Birding Tongbiguan, Yunnan (half 2)

“Did you set up your submit at present? What number of instances was it learn?” shouldn’t be what The Reds, Pinks & Purples ask in certainly one of their songs – slightly, it’s “Did you set up your music at present? What number of instances was it performed?”. However in fact, with this slight adaptation, it additionally works for weblog posts and their writers, and permits me to plug one other good music by this underrated artist, earlier than switching to birds.

The scientific species identify of the Golden-throated Barbet is franklinii, commemorating  Capt. Sir John Franklin (1786-1847), an English Arctic explorer famed for the ill-fated try on the North-west Passage (HBW).

That expedition is now largely identified for its failure and for the confirmed cannibalism a few of its members resorted to. The Golden-throated Barbet has already launched a number of protests asking for a reputation change because it doesn’t wish to be related to cannibalism – nevertheless, to this point with out success.

The HBW part on this species’ habits largely repeats the phrase “extra data wanted”. Although in fact scientists, hungry for grants and subjects, say that on a regular basis.

Whereas the HBW states that it tends to switch different similar-sized species such because the Blue-throated Barbet at increased elevations, at Tongibiguan, I noticed each species in precisely the identical tree. Possibly a supply extra targeted on birds than the HBW may need offered extra correct data.

Mentioned Blue-throated Barbet – perhaps missing an altimeter – certainly might be seen very near its member of the family at Tongbiguan.

It’s way more frequent in simply accessible areas, resulting in a for much longer HBW entry (the “searching for the keys within the space with one of the best gentle” joke once more, if what I imply).

Bec Crew, a self-declared “Sydney-based science communicator with a love for bizarre animals” finds that “The blue-throated barbet is ridiculously handsome”

One other vaguely scientific paper on the Blue-throated Barbet appears to deal extra with the affect of Covid on Indian villagers than on the fowl itself: “All of the social, official, business and institutional actions had been prohibited for the folks. Other than the family work most people received themselves busy within the unproductive work like watching TV and utilizing cell phone. For morning and night work we had been compelled to make use of solely the garden and yard premises of the family. Throughout our stroll we’ve got interacted with 35 species of birds. We grew to become keen on Bluethroated Barbets (Psilopogon asiaticus) throughout our stroll and documented the roosting, nesting, foraging behaviour of the Blue-throated Barbets“.

Although I’ve to say I just like the bit about “unproductive work like watching TV and utilizing cell phone”.

The Bronzed Drongo definitely doesn’t wish to be referred to as unproductive, mentioning that it typically is the nucleus species for mixed-species flocks (supply).

Surprisingly, whereas in line with the HBW, it primarily feeds on bugs, it just lately received kicked out of Season 14 of the American TV sequence “Jungle Camp” for refusing to eat bugs. Okay, I made that up.

It is usually fairly good at mimicry, imitating species such because the Crested Serpent-eagle, the Javan Cuckoo-shrike and the Orange-bellied Leafbird.

The Orange-bellied Leafbird tends to not be very amused when listening to a Bronzed Drongo imitating it.


A paper on the Chestnut-vented Nuthatch titled “Nest-Web site Options and Breeding Ecology of Chestnut-Vented Nuthatch Sitta nagaensis in Southwestern China” has 8 authors. Who collectively examined the wonderful variety of 35 nuthatch nests (so every creator presumably examined 4-5 nests and nonetheless received a paper out of it – good work if you may get it).

The summary rapidly shifts from the boilerplate common “why what we do is one way or the other vital”, particularly:

“The breeding ecology of birds is the cornerstone of fowl life-history concept, and breeding success immediately impacts the survival and improvement of populations.”

to the way more particular, much less life-changing however way more related

“We studied the breeding ecology of a secondary cavity-nesting fowl, the chestnut-vented nuthatch”.

Sooner or later, I like to recommend the authors ought to begin their summary even earlier, perhaps one thing about how life has basically modified the historical past of our earth, and the way birds are part of this shift. Then, on to nuthatches.

And sure, in fact you missed my reference to anyone figuring out the mitochondrial genome of the species. How may I’ve forgotten, given the joy this paper gave me?

This submit options a number of bulbuls, beginning with the Black-crested Bulbul.

A paper reveals a photograph of a first-generation hybrid of this bulbul with a Purple-whiskered Bulbul whereas one other one stories on the (apparently fascinating) sighting of a subspecies beforehand not noticed in China. Based on the authors, this warrants “a dialogue on the classification and distribution of Pycnonotus flaviventris.” Oh my, are we vital.

One other bulbul with a crest is the Crested Finchbill, although by adopting the identify finchbill slightly than bulbul, it appears to wish to maintain a sure distance from its kinfolk (I can perceive that feeling very nicely).

A slightly not very fascinating reality about this species is that the scientific identify canifrons – slightly than hinting on the fowl’s crest – refers back to the species’ gray brow.

