Dendrocitta formosae Swinhoe, 1863 sec. Droege, G., Corvids of the World

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Dendrocitta formosae Swinhoe, 1863 sec. Droege, G., Corvids of the World

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Editorial Status

Ongoing collection of data, unrevised text, last update: 2016-12-23.

Common Name

English: Grey Tree PieA, Hills Tree PieB, Himalayan Tree PieB


Asia-Temperate China (China South-Central (Chongqing nativeC, Guizhou nativeC, Hubei nativeC, Sichuan nativeC,1, Yunnan nativeC,2), China Southeast nativeC, Hainan (Hainan nativeC)); Eastern Asia (Taiwan (Taiwan nativeC)), Asia-Tropical Indian Subcontinent (Assam (Assam nativeC), East Himalaya nativeC, India (Andhra Pradesh nativeC, Dadra-Nagar-Haveli nativeC, Goa nativeC, Karaikal nativeC, Karnataka nativeC, Kerala nativeC, Maharashtra nativeC, Mahé nativeC, Pondicherry nativeC, Tamil Nadu nativeC, Yanam nativeC), Nepal (Nepal native3), West Himalaya nativeC); Indo-China (Laos (Laos nativeC,4), Myanmar (Myanmar nativeC), Thailand (Thailand nativeC), Vietnam (Vietnam nativeC,5))
1. WC and EC Sichuan, 2. SW and S Yunnan, 3. W Nepal, 4. N and C Laos, 5. NW and NE Vietnam


Fruits and insects, but like its cousin of the plains it also destroys large numbers of eggs and nest-young of small birds. It is likewise very fond of flower nectar; Silk Cotton and Rhododendron blossoms are regularly visited in season.D

Biology And Ecology

Throughout its Himalayan range this Tree Pie breeds at elevations between two and five thousand feet, and sometimes up to seven thousand feet. April to July are the months most favoured.E


The nest is of the crow type, a flimsy platform of thin twigs, coarse roots, tendrils, etc. The shallow depression for eggs in the centre is lined with finer material. It is usually built between eight and twenty feet up on saplings growing in forest or in the neighbourhood of scrub-covered ravines.E


The eggs - three to five - range from pale bluish or yellowish-stone colour to rich yellowish cream. They are boldly blotched with dark or reddish-brown, more numrously at the broad end. The texture is fine and glossy.E


They go about in pairs or parties which keep up a noisy conservation in harsh, rather metallic notes. The flight is undulating, consisting of a few rapid flaps followed by a short glide. Especially when flying from one treetop to another the birds seem to rocket down in a curious way at a steepish angle on each undulation.E


Philopterus emersoni R.D. Price & Hellenthal, 1998F


Some of the calls are quite melodious.E


A. Goodwin, D., Crows of the world. 1976: 210 [3]
B. Goodwin, D., Crows of the world. 1976: 211 [3]
C. The Howard and Moore complete checklist of the birds of the world. 3rd Edition. 2003
D. Ali, S., Indian Hill Birds. 1949: 5 [2945]
E. Ali, S., Indian Hill Birds. 1949: 6 [2945]
F. Price & Hellenthal, Taxonomy of Philopterus (Phthiraptera: Philopteridae) from the Corvidae (Passeriformes), with descriptions of nine new species. in Annals of the Entomological Society of America 91 (6): 786, 791 [78]