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Rufous Treepie

The Rufous Treepie (Dendrocitta vagabunda), is an Asian member of the crow family Corvidae. 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. It builds a nest in trees and bushes that is usually rather shallow.

It is slightly smaller than the European Magpie and has somewhat shorter, more rounded wings and a proportionately longer tail. The bill is shorter and thicker too, and slightly down-curved, and the legs are shorter. The head, neck and breast are a deep slate-gray color, sometimes slightly brownish. The under parts and lower back are a warm tawny-brown to orange-brown in color with white wing coverts and black primaries. The tail is a light bluish-gray with a thick black band on the tip. The bill, legs and feet are black.

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.

Rufous Treepie


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