Leafbird

The leafbirds (Chloropseidae) are a family of small passerine bird species found in the Indian Subcontinent and Southeast Asia. They were formerly grouped with the ioras and fairy-bluebirds in the family Irenidae. As presently defined, the leafbird family is monogeneric, with all species placed in the genus Chloropsis.

Leafbirds
Golden Fronted Leafbird Mukulhinge
Golden-fronted leafbird (Chloropsis aurifrons)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Chloropseidae
Wetmore, 1960
Genus: Chloropsis
Jardine & Selby, 1827
Species

See text

Leafbird-Female
Leafbird

Description

The leafbirds range in size from 14 to 21 cm (5.5–8.3 in), and in weight from 15 to 48 g (0.53–1.69 oz).[1] They resemble bulbuls, but whereas that group tends to be drab in colour, leafbirds are brightly plumaged, with the predominant green over the body giving rise to their common name. The family is mostly sexually dimorphic in their plumage, this can vary from the highly dimorphic orange-bellied leafbird to the Philippine leafbird, which exhibits no sexual dimorphism. Most of the differences between the sexes are in the extent of the other colours in the plumage, particularly in the colours around the head and the blue or black face mask, with females have less colour and a less extensive (or absent) mask.[1] Some species have blue on the wings and tail. The plumage of juvenile birds is a duller version of the female's. To human ears, their songs are melodious, and several species are good mimics. The calls include whistles and chatters.[2]

Like bulbuls, leafbirds drop many body feathers when they are handled. This may confuse predators, especially snakes.[2]

Distribution and habitat

Leafbirds are always found in trees and shrubs. Most are restricted to evergreen forests except the golden-fronted leafbird and Jerdon's leafbird which live in deciduous monsoon forests, and the orange-bellied leafbird, which occurs in deciduous forests. Within this requirement, they occupy all broadleaf forest types in the Indian Subcontinent and Southeast Asia. The highest altitude they occur at is 2500 m (8200 feet).[2] Some species, such as the blue-masked leafbird, have montane distributions, rarely descending below 1000 m.[1]

The orange-bellied leafbird and the golden-fronted leafbird are amongst the more widespread species, with large ranges across mainland Asia. Some species have more restricted distributions, such as the yellow-throated leafbird, which is endemic to the Philippine island of Palawan, and the Bornean leafbird, restricted to northern Borneo. In general there are seldom more than three species occurring in the same area, although five species co-occur in the submontane forests of Sumatra. Co-occurring species are usually well-spaced on the spectrum of size, to reduce competition.[1]

Behaviour

Lemon-throated-leaf-birdtrek
The yellow-throated leafbird is endemic to Palawan in the Philippines

Leafbirds usually feed in the canopy, eating insects and some fruit and nectar. Prey is searched for by nimbly moving along the branch ends and gleaned. They are also capable of hover-gleaning to obtain prey, and will pursue flushed prey into the air or even as far as the forest floor. The extent to which the leafbirds consume nectar is a matter of some debate, records are more common in Southern Asia compared to South East Asia.[1] Some species join mixed feeding flocks now and then; others defend the blooming and fruiting trees and bushes where they forage.[2]

Unlike most tropical Asian passerines, the nests of leafbirds are not located low down in the forest, but are instead found on the ends of branches near the tree crown. As such the nests of many species have rarely, if ever, been seen. The nests are open cups; of the few known, they are built of fine stems, leaf parts and rootlets.[1] Some hang from thin horizontal shoots of trees; in others the rim is attached to a pair of vertical twigs. Females lay 2 or 3 pinkish eggs.[2] The only information for incubation times come from captive birds, and incubation lasts around 14 days. Incubation is apparently performed only by the female, although in at least two species the male feeds the incubating females.[1]

Relationship with humans

Leafbirds are attractive birds and, combined with an attractive song and capacity to mimic sounds, they have become very popular cagebirds. The majority of the trade in this family is confined to Asia. Some populations have been locally depleted by the massive numbers captured for the trade. Overall the eleven species are mostly still common in suitable habitat, although the amount of suitable habitat has declined greatly with deforestation. One species, the Philippine leafbird, is listed as vulnerable due to habitat loss. Another, the blue-masked leafbird, apparently never common anyway, is listed as near threatened.[1]

Species

Chloropsis cochinchinensis -Singapore-8a
The female blue-winged leafbird lacks the face mask of the male

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Wells, David (2005), "Family Chloropseidae (Leafbirds)", in del Hoyo, Josep; Elliott, Andrew; Christie, David (eds.), Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 10, Cuckoo-shrikes to Thrushes, Barcelona: Lynx Edicions, pp. 252–266, ISBN 84-87334-72-5
  2. ^ a b c d e Mead, Christopher J.; Wells, D. R. (2003). "Leafbirds". In Perrins, Christopher (ed.). The Firefly Encyclopedia of Birds. Firefly Books. pp. 506–507. ISBN 1-55297-777-3.

