More Birds in Taiwan
ON TAIWAN “Endemic Subspecies of Taiwan birds—first impressions”, by N. J.
Collar, from BirdingASIA
No. 2, December 2004. Presented with permission.
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More Birds in Taiwan
SPOTLIGHT ON TAIWAN “Endemic Subspecies of Taiwan birds—first impressions”, by N. J. Collar, from BirdingASIA No. 2, December 2004. Presented with permission. BirdingASIA is the bulletin of the Oriental Bird Club. Please see our Links page for benefits of membership in the OBC.
Pomatorhinus ruficollis musicus
The Streak-breasted Scimitar-Babbler is medium-sized, 21 cm long, with greyish crown, distinct rufous-chestnut nuchal collar, long white supercilium, broad black mask and lores, and stout, strongly de-curved bill. The maxilla (upper mandible) is black; the lower mandible is straw-coloured. The back is dark greyish-brown; the tail is grey-brown.
The throat is plain white, blending into the broad, white upper breast which is heavily blotched and streaked with black. The belly is rich chestnut-brown.
This species is a common resident, usually found in tangles and mixed scrubby growth at low and middle elevation, below 2500 m. They frequently move in pairs or small flocks, preying mainly on insects and larvae. In spite of being rather noisy, they are shy, and more often heard than seen. Their vocalizations consist of a variety of calls, including low, whistled “tu—ti—tu—tu—“ and a whooping cry of “kuo—kuei—“.
Breeding takes place during April to June. The ball-shaped nest is constructed on the ground, from grass, bracken and other plant materials. Outside of the breeding season, they mingle with other species.
As of August 2005, there are at least 13 recognized subspecies of Pomatorhinus ruficollis. In Taiwan, the song is lower-pitched with 3–4 upturned notes on the same pitch. P. r. stridulus. which inhabits hill forests of southeast China (Guandong, Fujian and Jiangxi), is the nearest population to Taiwan. There are major differences between stridulus and P. r. musicus, principally in size; musicus is larger with a relatively much larger bill. There are plumage differences, also; musicus has a greyish crown (not olive-brown), more distinct rufous-chestnut nape-collar, a larger black mask and broad blackish steaks on the breast with a larger white background. The differences suggest that P. r. musicus is a candidate for species-level status.
References: The Complete Guide to Birds in Taiwan, by Jin-Yuan Wang;
Streak-breasted Scimitar-Babbler, “Endemic subspecies of Taiwan birds—first impressions”, by N. J. Collar, in Birding ASIA, Number 2, December 2004