Ashy Minivet

Ashy Minivet Pericrocotus divaricatus No minivet ranges as far north (to Sakhalin Island) as the ashy minivet, and none migrates as far. In China, nominate race breeds in Inner Mongolia, Heilongjiang, and Jilin and passes through eastern third of country en route to its wintering grounds in India, Southeast Asia (to Borneo and Sumatra), and the Philippines. May breed in Taiwan. Lives in canopy of broadleaf forests, searching for insects; on migration occurs in more varied types of woodland. Perches upright, scanning surroundings for prey. Often in flocks, conspecific as well as mixed-species. Male mainly grey above, with white forehead and black lores, midcrown, hindcrown, nape, and ear coverts. Flight feathers mostly black with white basal wing bar; grey fringes to primaries and tertials. Central tail feathers black; rest of tail mostly white with broad black base. Female has less white on forehead than male and grey mid- and hindcrown, nape, and ear coverts. Both sexes white below. Swinhoe’s minivet has brown-tinged upperparts and underparts. White on forehead of male Swinhoe’s extends further back, especially above eye, and black on head of ashy is replaced by dark grey (except lores). Bar-winged flycatcher-shrike is smaller and has conspicuous white bar on wing and a black forehead. Juvenile ashy like female but browner; difficult to distinguish juvenile ashy minivet from juvenile Swinhoe’s minivet. Thick bill black; feet black. Call a high-pitched trill, repeated at intervals, similar to that of Swinhoe’s minivet, but longer. — Craig Brelsford


Daniel Bengtsson served as chief ornithological consultant for Craig Brelsford’s Photographic Field Guide to the Birds of China, from which this species description is drawn.

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