The Mystery Bird “Yellow-Billed Oxpecker”

The yellow-billed oxpecker “Buphagus africanus” is a beautiful passerine bird in the starling and myna family, Sturnidae. The name “oxpecker” is related to their habit of perching on large wild and domestic mammals. The yellow-billed oxpecker is 20 cm long and has plain brown upperparts and head, buff underparts and a pale rump. In a day an adult bird will take more than 100 engorged female Boophilus decoloratus ticks or 13,000 larvae. It frequently occurs in association with wild and domestic large mammals. The species often roosts in trees close to these animals, or even on buffaloes’ back at night. The Yellow-billed oxpeckers live in small flocks and can be found at sea-level or in mountains as high as 9,800 feet. These African mystery birds are engaged in a rare behavior, even nesting on the back of a live Cape buffalo.
Some ornithologists regard the oxpeckers to be a separate family, the Buphagidae. It is least common in the extreme east of its range where it overlaps with the r…

White-Crested Laughingthrush

The eye-catching White crested Laughingthrush ((Garrulax leucolophus) is a member of the Leiothrichidae family. This bird is mostly found in forest and scrub from the Himalayan foothills to Indochina, broadleaf evergreen forest and mixed deciduous forest, disturbed, secondary and regenerating forest. However, the White-crested Laughingthrush is not indigenous to Singapore. A charismatic “cute’-looking bird” usually moving in flocks ranging from pairs to noisy gangs of eight, has mostly chestnut-brown upperparts, a white head and breast with a protuberant white crest that sometimes appears a dirty grey due to the accumulation of dust, as well as a broad black stripe running from the lores across the eye to the ear coverts.

The bird is formerly included the Sumatran laughingthrush as a subspecies, but nothing like that species the plumage of the white-crested laughingthrush is rufescent-brown and white, and the black mask is relatively broad. In Thailand it is an introduced as a cage bird and somehow escaped and from a sustainable population. Moreover, it has become well established since 1995, and its population has increased, can be commonly encountered in many locations. This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion, hence not under threat and least concern. However, the population is suspected to be in decline owing to ongoing habitat destruction and fragmentation.

Somewhere between March to August White-crested Laughing Thrushes form close bonds during the breeding season. The bird habitually builds a wide, shallow nest at least six feet off the ground, normally constructed of bamboo leaves. The birds lays 3 to 5 eggs incubate for a short period of 15 days, letting White-crested Laughing Thrushes to generally produce at least two clutches of young each year. In order to be successful, the parents enlist support. The White-crested Laughing Thrushes rely on older offspring those hatched earlier in the season to support feed and defend the youngest members of the family.

White-crested Laughing Thrushes are noisy, social birds who sporadically burst into loud calls that sound just like laughter. White-crested Laughing Thrushes are an incredibly social species native to the teak and bamboo-covered foothills of the Himalayan Moutains.

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