Short-billed Minivet

Three of the four ssp. of Short-billed Minivet Pericrocotus brevirostris breed in China: nominate in southeastern Tibet and northwestern Yunnan, affinis in southern Sichuan and western Yunnan, and anthoides from southeastern Yunnan east to northern Guangdong. Uncommon (less common than similar long-tailed minivet) in mainly broadleaf forests in hilly country to 2000 m. Like many minivets, hunts insects in canopy; 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 (becoming wing bar in flight). Black of throat more extensive than that of long-tailed minivet. As in scarlet minivet, wing patch shaped somewhat like thunderbolt (or the number 7), but scarlet minivet has in addition isolated scarlet spots on tertials and secondaries. Long-tailed male also lacks isolated spots on wing, but wing patch has two red slashes. In female, bright yellow replaces scarlet of male. Also has yellow on forehead and throat and yellow wash to forecrown; grey ear coverts, crown, and nape; dark lores (extending as less distinctive eyeline behind eye), and grey mantle and scapulars (sometimes with greenish tinge). Juvenile like female but scaly above; distinguished with difficulty from juvenile long-tailed. Juvenile scarlet minivet has yellower underparts. Immature male replaces yellow with orange. Bill very short, black; feet black. Thin, monosyllabic call, but also trilling call somewhat reminiscent of ashy minivet. — Craig Brelsford

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

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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