Malayan whistling thrush

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Malayan whistling thrush
Myophonus robinsoni.JPG
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Muscicapidae
Genus: Myophonus
M. robinsoni
Binomial name
Myophonus robinsoni

Myiophonus robinsoni Ogilvie-Grant, 1905 [orth. error]

The Malayan whistling thrush or Malaysian whistling-thrush (Myophonus robinsoni) is a species of bird in the family Muscicapidae. It is endemic to the Malay Peninsula.[2] Due primarily to habitat loss, its population is thought to be in decline.[A]


The Malayan whistling thrush was collected by H. C. Robinson and described as Myiophoneus robinsoni by William Robert Ogilvie-Grant in 1905.[5] The specific name is derived from Robinson's surname.[6]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

Its natural habitat is montane forests. It is usually found near streams. It is situated at elevations of about 750–1,750 m (2,460–5,740 ft) in central peninsular Malaysia.[1] The Malayan whistling thrush historically ranged from the Cameron Highlands to the Genting Highlands. It was present in the Cameron Highlands, where it was trapped in the 1950s and 1960s, but a further survey in 2009–2010 failed to find it there, bringing into question the reliability of intermediate sightings; it is possible that there may have been confusion with the subspecies dicrorhynchus of the blue whistling thrush (Myophonus caeruleus).[1] Since 1980, it has been trapped and recorded with certainty only in Fraser's Hill.[1]


The species is monotypic. Its length is 25–26 cm (9.8–10.2 in). The length of the wings of the male is 14–15 cm (5.5–5.9 in). The wing length of the female is 13 cm (5.1 in).[7] Its weight is 87–105 g (3.1–3.7 oz).[8] The male is mostly black-blue. Parts of the head are deep purplish-blue. There is a patch of metallic blue in the lesser coverts. The male and female are very similar. The female is slightly browner[7] and slightly smaller.[9] The juvenile is sootier.[1]

Behaviour and ecology[edit]

Its call is a tseee.[7] Its song contains "fluty and scratchy notes".[1] Its diet is probably insects. Breeding has been observed in March and September. The clutch size is 1–2 eggs.[1] The eggs are bluish-grey with pinkish-brown specks.[7] The nest is built of dried plant material and is in a half-cup shape.[9]


The species's population is estimated at 2500–9999 mature and 3500–15000 total individuals. The population is suspected to be decreasing. The species has areas of undisturbed habitat, but may be threatened by habitat destruction and degradation caused by conversion of forest to agricultural land, water pollution, invasive species and overdevelopment.[4] Because the species may have a small range and a small population, the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species has listed it as near threatened.[1][3][4]



  1. ^ "This species qualifies as Vulnerable because development proposals threaten to reduce and fragment its upland forest habitat which would result in a rapid population decline in the near future. ... ). Threats to the habitat and range of the species are outlined under Mountain Peacock-pheasant Polyplectron inopinatum."[3] The conservation status has been changed to "Near threatened."[1][4]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i BirdLife International (2016). "Myophonus robinsoni". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2016: e.T22708313A94156155. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-3.RLTS.T22708313A94156155.en. Retrieved 16 November 2021.
  2. ^ Frank Gill; David Donsker (eds.). "Chats, Old World flycatchers". IOC World Bird List Version 6.3. Retrieved 5 October 2016.
  3. ^ a b Collar,; Andreev, A.V.; Chan, S.; Crosby, M.J.; Subramanya, S.; Tobias, J. A. (eds.). "Threatened Birds of Asia" (PDF). The BirdLife International Red Data Book. ISBN 978-0-946888-44-3.
  4. ^ a b c Benstead, P.; Harding, M.; Khwaja, N.; Taylor, J. (2016). "Species factsheet: Myophonus robinsoni". BirdLife International Retrieved 13 December 2016.
  5. ^ "Bulletin of the British Ornithologists' Club No. CXV". Bulletin of the British Ornithologists' Club. 15: 69. 1905.
  6. ^ Jobling, James A. (2010). Helm Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names. Bloomsbury. p. 337. ISBN 9781408133262.
  7. ^ a b c d Clement, Peter; Hathway, Ren (2010). Thrushes. London: A&C Black. pp. 213–214. ISBN 9781408135426.
  8. ^ Collar, N. J. (2005). "Malaysian Whistling-thrush (Myophonus robinsoni)". In del Hoyo, J.; Elliott, A; Christie, C. (eds.). Family Turdidae (Thrushes). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Vol. 10. Barcelona, Spain: Lynx Edicions. pp. 514–807. Retrieved 5 October 2016.
  9. ^ a b Teo, Allan; Wee, Y. C. (2009). "Observations at a nest of Malayan Whistling Thrush Myophonus robinsoni in the Cameron Highlands, Malaysia" (PDF). BirdingASIA (11): 95–97. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-10-11. Retrieved 2016-10-05.

Further reading[edit]

  • Bakewell, D. N.; Chye, Lim Kim; bin Mohd Sah, Anuar; Muin, M. A. (2010). "Malaysian Whistling Thrush Myophonus robinsoni – field identification, distribution and conservation concerns". BirdingASIA: 23–29.
  • Wells, D. R. (2007). Birds of the Thai-Malay peninsula. Vol. Two: Passerines. London: Christopher Helm. ISBN 978-0-7136-6534-5.
  • Yeap, Chin Aik; Sebastian, A. C.; Davison, G. W. H. (2007). Directory of Important Bird Areas in Malaysia: key sites for conservation. Kuala Lumpur: Malaysia Nature Society.