23 October 2012

Indian Robin

The Indian Robin (Tamil = Wannatikuruvi, Washerman bird) is a size of a sparrow. The Male is black with white wing patch and a rusty red under a cocked tail. The hen is ashy brown, with no wing patch. They feed mostly on insects but are known to take frogs and lizards especially when feeding young at the nest. Individuals may forage late in the evening to capture insects attracted to lights.
This bird enjoys frequenting arid and stony country, semi-desert with scattered bushes around habitation. Although I may not have noticed it in my own garden, this bird frequents houses around villages, commonly perching on thatched roofs of huts and entering verandahs to pick up insects. This bird is widespread in this area. It is commonly found in open scrub areas and often seen running along the ground or perching on low thorny shrubs. All populations are resident and non-migratory. 

Male Indian Robin on ground
I’ve often noticed this Robin in the scrub land of the Samudram Erie, but thus far never noticed one in my own garden, where I often receive visitors from its compatriot, the Oriental Robin Magpie
Male Indian Robin on Perch
This bird hops along the ground. The male utters some cheery notes, but has no song as such except in the mating season when the male sings and displays itself by lowering and spreading its tail feathers and strutting around the female, displaying its sides and fluffing its undertail coverts. The songs of males have variants for inviting mates and for deterring other males. Males will drive away other males and patrol their territory by flying with slow wing-beats from perch to perch. They may sometimes peck at their reflections. An aggressive display involves fluffing up the feathers and holding the bill high. 
The nesting season for the Indian Robin in the South is from March to June and August to September. Its nest is usually a pad of grass, rootlets and rubbish lined with feathers or hair and sometimes sloughed off snakeskin. 
Indian Robin Hen

Male Indian Robin on Feeding Duty

This bird has tremendous adaptability and can nest anywhere provided it thinks it is safe. The nest is often placed under stone, in earth holes or tree-stumps or within derelict cans or pots. It usually lays 2-3 creamy white coloured eggs. The female alone incubates with the male sharing other domestic duties. 

Nestlings may feign dead (thanatosis) when handled. Nestlings may be preyed on by the Rufous Treepie. The same nest site may be reused in subsequent years. 

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