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Saxicola caprata

Saxicola caprata (*)

Cladus: Eukaryota
Supergroup: Opisthokonta
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Cladus: Deuterostomia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Infraphylum: Gnathostomata
Superclassis: Tetrapoda
Classis: Aves
Subclassis: Carinatae
Infraclassis: Neornithes
Parvclassis: Neognathae
Ordo: Passeriformes
Subordo: Passeri
Parvordo: Passerida
Superfamilia: Muscicapoidea
Familia: Muscicapidae
Genus: Saxicola
Species: Saxicola caprata
Subspecies: S. c. aethiops - S. c. albonotata - S. c. anderseni - S. c. atrata - S. c. belensis - S. c. bicolor - S. c. burmanica - S. c. caprata - S. c. cognata - S. c. francki - S. c. fruticola - S. c. nilgiriensis - S. c. pyrrhonota - S. c. randi - S. c. rossorum - S. c. wahgiensis


Saxicola caprata (Linnaeus, 1766)

Vernacular names


Systema Naturae ed.12 p.335


The Pied Bushchat (Saxicola caprata) is a small passerine bird found ranging from West and Central Asia to South and Southeast Asia. About sixteen subspecies are recognized through its wide range with many island forms. It is a familiar bird of countryside and open scrub or grassland where it is found perched at the top of short thorn trees or other shrubs, looking out for insect prey. They pick up insects mainly from the ground, and were, like other chats, placed in the thrush family Turdidae, but are now considered as Old World flycatchers.

They nest in cavities in stone walls or in holes in an embankment, lining the nest with grass and animal hair. The males are black with white shoulder and vent patches whose extent varies among populations. Females are predominantly brownish while juveniles are speckled.

The Pied Bushchat is slightly smaller than the Siberian Stonechat, Saxicola maurus, although it has a similar dumpy structure and upright stance. The male is black except for a white rump, wing patch and lower belly. The iris is dark brown, the bill and legs black. The female is drab brown and slightly streaked. Juveniles have a scaly appearance on the underside but dark above like the females.

A number of geographic populations have been given subspecies status:

* nominate caprata (Linnaeus, 1766) is found in Luzon and Mindoro, in the Philippines.
* rossorum (Hartert, 1910) is found in NE Iran SC Kazakhstan S to Afghanistan and Baluchistan; migrant in SW Asia (vagrant in Arabia, Israel).(shows more white below than bicolor, described by Hartert, Jour. f. Orn. 1910:180 but not always recognized[2])
* bicolor Sykes, 1832 is found in SE Iran, Pakistan and N India; migrating to central India and possibly southern India.[3][4]
* burmanicus Stuart Baker, 1922 is found in peninsular India E to Myanmar and S China (S Sichuan, Yunnan), S to Thailand and Indochina. This has the white on the abdomen restricted towards the vent.
* nilgiriensis Whistler, 1940 is found in the Western Ghats and the Nilgiri Hills.[5]
* atratus (Blyth, 1851) is restricted to Sri Lanka. This has a large bill.[2][6]

Some of these isolated populations are found on islands and they include:

* randi Parkes, 1960 found in the central Philippines (Panay, Negros, Cebu, Bohol, Siquijor).
* anderseni Salomonsen, 1953 found on Leyte and Mindanao, in the Philippines.
* fruticola Horsfield, 1821 found in Java E to Flores and Alor.
* francki Rensch, 1931 is found on the Sumba Islands
* pyrrhonotus (Vieillot, 1818) found in the E Lesser Sundas (Wetar, Kisar, Timor, Savu, Roti).
* albonotatus (Stresemann, 1912) found in Sulawesi (except N peninsula) and Salayer I.
* cognatus Mayr, 1944 on Babar Island.
* belensis Rand, 1940 in WC New Guinea.
* aethiops (P. L. Sclater, 1880) in N New Guinea and Bismarck Archipelago.
* wahgiensis Mayr & Gilliard, 1951 in EC & E New Guinea.

This species is closely related to the European-African Stonechat complex. [7] S. c. fruticola from Indonesia (Moyo Island population appeared to be well differentiated from specimens from Lembata Island with a divergence estimated to about 360,000 years ago.), S. c. pyrrhonota from West Timor (Indonesia).[8]

Local names include Kala pidda in Hindi Shyama in Gujarati Kavda gapidda in Marathi Kallu kuruvi in Tamil, Kampa nalanchi in Telugu.[9] The Fore people of New Guinea called it pobogile.[10] They were once popular in Bengal as cage birds.[11] They are still found in the local bird trade of some parts of Southeast Asia.[12]

The Pied Bushchat is a resident breeder in tropical southern Asia from the Greater Middle East through Pakistan, India and Bangladesh eastwards to Indonesia. They colonized Papua New Guinea around 1950.[13] It is found in open habitats including scrub, grassland and cultivation.