Whereas the HBW describes the Flavescent Bulbul as a “frequent and slightly acquainted bulbul”, that doesn’t imply there’s a lot data obtainable on the species. Flavescent apparently means golden-yellow – you might strive utilizing it in your subsequent on a regular basis dialog if you wish to impress folks, although it could be onerous to discover a appropriate matter permitting this until you’re a gold vendor.

By way of total colour scheme, the Gray-eyed Bulbul shouldn’t be that a lot totally different. However in fact, the gray eyes are one thing the species may be very happy with. And it’s not very blissful that these stunning gray eyes are usually not mirrored in its slightly obscure and nondescript species identify of propinqua, “neighboring, comparable, associated” (to what?).

Reportedly, any point out of the Purple-vented Bulbul in Florida’s faculties could quickly be unlawful as it’s thought that the precise reference to the hind components of the species could lead weak youngsters towards early intercourse.

Possibly Floridians will then use the scientific identify cafer – although with its origin within the phrases Kaffir, Caffre, or Caffer utilized to some indigenous peoples in South Africa (HBW), this is probably not a good selection both. No less than within the German language, the time period “Kaffer” is a derogatory time period for dark-skinned folks. However perhaps it will concern some Floridians much less.

The HBW has a useful editor’s be aware relationship from 2016 stating that the species account remains to be being edited. Because the species is slightly frequent, it’s unlikely it should go extinct earlier than this replace occurs.

In distinction, the HBW entry for the Striated Bulbul was up to date as just lately as October 2023. Should you dislike birdsong, perhaps that is the correct bulbul for you because the entry describes the species as “much less vocal than most bulbuls”.

Sadly for such a reasonably fowl, there’s nearly no data on the Slaty-blue Flycatcher.

Presumably, the scientific species identify tricolor refers back to the mixture of blue, brownish and white of the male. Not very thrilling data, I do know. However sadly, Sir Edward Tricolor (1797-1866), the eminent Scottish naturalist and newbie poet, by no means existed.

I feel this can be a Hearth-tailed Sunbird, perhaps a juvenile male?

Apparently, this sunbird is form of the mountain equal of the Fork-tailed Sunbird. By way of breeding, which means  “the high-altitude Hearth-tailed Sunbird tends to supply smaller clutch sizes with extended nestling intervals, and better feeding frequencies than the low-altitude sunbirds” (supply). Does that imply that households in Florida ought to on common be bigger than in Colorado?

One other paper lauds the dedication of feminine Hearth-tailed Sunbirds as they prioritize incubation slightly than self-feeding when it’s coldest (supply).

Right here is one other sunbird species – Mrs. Gould’s Sunbird – presumably additionally an immature male.

Craving to seem like an grownup.

The Fulvous breasted Woodpecker to me seems like a really standard woodpecker. Nevertheless, one on-line supply disagrees, gushing “Welcome to the charming world of the Fulvous-breasted Woodpecker, a medium-sized fowl with an enchanting combine of colours and patterns. This avian marvel, belonging to the household Picidae, is a sight to behold, particularly for any devoted fowl lover. Its distinctive black and white higher components distinction fantastically with its buff underparts”.

Extra importantly, the supply solutions the query each birder actually needs to ask: Does the fowl comfortably slot in a photograph?

“The Fulvous-breasted Woodpecker measures a medium-sized fowl, with its size usually becoming nicely throughout the confines of an everyday fowl picture identify or fowl PNG.”

It then barely enigmatically continues

“Should you’re a fowl lover, dimension could also be mandatory when contemplating which species to hunt out throughout your fowl migration adventures or simply visiting a fowl sanctuary.”

A bit much like the beloved Nanhui guests asking birders there: “Are there any massive birds right here?”.

So, probably the Gray-headed Canary Flycatcher can be out of scope for them.

The one that gave the Gray Sibia the scientific species identify gracilis (slim, slender) presumably didn’t see the photographs under. Curiously, the illustration within the HBW makes the fowl look even much less slim.

Whereas the HBW describes their presence in China as “very native”, they appear to be quite common at Tongbiguan.


The facial features of this Hill Prinia is that of an individual out there for a second-hand automobile who is aware of he’s about to be cheated.

A flowering roadside tree became an impromptu assembly place for a number of fowl species together with Hair- crested Drongo



… and Streaked Spiderhunter.


A report describing the nest of a Yellow-bellied Fantail will be discovered right here (after a barely obnoxious process of registering and so on.). However the fowl on the photograph under seems a lot cuter.

Pretending to be an mental, I’ll finish this submit by mentioning certainly one of my favourite tales by German author Heinrich Boll (or Boell), one with the interesting title “On being courteous when compelled to interrupt the legislation” (I just like the German title even higher “Höflichkeit bei verschiedenen unvermeidlichen  Gesetzesübertretungen”). Through which he discusses methods to politely rob a financial institution or desert from the military. It additionally accommodates one small paragraph that has at all times been self-evident to me: “[W]hen coping with folks of both intercourse who regard themselves as our inferiors … one should use a barely extra subdued, extra restrained tone of voice than when coping with those that regard themselves as our superiors”.

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