The blue whistling thrush

Writer: Isaac Cohen  |  Editor: Zhang Chanwen  |  From: Shenzhen Daily

A blue whistling thrush is seen perched on a branch in Tanglang Mountain in Nanshan District. Photos by Isaac Cohen

The blue whistling thrush

The blue whistling thrush (Myophonus caeruleus) is a stunning bird species that can be found across various regions of Asia, including in Shenzhen. This charismatic bird captivates observers with its vibrant plumage and melodious calls.


A medium-sized bird, it measures around 30 centimeters. A striking deep blue plumage covers its body from head to tail. The wings and tail feathers are slightly darker, and appear glossy. Its eyes, in a striking golden-yellow, contrast beautifully with its blue feathers. Its slender beak is well-suited for its omnivorous diet; its strong legs are good for perching and hopping.


A blue whistling thrush is seen perched on a branch in Tanglang Mountain in Nanshan District.

Known for its melodious and resonant whistling calls, the bird is often heard before seen. Its vocals, ranging from clear and musical notes to complex and rhythmic songs, not only serve as a form of communication between individuals, but add a delightful ambiance to its habitat as well. These birds are typically found near water bodies, they perch on rocks or branches to sing enchanting tunes.


A territorial species, it tends to defend its chosen area from other individuals. It is highly agile and adept at navigating through its habitat, hopping and flying between trees and rocks, where it finds its preferred meal: insects, such as beetles, ants, and grasshoppers. These birds also supplement their diet with fruits, berries, and even small reptiles or amphibians that come their way.


They typically breed from March to June. During this time, males establish territories and engage in elaborate courtship displays to attract mates. Once a pair forms, they build a cup-shaped nest using moss, grass, twigs, and other plant materials, often near water sources. The female lays a clutch of up to four eggs, which she incubates for approximately two weeks.


This bird plays a crucial role as a predator and seed disperser in the ecosystem. They help control potential pest populations and facilitate seed dispersal, promoting plant growth and diversity within their habitat.