Malabar woodshrike

   ›      ›   Malabar woodshrike - Tephrodornis sylvicola

The Malabar woodshrike (Tephrodornis sylvicola) belongs to the family of woodshrikes, philentomas and flycatcher-shrikes, Tephrodornithidae.

The Malabar woodshrike species are endemic to western India. These woodshrike species are considered a subspecies of the large woodshrike by some ornithologists. These birds are monotypic species.

Overview & Quick Facts Description & Identification
Pictures of Malabar Woodshrike Distribution & Range
Ecosystem & Habitat Diet & Feeding Behavior
Breeding Habits Migration & Movement Patterns
Conservation & Survival IUCN Status
Taxonomy & Classification Bird World

Malabar woodshrike - Overview

  • Scientific name: Tephrodornis sylvicola
  • Species author: Jerdon, 1839
  • Synonyms/Protonym: Tephrodornis Sylvicola Jerdon, 1839
  • Family: Tephrodornithidae › Passeriformes › Aves › Chordata › Animalia
  • Vernacular names: English: Malabar woodshrike, Chinese: 马拉巴尔林鵙, French: Téphrodorne de Malabar, German: Malabarvanga, Spanish: Ceniciento de Malabar, Russian: Malabar Woodshrike, Japanese: マラバーモズサンショウクイ
  • Other names: Malabar Woodshrike
  • Distribution: endemic to India
  • Diet and feeding habits: insects, invertebrates
  • IUCN status listing: Least Concern (LC)

Appearance, physical description and identification

The Malabar woodshrike (Tephrodornis sylvicola) is a large woodshrike, measuring 15 to 20 cm in length.

The Malabar woodshrike has dark grey-brown upperparts. The rump is white. The tail is blackish. The underparts are whitish. They have a dark broad mask. The undertail is gray.

The bill is dark gray. The irises are blackish and the eye ring is white. The feet are pale gray. The call of these species is a loud, ringing, slow-paced series of "ker...ker....ker" sound.
Indian birds - Tephrodornis sylvicola
1.Birds of India - Image of Malabar woodshrike - Tephrodornis sylvicola by Mprasannak

Birds of India - Photo of Tephrodornis sylvicola
2.Indian birds - Picture of Malabar woodshrike - Tephrodornis sylvicola by drpravi

Indian birds - Image of Tephrodornis sylvicola
3.Birds of India - Photo of Malabar woodshrike - Tephrodornis sylvicola by Forestowlet

Origin, geographical range and distribution

The Malabar woodshrike species are endemic to India. They are distributed in the states of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Goa, Maharashtra and Gujarat.

Ecosystem and habitat

These Malabar woodshrike species have moderate forest dependence. These species normally occur in altitudes from 0 to 1850 meters.

The natural ecosystems of these species include tropical and subtropical moist lowland forests, clearings in evergreen forests, tropical and subtropical dry forests and tropical and subtropical moist shrublands.

Diet and feeding behavior

The diet of the Malabar woodshrike consists mainly of insects. Crickets, locust, grasshoppers, dragonflies, moths, mantids, stick insects, worms, grubs and beetles are their primary food.

These birds forage in groups of five to ten birds for the invertebrate prey. They glean insects from foliage and from trunk and branches. They also hawk flying insects in the air from exposed perches.

Reproduction and breeding habits

The breeding season of the Malabar woodshrike species is from January to April.

These woodshrikes are monogamous and are strongly territorial. The breeding pair build a cup-shaped nest on a fork of a tree.

The nest is a shallow saucer of interwoven moss, cobwebs, fibres and pieces of bark. The typical clutch contains three white eggs. Both the parents take turns to incubate the eggs.

The parents feed the young with worms and insects. The nestlings are entirely altricial, being naked and blind, requiring continuous parental care.

Migration and movement patterns

These woodshrike species are non-migratory resident birds. Birds in higher elevations may make some local altitudinal movements, descending to lower levels and plains in winter.

Post breeding, the juveniles may disperse and establish in new locations within the range. They may make local movements for feeding and breeding within their range.

Conservation and survival

The global population size of the Malabar woodshrike (Tephrodornis sylvicola) has not been quantified. The overall population trend of these species is reported to be stable.

Throughout its range this woodshrike species is reported to be locally common to generally uncommon. The generation length is 3.9 years. Its distribution size is about 266,000

Habitat degradation and fragmentation, hunting and capture of adults and juveniles for pet trade are the main threats that may endanger the survival of these woodshrike species.

IUCN and CITES status

The Malabar woodshrike (Tephrodornis sylvicola) 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 woodshrike 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 Malabar woodshrike (Tephrodornis sylvicola).
Taxonomy and scientific classification of Tephrodornis sylvicola
Species:T. sylvicola
Binomial name:Tephrodornis sylvicola
IUCN status listing:
Least Concern
The Malabar woodshrike (Tephrodornis sylvicola) is closely related to large woodshrike (Tephrodornis virgatus). It is sometimes considered conspecific with the large woodshrike.
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1.Image source: (cropped)
Image author: Mprasannak | License: CC BY-SA 4.0
2.Image source: (cropped)
Image author: drpravi | License: CC BY-NC 2.0 as on 8/25/17
3.Image source: (cropped)
Image author: Forestowlet | License: CC BY-SA 4.0
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