Scarlet Minivet

Scarlet Minivet Pericrocotus speciosus ranges from India to the Sunda Islands and the Philippines. In China, speciosus is resident in southeastern Tibet, fraterculus in Yunnan and on Hainan, and fohkiensis in southeastern China (Guizhou east to Fujian and Guangdong). Inhabits broadleaf forests and well-wooded parks and gardens, to 1500 m. Works steadily through canopy, making aerial sallies for flying insects and flushing out insects by rapidly beating wings. Often in pairs or small flocks. Male has glossy, blue-black hood, mantle, wings, and (central) tail. Underparts scarlet, as are lower back, rump, uppertail coverts, and wing patches (including isolated spots on tertials and secondaries). In female, bright yellow replaces scarlet of male, 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 and short-billed minivet lack red or yellow spots on tertials and secondaries. Wing patch of long-tailed has two slashes, but main wing patch of scarlet has 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 and short-billed. Immature male replaces yellow with orange. Bill short, black; feet black. Calls, similar to those of other minivet species, include loud whistles and trills. Also has distinctive busy warbling song. — 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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