Orange-headed thrush / Zoothera citrina cyanota / Kurikkannan kattupullu
”A bird came down the walk,
He did not know I saw,
He bit an angle-worm in halves
And ate the fellow raw.
And then he drank a dew from the convenient grass,
And then hoped side wise to the wall,
To let a beetle to pass.
He glanced with rapid eyes,
That hurried all abroad,
They looked like frightened beads,
He stirred his velvet head.
Emily Dickinsons bird could be a ground thrush or some other bird of her favourite locality or of her imaginative landscape.It is perhaps the`first bird of its kind that I have ever met ,the most secretive and the shiest.We can see that the bird has a fancy for a secluded secretive life like Emily Dickinson.It is found walking on the rain drenched semi dark grounds of thickly wooded sacred groves during the last leg of monsoon season.Each of its slow movements was underlined by silence.The thrush has a deep fancy for shady damp areas .
As I went close to the thrush feeding on the ground in dense under growth of the sacred grove , the bird”bit an unknown worn in halves, remained motionless contrary to my expectation .. But it would be wrong to say that it has a very short flight initiation distance. Anyway I felt this characteristics unique.Moments later that flew away without making any fuss before i could take snaps.It has a swift silent flight’.The colour appeared strange in the dim light of the sacred grove. august 2010.
I was gazing casting my eyes on the available infinite sky to relieve myself from a holiday afternoon nap drowsines. Faint dapple of the weak sun trickled through the Hamelia leaves by the window.My eyes spotted a bird that remained still upon the curved branch of Hamelia.I made out the figure that I found in June . I took the snaps of the bird as it was searching the tiny fruits of Hamelia.It has a n orange coloured head.The throat is white, face sides have a unique design with two black stripes running downwards from below the eyes. The snaps revealed uniformly grey upper parts and wings.Plumage bears a distinctive under wing pattern with a white band..It has a slate coloured bill and legs.
I sent the photographs to ornithologist Ramakrishnan kumaranellur and he identified it as White throated ground thrush.5.12.2010
It was the month of April 2014,a wild fruit tree of unknown origin with full of tiny fruits was the favourite hang out of green barbets ,Indian oriole, Cuckoos , Brahminy sterlings ,Bulbuls of three kinds.white throated ground thrush was a visitor there.they appeared usually in pairs contrary to the earlier encounters.it doesnt form flocks.The female resembled the male but has brown or more olive upper parts and warm brown wings. my ornithologist friend added that it is hard to differentiate the old female birds and the male birds. The green barbet devoured every ripe fruit available as if the tree would be destroyed by that evening, they returned to the tree frequently at short interwals and emptied the ripe black fruits effectively.the thrushes plucked ripe fruits one by one.it was quite shy compared to other birds.Citrina cyanota is omnivorous eating a wide variety of insects ,earth worms and fruits.
the branch was shaken as a large redeyed cuckoo alighted and the thrushes flew away making a thin tseee,,,tsee,,,,tseee sound in flight.the male cuckoo bird started plucking fruits,PIED cuckoo is a brood parasite that lays a single egg in the nest.the tragic thing is the hatced young one of the host dies because it fails to compete with the cuckoo child
.Though the bird is seen in midlands and lowlands of kerala,it would be worthy to study the distribution pattern of the bird.Many midland and high altitude species are believed to move to lower altitude forests in certain seasons.white throated whistling trherush is known to disperse to lower altitudes mostly in summer and early winter.Valluvanadan snake groves are a favourite hang out of the Thrush.