External links

Birds of South Asia. The Ripley Guide

Birds of South Asia. The Ripley Guide by Pamela C. Rasmussen and John C. Anderton is a two-volume ornithological handbook, covering the birds of South Asia, published in 2005 (second edition in 2012) by the Smithsonian Institution and Lynx Edicions. The geographical scope of the book covers India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, Maldives, the Chagos archipelago and Afghanistan (the latter country had been excluded from previous works covering this region). In total, 1508 species are covered (this figure includes 85 hypothetical and 67 'possible' species, which are given only shorter accounts). Two notable aspects of Birds of South Asia are its distribution evidence-base — the book's authors based their distributional information almost completely on museum specimens — and its taxonomic approach, involving a large number of species-level splits.

Blue-masked leafbird

The blue-masked leafbird (Chloropsis venusta) is a species of bird in the Chloropseidae family. It is endemic to humid montane forest on the Indonesian island of Sumatra. It is the smallest species of leafbird.

It is considered near threatened due to habitat loss.

Blue-winged leafbird

The blue-winged leafbird (Chloropsis cochinchinensis) is a species of leafbird found in forest and second growth throughout Southeast Asia as far east as Borneo and as far south as Java. It previously included Jerdon's leafbird (C. jerdoni) from the Indian Subcontinent, and the Bornean leafbird (C. kinabaluensis) from northern Borneo as subspecies, but differs from both in measurements and morphology, with Jerdon's lacking any blue to the flight feathers, and Bornean having a distinctive male-like female plumage. The distribution of the blue-winged and the Bornean leafbird are known to approach each other, but there is no evidence of intergradation.

The male is green-bodied with a yellow-tinged head, black face and throat. It has a blue moustachial line. The female differs in that it has a greener head and blue throat, and young birds are like the female but without the blue throat patch.

It is common to fairly common throughout most of its range, and therefore considered to be of least concern by BirdLife International.

The superficially similar golden-fronted leafbird lacks blue in the flight feathers and tail, and has a golden forehead.

As in other leafbirds, the call of the blue-winged leafbird consists of a rich mixture of imitations of the calls of various other species of birds.

Bornean leafbird

The Bornean leafbird (Chloropsis kinabaluensis), also known as the Kinabalu leafbird, is a species of bird in the Chloropseidae family. It is found in humid forests in northern Borneo, to which island it is endemic. It has traditionally been considered a subspecies of the blue-winged leafbird (C. cochinchinensis), but differ in measurements and morphology, the female Borneon leafbird having a distinctive male-like plumage. The distribution of the two are known to approach each other, but there is no evidence of intergradation.

Frontalis

Frontalis may refer to:

Crista frontalis, the frontal crest, a crest on the internal surface of the squama frontalis of the frontal bone

Frontalis muscle, a thin, quadrilateral fascia muscle located on the front of the head

Sinus frontalis, the frontal sinus, mucosa-lined airspaces within the bones of the face and skull

Squama frontalis, two surfaces of the squama of the frontal bone

Sutura frontalis, the frontal suture, a dense connective tissue structure that divides the two halves of the frontal bone of the skull in infants and children

Golden-fronted leafbird

The golden-fronted leafbird (Chloropsis aurifrons) is a species of leafbird. It is found from the Indian subcontinent and south-western China, to south-east Asia and Sumatra.It builds its nest in a tree, laying 2-3 eggs. This species eats insects and berries.

Greater green leafbird

The greater green leafbird (Chloropsis sonnerati) is a species of bird in the Chloropseidae family. It is distinguished from the lesser green leafbird (Chloropsis cyanopogon) by its powerful beak, yellow throat and eye ring of the female; and lack of a yellow border along the black throat patch found in the male C. cyanopogan.

It is found in Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, and Thailand. In Indonesia, it is found in Sumatra, Borneo, Natuna Islands, Java and Bali.

Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests and subtropical or tropical mangrove forests, mainly old-growth forests but also secondary forests and edges.

It moves quite conspicuously at the canopy level, jumping between branches and flying from tree to tree. It often visits fruiting fig trees, but also takes insects and small invertebrates.

The greater green leafbird has a loud voice, consisting of an ascending whistle chee-zi-chee.

Jerdon's leafbird

Jerdon's leafbird (Chloropsis jerdoni) is a species of leafbird found in forest and woodland in India and Sri Lanka. Its name honours Thomas C. Jerdon. It has traditionally been considered a subspecies of the blue-winged leafbird (C. cochinchinensis), but differ in measurements and morphology, it lacking the blue flight feathers for which the blue-winged leafbird was named.

It builds its nest in a tree, and lays 2–3 eggs. This species eats insects, fruit and nectar.

The male is green-bodied with a yellow-tinged head, black face and throat. It has a blue moustachial line. The female differs in that it has a greener head and blue throat, and young birds are like the female but without the blue throat patch.

Like other leafbirds, the call of Jerdon's leafbird consists of a rich mixture of imitations of the calls of various other species of birds.

