Birding Tongbiguan, Yunnan (half 2)

“Did you set up your put up at the moment? What number of occasions was it learn?” just isn’t what The Reds, Pinks & Purples ask in one among their songs – slightly, it’s “Did you set up your tune at the moment? What number of occasions was it performed?”. However after all, with this slight adaptation, it additionally works for weblog posts and their writers, and permits me to plug one other good tune 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 recognized 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 need to be related to cannibalism – nevertheless, to this point with out success.

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

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

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

It’s rather more widespread in simply accessible areas, resulting in a for much longer HBW entry (the “searching for the keys within the space with the most effective gentle” joke once more, if you recognize 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 impression of Covid on Indian villagers than on the hen itself: “All of the social, official, business and institutional actions had been prohibited for the folks. Other than the family work the general public 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 now have 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 actually doesn’t prefer to be known as unproductive, declaring that it typically is the nucleus species for mixed-species flocks (supply).

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

Additionally it is 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 writer presumably examined 4-5 nests and nonetheless received a paper out of it – good work if you may get it).

The summary shortly shifts from the boilerplate normal “why what we do is someway necessary”, particularly:

“The breeding ecology of birds is the cornerstone of hen life-history principle, and breeding success instantly impacts the survival and growth of populations.”

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

“We studied the breeding ecology of a secondary cavity-nesting hen, 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 essentially modified the historical past of our earth, and the way birds are part of this shift. Then, on to nuthatches.

And sure, after all you missed my reference to any person figuring out the mitochondrial genome of the species. How might I’ve forgotten, given the joy this paper gave me?

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

A paper exhibits a photograph of a first-generation hybrid of this bulbul with a Crimson-whiskered Bulbul whereas one other one studies on the (apparently attention-grabbing) sighting of a subspecies beforehand not noticed in China. In accordance with the authors, this warrants “a dialogue on the classification and distribution of Pycnonotus flaviventris.” Oh my, are we necessary.

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

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

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

When it comes to total shade scheme, the Gray-eyed Bulbul just isn’t that a lot completely different. However after all, the gray eyes are one thing the species may be very happy with. And it isn’t very comfortable that these lovely gray eyes usually are not mirrored in its slightly obscure and nondescript species identify of propinqua, “neighboring, related, associated” (to what?).

Reportedly, any point out of the Crimson-vented Bulbul in Florida’s colleges might quickly be unlawful as it’s thought that the precise reference to the hind components of the species might lead weak kids 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. At the very least within the German language, the time period “Kaffer” is a derogatory time period for dark-skinned folks. However perhaps this may concern some Floridians much less.

The HBW has a useful editor’s notice relationship from 2016 stating that the species account remains to be being edited. Because the species is slightly widespread, 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 fitting bulbul for you because the entry describes the species as “much less vocal than most bulbuls”.

Sadly for such a fairly hen, 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 novice poet, by no means existed.

I believe it is a Hearth-tailed Sunbird, perhaps a juvenile male?

Apparently, this sunbird is type of the mountain equal of the Fork-tailed Sunbird. When it comes to breeding, which means that  “the high-altitude Hearth-tailed Sunbird tends to supply smaller clutch sizes with extended nestling durations, 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 appear to be an grownup.

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

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

“The Fulvous-breasted Woodpecker measures a medium-sized hen, with its size usually becoming properly throughout the confines of a daily hen picture identify or hen PNG.”

It then barely enigmatically continues

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

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

So, most 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 images under. Apparently, the illustration within the HBW makes the hen 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 automotive who is aware of he’s about to be cheated.

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



… and Streaked Spiderhunter.


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

Pretending to be an mental, I’ll finish this put up by mentioning one among 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”). By which he discusses methods to politely rob a financial institution or desert from the military. It additionally accommodates one small paragraph that has all the time 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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