Some populations are partially migratory. A ringed individual of subspecies rossorum has been recovered from Israel.[14] The populations in India also appear to show seasonal changes but movements are unclear. Subspecies bicolor is found in peninsular India in winter.[15] In Karwar on the western coast, it is said to appear in October and stay till May but not seen during the rainy season.[16] Said to be absent in the Baroda district of Gujarat from April to September.[17][18] Claud Buchanan Ticehurst noted that it was a summer visitor to Baluchistan leaving in October and further that the birds from Baluchistan were indistinguishable from rossorum of Turkestan.[18]

Behaviour and ecology

The breeding season is mainly February to August with a peak in March to June. Males sing from prominent perches. The whistling call is somewhat like that of an Indian Robin and has been transcribed as we are tea for two with tea at higher note. The nest is built in a hole in a wall or similar site lined with grass and hair, and 2-5 eggs are laid.[2] The eggs are small and broadly oval with pale bluish-white or pinkish ground colour and speckles and blotches towards the broad end. They measure about 0.67 by 0.55 inches.[4] Eggs are incubated chiefly by the female for 12 to 13 days.[15]

Brood parasitism by the Common Cuckoo (race bakeri) has been noted to be common in the Shan State of Burma, with the cuckoo visiting the nest at dusk and removing an egg before quickly laying its own.[19][20] The female has dark brown upperparts and rufous underparts and rump. She has no white wing patches. Juveniles are similar to females. Males display during the breeding season by splaying the tail, fluttering and puffing up the white scapular feathers.[4]

This species is insectivorous, and like other chats hunts from a prominent low perch. They have been noted to feed on Pyralid moths and whitefly.[21][22]

Nematode parasites in the genus Acuaria have been noted.[23][24] Adult birds have few predators although bats (Megaderma lyra)[25][26] and wintering Asio flammeus have been noted[27] to prey on them.


1. ^ BirdLife International (2008). Saxicola caprata. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Downloaded on 8 September 2009.
2. ^ a b c Rasmussen PC & JC Anderton (2005). Birds of South Asia: The Ripley Guide. Smithsonian Institution and Lynx Edicions.
3. ^ Sykes, P.Z.S. 1832:92
4. ^ a b c Whistler, Hugh (1949). Popular Handbook of Indian birds. pp. 85–87.
5. ^ Whistler,H (1940). "A new race of bush-chat from India". Bull. Brit. Orn. Club 60 (432): 90.
6. ^ Blyth, Edward (1851). J.Asiatic Soc. Bengal 20: 177.
7. ^ Wink, M; Sauer-gürth, H. & Gwinner (2002). "Evolutionary relationships of stonechats and related species inferred from mitochondrial-DNA sequences and genomic fingerprinting" (PDF). British Birds 95: 349–355.
8. ^ Illera, JC; Richardson, DS; Helm, B; Atienza, JC; Emerson, BC (September 2008). "Phylogenetic relationships, biogeography and speciation in the avian genus Saxicola" ([dead link]). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 48 (3): 1145–1154. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2008.05.016. ISSN 1055-7903. PMID 18571939.
9. ^ Anonymous (1998). "Vernacular Names of the Birds of the Indian Subcontinent" (PDF). Buceros 3 (1): 53–109.
10. ^ Diamond, JM (March 1966). "Zoological Classification System of a Primitive People". Science 151 (3714): 1102–1104. doi:10.1126/science.151.3714.1102. ISSN 0036-8075. PMID 17739593.
11. ^ Law, Satya Churn (1923) Pet birds of India. Thacker, Spink & Co. scan
12. ^ Shepherd, C R (2006) The bird trade in Medan, north Sumatra: an overview. Birding Asia 5:16-24 PDF
13. ^ Bell, HL and GW Swainson (1985). "The colonization, ecology and breeding of the Pied Stonechat Saxicola caprata at Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea". Ibis 127 (1): 74–83. doi:10.1111/j.1474-919X.1985.tb05038.x.
14. ^ Yosef, Reuven & Martin Rydberg-Hedaen (2002). "First ringing record of Pied Stonechat Saxicola caprata in the Western Palearctic, at Eilat, Israel" (PDF). Sandgrouse 24: 63–65.
15. ^ a b Ali S & S D Ripley (1998). Handbook of the birds of India and Pakistan. 9 (2 ed.). Oxford University Press. pp. 33–36.
16. ^ Davidson J. (1897). "Birds of North Kanara". J. Bombay Nat. Hist.Soc. 11 (4): 652–679.
17. ^ Littledale, H. (1886). "The birds of South Gujerat". J Bombay Nat Hist Soc. 1 (4): 194–200.
18. ^ a b Ticehurst, Claud B. (1927). "The birds of British Baluchistan. Part 1". J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 31 (4): 687–711.
19. ^ Livesey,TR (1935). "Habits of the Burmese Stone Chat Saxicola caprata burmanica (Stuart Baker)". J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 38 (2): 398–401.
20. ^ Livesey,TR (1938). "Egg-laying of the Khasia Hills Cuckoo (C. c. bakeri) in the nest of the Burmese Stone Chat (Saxicola caprata burmanica)". J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 40 (1): 125–127.
21. ^ Ramani, S; Poorani & Bs Bhumannavar, J (2002). "Spiralling whitefly, Aleurodiscus dispersus, in India" (PDF). Biocontrol News and Information 23: 55–62.
22. ^ Mason CW (1911). The food of birds in India.. Agricultural Research Institute, Pusa..
23. ^ Gupta, S. P. & M. Jehan (1972). "On some species of the genus Acuaria Bremser, 1811 from avian hosts from Lucknow". Japanese Journal of Parasitology 21: 365–373.
24. ^ Gupta, S. P. & P. Kumar (1977). "On some species of the genus Acuaria Bremser, 1811 from avian hosts from Uttar Pradesh". Indian Journal of Helminthology 29: 120–136.
25. ^ Primrose,AM (1907). "Bats feeding on small birds". J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 17 (4): 1021–1022.
26. ^ Prakash, Ishwar (1 November 1959). "Foods of the Indian False Vampire". Journal of Mammalogy 40 (4): 545–547. doi:10.2307/1376273. ISSN 00222372.
27. ^ Srinivasulu, B & C. Srinivasulu (2007). "Diet of Short-eared Owl Asio flammeus (Pontopiddan, 1763) wintering in Rollapadu wildlife sanctuary and its vicinity in Andra Pradesh, India" (PDF). Zoos' Print Journal 22 (9): 2892–2831.

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