The black-winged cuckooshrike (Lalage melaschistos) belongs to the family of trillers, minivets and cuckooshrikes, Campephagidae.
Appearance, physical description and identificationThe black-winged cuckooshrike (Lalage melaschistos) is a medium-sized cuckooshrike, measuring 20 to 25 cm in length and weighing 35 to 40 grams. It has gray and white plumage.
The black-winged cuckooshrike bill is blackish gray and slightly curved. The irises are blackish. There are two small white crescent shaped patches located above and below the eye-ring. The legs are blackish gray.
The black-winged cuckooshrike call is a high-pitched, descending, slurred whistles and loud "twit..twit" sound.
Origin, geographical range and distributionThe black-winged cuckooshrike species are distributed in India, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, China, Taiwan, Japan, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam.
In India, these black-winged cuckooshrikes are distributed in the states of Jammu and Kashmir, Haryana, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Odisha, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Assam, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur, Tripura and Mizoram.
The black-winged cuckooshrike nominate subspecies L. m. melaschistos is distributed in northern Pakistan, Himalayan states of north and northwest India, north of northeast India, southern China and northwest Myanmar. Non breeding populations occur in northeast India, Bangladesh and northwest Thailand.
The black-winged cuckooshrike subspecies L. m. intermedia is distributed in central, east and southeast China. Non-breeding populations occur in southern Myanmar, southern Thailand, southern Vietnam, southern China and Taiwan.
The black-winged cuckooshrike subspecies L. m. avensis is distributed in southwest China, south Myanmar, north Thailand, northern Laos and north and central Vietnam. Non-breeding populations of these subspecies are found in southern Myanmar, southern Thailand and southern Vietnam and Cambodia.
The black-winged cuckooshrike subspecies L. m. saturata is distributed in northeast and central Vietnam and south China (Hainan). Non-breeding populations of L. m. saturata occur in west Thailand, southern Laos, Cambodia and central Vietnam.
The Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBA) of the black-winged cuckooshrike in Cambodia are Snoul, Keo Sema and O Reang. Some of the IBA in Nepal are Bardia National Park, Chitwan National Park, Khaptad National Park, Langtang National Park and Mai Valley forests.
Ecosystem and habitatThese black-winged cuckooshrike species have moderate forest dependence. They normally occur in altitudes from 0 to 2500 meters. The artificial ecosystems and habitats of these species include rural gardens, cultivated lands and plantations.
The natural ecosystems and habitats of these cuckooshrike species include tropical and subtropical moist montane forests, moist shrublands, broad-leaved forests, secondary forests and tropical and subtropical moist lowland forests.
Diet and feeding behaviorThe diet of black-winged cuckooshrike consists mainly of insects. Insects, caterpillars, beetles, grasshoppers, cicadas, moths, butterflies and crickets are their primary food. They occasionally fee on fruits.
These black-winged cuckooshrike species hunt insect prey in the forests. They form feeding flocks with other small birds. The cuckooshrikes hawk airborne insects and also glean their prey from the foliage and branches of trees.
Reproduction and breeding habitsThe breeding season of the black-winged cuckooshrike species is from April to July in most of their breeding range. These birds are monogamous and highly territorial.
The nest of the the black-winged cuckooshrike is a small cup-like structure, made of twigs, rootlets and plant fibers, which are bound by cobwebs. The nest is constructed 3-8 meters above the ground. Both parents take part in building the nest on tree branches.
The cuckooshrike clutch is two or three eggs. The breeding pair take turns to incubate the eggs. The parents brood the chicks and keep feeding them till they fledge.
Migration and movement patternsThese black-winged cuckooshrike species are partially migratory birds. The breeding populations in higher altitudes move to lower levels and plains during winter.
Post breeding, the juveniles of the resident black-winged cuckooshrikes may disperse and establish in new locations within the range. They may make local movements for feeding and breeding within their range.
Black-winged cuckooshrike - Quick Facts
- Scientific name: Lalage melaschistos
- Species author: (Hodgson, 1836)
- Synonyms/Protonym: Volvocivora melaschistos Hodgson, 1836
- Family: Campephagidae › Passeriformes › Aves › Chordata › Animalia
- Vernacular names: English: Black-winged cuckooshrike, Chinese: 暗灰鹃鵙, French: Échenilleur ardoisé, German: Trauerraupenfänger, Spanish: Oruguero alinegro, Russian: Траурный сорокопутовый личинкоед, Japanese: アサクラサンショウクイ, Malay: Burung Kelabu Cina
- Other names: Dark-grey Cuckooshrike, Lesser Grey Cuckooshrike
- Distribution: India, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Pakistan, southeast Asia, China, Taiwan, Japan
- Diet and feeding habits: insects, caterpillars, ants, termites, beetles, grasshoppers, crickets, cicadas, mantids
- IUCN status listing: Least Concern (LC)
Conservation and survivalThe global population size of the black-winged cuckooshrike (Lalage melaschistos) has not been quantified. The overall population trend of the species is considered to be stable.
Throughout its range, the cuckooshrike species is reported to be very rare to locally common. The generation length is 4.6 years. Its distribution size is about 8,370,000 sq.km.
Habitat alteration and destruction, deforestation and trapping for pet-trade are the main threats that may endanger the survival of this cuckooshrike species.
IUCN and CITES statusThe black-winged cuckooshrike (Lalage melaschistos) does not approach the thresholds for being Vulnerable either under the range size criterion, or under the population trend criterion or under the population size criterion.
The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) has categorized and evaluated the cuckooshrike species and has listed it as of "Least Concern".
The CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) status is ‘Not Evaluated’ for black-winged cuckooshrike (Lalage melaschistos).
|Taxonomy and scientific classification of Lalage melaschistos|
|Binomial name:||Lalage melaschistos|
|IUCN status listing:|
The black-winged cuckooshrike (Lalage melaschistos) is closely related to lesser cuckooshrike (Lalage fimbriata) and black-headed cuckooshrike (Lalage melanoptera).
The four recognized subspecies of the black-winged cuckooshrike (Lalage melaschistos) are: Lalage melaschistos melaschistos (Hodgson, 1836), Lalage melaschistos intermedia (A. O. Hume, 1877), Lalage melaschistos avensis (Blyth, 1852) and Lalage melaschistos saturata (Swinhoe, 1870).
Photo author: Nabarunsadhya | License: CC BY-SA 3.0
2.Photo source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/79492850@N00/8473963482 (cropped)
Photo author: Jason Thompson | License: CC BY 2.0
3.Photo source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/79492850@N00/8470531530 (cropped)
Photo author: Jason Thompson | License: CC BY 2.0
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