Scarlet Minivet

Scarlet Minivet
Scarlet Minivet Pericrocotus speciosus fraterculus, male, Skytree Nature Reserve (21.627472, 101.588190), Yunnan, China, elev. 740 m (2,420 ft.), March. (Craig Brelsford)
Scarlet Minivet
Female fraterculus, Skytree Nature Reserve (21.627472, 101.588190), Yunnan, elev. 740 m (2,420 ft.), March. (Craig Brelsford)
Scarlet Minivet
Female fraterculus, Skytree Nature Reserve (21.611933, 101.585568), Yunnan, elev. 680 m (2,220 ft.), January. (Craig Brelsford)

Scarlet Minivet Pericrocotus speciosus ranges India to Sundas and Philippines. In China, speciosus resident southeast Tibet, fraterculus in Yunnan and Hainan, and fohkiensis Guizhou east to Fujian and Guangdong. HABITAT & BEHAVIOR Broadleaf forests and well-wooded parks and gardens, to 1500 m (4,920 ft.). Works steadily through canopy, making aerial sallies for flying insects and flushing out insects by rapidly beating wings. Often in pairs or small flocks. ID & COMPARISON Male has glossy, blue-black hood, mantle, wings, and (central) tail. Scarlet underparts, lower back, rump, uppertail coverts, and wing patches (including isolated spots on tertials and secondaries). Female bright yellow where male scarlet, including on isolated spots on tertials and secondaries. Also has yellow on forehead, throat, and ear coverts; grey crown and nape; dark lores (extending as less distinctive eyeline behind eye); and grey mantle and scapulars, sometimes with greenish tinge. Long-tailed Minivet P. ethologus and Short-billed Minivet P. brevirostris lack red or yellow spots on tertials and secondaries. Wing patch of Long-tailed Minivet has two slashes, main wing patch of Scarlet only one, making patch reminiscent of a thunderbolt or the number 7. Juvenile like female but scaly on crown, nape, and mantle; has some scaling on flanks and breast. Juvenile yellower below than juvenile Long-tailed Minivet and Short-billed Minivet. Immature male replaces yellow with orange. BARE PARTS Bill short, black; feet black. VOICE Loud whistles and trills, also distinctive busy warbling song. — Craig Brelsford

THE CUCKOOSHRIKES OF CHINA covers every species in the family Campephagidae in China. Click any link below:

Grey-chinned Minivet Pericrocotus solaris
Short-billed Minivet P. brevirostris
Long-tailed Minivet P. ethologus
Scarlet Minivet P. speciosus
Ashy Minivet P. divaricatus
Swinhoe’s Minivet P. cantonensis
Rosy Minivet P. roseus
Large Cuckooshrike Coracina macei
Black-winged Cuckooshrike Lalage melaschistos


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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