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Himalayan bluetail (Male) : Tarsiger rufilatus

Himalayan bluetail (Male)
Tarsiger rufilatus
Himalayan bluetail: Tarsiger rufilatus
Gender: Male
IUCN Status: Not Evaluated (NE)
Sighted at: 3200 m ASL approx., between Chopta and Tungnath.
On the way down in my quest for high altitude species of birds from the heights of Chandrashila-Tungnath trek, a further kilometre down the twisting trail towards Chopta, where thickets of Rhododendron begin at the uncertain fringes of the retreating snow-line, I heard this cheep-cheep through my own panting. Dinesh Negi, the mountain lad guiding me through the area, had evidently heard it before I did for he was off in a flash towards the nearest thicket. His frantic hand-waving signalling me to hurry towards meant he had spotted a bird. I heaved myself for a sprint down the track. It was worth the effort. There he was, a beautiful male Himalayan bluetail – sitting among the understory of a rhodenderon bush.
The upperparts and breast sides were glistening blue. The tail was also blue. The flanks were tufts of flaming orange. The throat and chest were white. He stood upright and was about 12 centimetres in size.
This bird, in summers, is usually found upwards of 3000m ASL upto 4500m or so. In winters, the bird comes down to about 1500-2500m.
I couldn’t spot the female. But if I did, it might have sported olive colour instead of the blue of the male, rest being similar to male.
Insectivorous in nature...if you look closely, this gent has a bug clamped in his beak.
Himalayan bluetail has been accorded status of a separate species recently. Earlier, it was clubbed with T.cyanurus as a subspecies. Whereas T.cyranus is a long-distance migrant, Himalayan bluetail is not. Further, T.cyranus lacks the sheen in blue which Himalayan bluetail has and a less distinct white supercilium.
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Muscicapidae
Genus: Tarsiger
Species: rufilatus
The IUCN status of this species has not been evaluated yet.

Photographed at Tungnath mountainside at an altitude of about 3200m ASL approx., Uttarakhand, India, on 1st May, 2015, using a Nikon D7200 camera and Tamron 150-600 mm lens.

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