Khun Chae National Park

Khun Chae National Park (Thai: อุทยานแห่งชาติขุนแจ) is a national park in Chiang Rai Province, Thailand. This rugged park is home to high mountains and waterfalls.

Lesser green leafbird

The lesser green leafbird (Chloropsis cyanopogon) is a species of bird in the Chloropseidae family.

It is found in Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, and Thailand.

Its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests.

It is threatened by habitat loss.

Orange-bellied leafbird

The orange-bellied leafbird (Chloropsis hardwickii) is a bird native to the central and eastern Himalayas, Yunnan and northern parts of Southeast Asia. The scientific name commemorates the English naturalist Thomas Hardwicke.

Philippine leafbird

The Philippine leafbird (Chloropsis flavipennis) is a species of bird in the Chloropseidae family. It is endemic to the Philippines. It is found in the islands of Mindanao, Leyte, and Cebu.

Its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests. It is threatened by habitat loss. Its stronghold appears to be Mindanao, with populations small in Leyte and in Cebu, the species could already be extinct.

Shevaroy Hills

The Servarayan hills, with the anglicised name Shevaroy Hills, are a towering mountain range (1620 m) near the city of Salem, in Tamil Nadu state, southern India. It is one of the major hill stations in Tamil Nadu and in the Eastern Ghats.

The local Tamil name comes from a local deity, Servarayan.

Sibley-Monroe checklist 12

The Sibley-Monroe checklist was a landmark document in the study of birds. It drew on extensive DNA-DNA hybridisation studies to reassess the relationships between modern birds.

Sumatran leafbird

The Sumatran leafbird (Chloropsis media) is a species of bird in the Chloropseidae family. It is endemic to forest and plantations in Sumatra in Indonesia. It has often been included as a subspecies of the golden-fronted leafbird (C. aurifrons), but the two differ extensively in, among others, morphology, with the male of the Sumatran leafbird having a yellow (not deep orange) forehead, and the female resembling a female blue-winged leafbird, but with a yellowish forecrown and no blue to the wings and tail (very different from the golden-fronted leafbird, where the male and female are very similar).

Templer Park

Templer Park (Malay: Hutan Lipur Templer) is a forest reserve in Rawang, Gombak District, Selangor, Malaysia. It is 1,214 hectares in size and it was named in honour of Sir Gerald Templer, a British High Commissioner in Malaya. "On 8 September 1954, His Highness the Sultan of Selangor, the late Sultan Hishamuddin Alam Shah declared that Templer’s Park was 'dedicated by Selangor to serve as a refuge and a sanctuary for wildlife and a meeting-place for all who love and respect the beauty of nature'. The following year the government gazetted the area as “a Botanical Garden and Public Park” under the land enactment (Notification 104-1955)".This forest reserve consists of multi-tiered waterfalls, jungle streams and trails. Several amenities are available in this forest reserve, such as picnic grounds, fishing spots, parking lots, public toilets and stalls.

Wildlife that can be spotted in Templer's Park include the park monkey, the hawk-cuckoo, the crested serpent eagle, the emerald dove, the forest wagtail, malkohas, the barbet, the woodpecker, the flycatcher-shrike, the blue-winged leafbird, the earless agamid, the Malaysian crested lizard, various kinds of toads and snakes and serow (goat-antelopes). Studies by Malaysian Nature Society have confirmed that there is still a population of serow living in the vicinity.Templar Park is the type locality where the holotype of the Malaysian spine-jawed snake Xenophidion schaeferi was collected in 1988. To date this is the only known specimen of this rare snake, which belongs in the obscure and primitive snake family Xenophidiidae. The family contains only one other species, X. acanthognathus, also only known from its holotype, which was collected in Sabah, northeast Borneo. These snakes are harmless, nonvenomous, and thought to feed on earthworms or insect larvae.

Thomas C. Jerdon

Thomas Caverhill Jerdon (12 October 1811 – 12 June 1872) was a British physician, zoologist and botanist. He was a pioneering ornithologist who described numerous species of birds in India. Several species of plants (including the genus Jerdonia) and birds including Jerdon's baza, Jerdon's leafbird, Jerdon's bushlark, Jerdon's nightjar, Jerdon's courser, Jerdon's babbler and Jerdon's bush chat are named after him.

Yellow-throated leafbird

The yellow-throated leafbird (Chloropsis palawanensis) is a species of bird in the Chloropseidae family.

It is endemic to the Palawan in the Philippines.

Its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests.

The Palawan leafbird (Chloropsis palawanensis) is a small bird with broad wings and a long tail that's easily recognizable by its green body color and yellow throat. Its green color makes it very hard to see among the green leaves of the forest canopy, hence the name "leafbird".

The Palawan leafbird is commonly found in forest, forest edge, and scrub. It uses its pointed slender bill to feed on insects and small fruits in the forest canopy, where it often forms mixed flocks with bulbuls. It is a fairly common to common species endemic to Palawan. The Palawan leafbird can be found in Balabac, Busuanga, Calauit, Coron, Culion, Dumaran, and mainland Palawan.

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