Pied Bushchat (Saxicola caprata)

The Pied Bushchat is a small bird found extensively from West to Central to South-East Asia and across the Indian Subcontinent. It is seen quite easily in the countryside and open scrub or grassland where it is found perched at the top of short thorn trees or other shrubs, looking out for insect prey. They pick up insects mainly from the ground.

They nest in cavities in stone walls or in holes in an embankment, lining the nest with grass and animal hair. The males are black with white shoulder and vent patches whose extent varies among populations. Females are predominantly brownish while juveniles are speckled. Males and females are found in pairs and close to each other, following each other’s movements, and are a delight to watch.

Local names include Kala pidda in Hindi Shyama in Gujarati Kavda gapidda in Marathi Kallu kuruvi in Tamil, Kampa nalanchi in Telugu. The whistling call has very interestingly been transcribed as ‘we are tea for two’ with ‘tea’ at higher note.

Here is a photograph of both a female and male photographed in the Nilgiris, Tamilnadu.

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