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A photo of a Common Woodshrike (Tephrodornis pondicerianus)
Common Woodshrike

Common Woodshrike

Tephrodornis pondicerianus

The Common Woodshrike, Tephrodornis pondicerianus, presents itself as a small, ashy brown bird with a distinctive dark cheek patch and a broad white brow. Its plumage is rather unassuming, yet it carries a certain understated elegance.

Identification Tips

To identify this species, look for the creamy brow sitting above the dark cheek patch, and the contrasting white outer tail feathers against a darker tail. Juveniles may exhibit streaks and spots on the crown, with white spots on the mantle. The underside is streaked, and the breast is heavily marked in younger birds. The northern race, pallidus, is paler above with brown central rectrices.

Habitat

The Common Woodshrike is typically found in thin forests and scrub habitats, where it can be seen hunting insects.

Distribution

This species is widespread across Asia, from east India to south Laos, with subspecies extending to Pakistan, northwest India, Cambodia, and south Vietnam.

Behaviour

Often found in pairs, the Common Woodshrike is known for its loud, whistling song composed of several notes. It feeds primarily on insects and occasionally berries, gleaning along branches and leaves within trees. It may also make aerial sallies or forage on the ground. After alighting on a perch, it exhibits a characteristic wing adjustment, raising them over the tail.

Song & Calls

The Common Woodshrike's vocal repertoire includes a plaintive weet-weet followed by a series of quick whi-whi-whi-whee? calls. Its song is a series of rapid whistling notes.

Breeding

Breeding occurs in summer before the rainy season. The species constructs a cup nest on a bare fork, using fibres and bark bound by cobwebs and camouflaged with bits of bark and lichen. The nest is lined with silky plant fibres. Typically, three eggs are laid per clutch, with both parents participating in incubation. It is believed that only the female feeds the young, who are nourished with insects and berries. In some years, two broods may be raised.

Similar Species

The Sri Lanka Woodshrike was once considered a subspecies but is now recognized as a separate species due to distinct plumage and calls, as well as strong sexual dimorphism.

Diet and Feeding

The diet of the Common Woodshrike consists mainly of insects, with occasional berries supplementing its diet.

Conservation status

The IUCN Red List has classified the Common Woodshrike as Least Concern, indicating that the species does not currently face any significant threats to its survival.

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Common Woodshrikes on Birda

Sightings
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Murari Varma
06 Feb 2024 - 1:22am
India

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