Malabar Whistling Thrush – Myophonus horsfieldii

Malabar Whistling Thrush is a dark blue and black colored bird which makes beautiful long songs. This bird is commonly found along the forests of Sahyadri (Western Ghtas) and nearby region.

Malabar Whistling Thrush - Myophonus horsfieldii

Photo 1: Exif – f/5.6, 1/30 sec., ISO 1000, +0.7 step, matrix metering, 410 mm, Nikon D7100, Nikkor 200-500 mm f5.6E VR. Date – Feb 23, 2016. Location – Cheruvally, Kerala.

This photo was taken from my home yard in Cheruvally, Kottayam, Kerala. Actually it is the first time I am seeing this bird in our region, and was really surprised. I had seen it earlier from Periyar or so and had also heard its calls from numerous places. It was here in the back yard for almost one day and I clicked this picture on that same evening. It doesn’t show any shyness, but was a little restless. It kept on moving from one tree to another. The time was around five in the evening and the light was low. That along with the dark color of the bird made it a little difficult to get a correct exposure. I overexposed by +0.7 step. That yielded a shutter speed of just 1/30 seconds at ISO 1000. 1/30 sec. was enough to shoot handheld without inducing camera shake at 410 mm focal length.. Thanks to the excellent Vibration Reduction on the new Nikon 200-500 mm lens. And then pulled the shadows during post-process to get this picture.

Malabar Whistling Thrush - Myophonus horsfieldii

Photo 2: Exif – f/5.6, 1/60s, ISO 640, +0.7 step, 420mm, Nikon D7100, Nikkor 200-500mm. Date – Apr 25, 2016. Location – Munnar, Kerala.

About Malabar Whistling Thrush – Myophonus horsfieldii

Malabar Whistling Thrush is a medium sized bird commonly seen in the forests of Kerala. It can easily be identified by its colors and distinct calls. As the name suggests, they make long whistling calls, which have a beautiful rhythm to it.

They are generally confined to dense under growths and lower branches. Also they will be seen only in places with lower levels of pollution. As they usually make nests near fresh streams, their presence may be an indication of good and balanced ecosystem in the area.

When seen from a distance, it can be confused with Asian Fairy Bluebird. But the latter has more vibrant color and the back of the neck has also blue color. Malabar Whistling Thrush is primarily blue-black and has a dark blue color on the wings, tail, upper side and top of the head, which shines variably under different lighting.

Order: Passeriformes.

Family: Muscicapidae.

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