White-crested Laughingthrush from a hide

WeißhaubenhäherlingA white-crested thrush-like bird on the ground hopps about throwing leaves. The bird is a White-crested Laughingthrush (Garrulax leucolophus) and is really throwing the leaves around in all directions . They were searching intensively for food. It was a family group of eight birds. They might remind you of other birds of the family as e.g. the Grey-crowned Babbler (Pomatostomus temporalis) from Australia. They also move around in groups of eight and bounce around among the vegetation. White-crested Laughingthrush is often found scratching for food in the leaf litter. The White-crested Laughingthrush is a member of the Leiothrichidae family. It is found in forest and scrub from the Himalayan from north and north-east India, south-east Tibet, Sumatra, Myanmar, Thailand, south-west China foothills to Indochina.

The White-crested Laughingthrush is easily recognizable by its distinctive broad whitish crest, black mask, whitish underparts, rufous-chestnut upperparts and rufous flanks and undertail-coverts. It is usually seen in flocks which produce song bursts of rapid chattering and repetitive double-note phrases. It is found in a wide range of habitats, including broadleaved evergreen, semi-evergreen and dry deciduous forest,   secondary growth and bamboo up to about 1,600 m asl.

The White-crested Laughingthrush has been absent from south Thailand down to Malaysia and Singapore. Today it is a locally common feral resident in the Bangkok area, Kuala Lumpur area as well as Singapore. The non-native species White-crested Laughingthrush is actually an introduced species and is now firmly established in various parts of Singapore.

Unfortunately the White-crested Laughingthrush is relatively aggressive which might have contributed to its invasive spread in Singapore. The White-crested Laughingthrush is believed to have occupied ecological niches vacated by native babblers. An example is the Abbott’s Babbler (Malacocincla abbotti), which was formerly quite common but now seems in heavy decline. Actually it has disappeared from Bukit Batok Nature Park. The decline is thought to be due to direct competition with the White-crested Laughingthrush coupled with forest degradation and fragmentation isolating unsustainable non-viable populations.

A study chronicled their spread over the past two decades and verified their persistence in various areas of Singapore. The highest White-crested Laughingthrush count was in a hilly secondary forest at Kent Ridge Park followed by Bukit Batok Nature Park and in Bukit Batok West & Brickland Road in pockets of secondary forest interspersed with grassland. During a week of birding in Singapore you might therefore encounter White-crested Laughingthrush quite often. Birding in the Southern Ridges can be very rewarding. A trail down from the main path in Kent Park leads to a shelter where you can discover other several bird species including the White-crested Laughingthrush. If you are heading to Singapore in search of White-crested Laughingthrush it appears that Kent Ridge Park is one of the more reliable places to go looking for them.

To cope with the growing demand for top shots of the rarer species of the Palearctic Bird-Lens is keen to enrich the range of pictures of birds you can find in the western palearctic. But trips to remote places to capture images not only of rare birds of western palearctic were very successful, too. The nice image of the blog is only a first impression, what you will find in the gallery in the “Picture Shop”  very soon. Just give bird-lens.com a message, if bird-lens.com could serve you with an image needed before the new pictures are online.

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