challenge even for the Corvids and there are about 45 of those to select a representative 19 from.

This time we see a more exotic corvid which most Europeans or American readers won’t know at all, while given the fact it is not at all rare in South Asia, my readers from India and the surrounding countries will be very familiar with this bird.

As usual the information is being put together in a table for so as to allow an easier summary at the end of the series. I am still thinking about publishing a fine “Corvid 19” wall chart in time for the end of the pandemic.

CC BY-SA 4.0 with thanks to author Charles J Sharpe of https://www.sharpphotography.co.uk

 

Common Name Rufous treepie
Other names Indian treepie. A local name in India is taka chor, or “coin thief”.
German Wanderbaumelster
French Témia vagabonde
Russian Индийская древесная сорока
Polish Srokówka jasnoskrzydła
Scientific Name Dendrocitta vagabunda
Number of species in the genus 7
Number of subspecies in this species 7
Literal meaning of Scientific name Wandering tree jay. An earlier species name “rufa” as well as the common name “rufous” refers to the cinnamon red coloration of the mantle.
Described by English ornithologist John Latham in 1790
First attested in literature Not known in earlier Western literature.
Wingspan (cm) 17
Length bill to tail (cm) 37
Distribution Most of southern Asia, from Afghanistan to Southern Thailand, with subspecies of slightly differing appearance appearing in different parts of the range.
Remarks A fairly common, small bird which is conspicuous both because of its handsome red white and black plumage and also its loud musical calls, with a broad vocal range. There are a number of diffferent Dendrocitta species or treepies, effectively a treepie is a tree magpie, as pie is the original name for a magpie (see the note on the common magpie earlier in the series).
Migrations The migrations are not wide-ranging despite the name of wanderer, as the bird likes to cache food stores.
Sexual dimorphism Barely noticeable
Close relatives Six other Dendrocitta members, of which the most similar is the grey treepie D. formosae from Taiwan.
Not close relatives thought to be close The Dendrocitta are one of four genera in the Crypsirininae, which means “hidden nostrils”, and the other genera also contain birds called treepies, including the ratchet-tailed treepie, the racket tailed treepie (two completely different birds from different genera, Temnurus and Crypsirina respectively) as well as the black magpie, which is a treepie despite its name. Magpies proper are not closely related.
Cultural significance All the treepies got their name from the fact that they stay in the trees almost all the time, rarely coming down to the ground to feed, and therefore known to humans more though the calls which they have and also the flashes of rufous plumage that can be seen, on the white and yellow and black of the handsome white bellied and collared treepies. They mainly eat the fruits and leaves of trees, some have a particular affinity for certain trees or are adapted to eat the fruit of trees poisonous to most other birds and mammals, such as Tricosanthes tricuspida. It is loved by palm farmers as a natural predator on the palm weevils Rhynchophorus among other arboreal insects.

About David J. James

56 year old UK origin Chartered Accountant and business consultant who loves languages, literature, history, religion, politics, internet, vlogging and blogging and lively written or spoken discussion, plays backgammon and a few other board games. Walks and listens to Audible for hours a day usually, and avoids use of the car. Conservative Christian, married to an angel with advanced Multiple Sclerosis. We have three kids, two of them autistic, and we live in Warsaw, Poland. On the board of the main British-Polish charity Fundacja Sue Ryder in Poland, and involved in the Vocational Autistic School of "Nie Z Tej Bajki" in Warsaw. Member of Gideons International. Serves on two committees of the Chamber of Auditors in Poland, and on several Boards and Supervisory Boards. Has own consultancy called Quoracy.com delivering business governance and audit/valuation solutions as well as mentoring. Author of the GoldList Method for systematic optimal use of the long-term memory in learning.

Posted on 01/10/2020, in Birds and Mammals and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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