Paradise Flycatcher


A couple of days ago, I was sitting in the Back Verandah, sipping tea, when I spotted the male Paradise Flycatcher (Terpsiphone paradisi) near the upper tank. I was able to watch it through binoculars and was treated to a spectacular display of flying, diving, swooshing… Alas, when I tried to get close enough to take a photograph, it disappeared. This was the White male.

Over the last two weeks, all of us have seen at very close quarters and on many occasions, a rufous Paradise Flycatcher. This bird has long tail streamers. So it must be the rufous morph male. Luckily Badri Baba has managed a photograph.We have also seen the female (rufous, no tail feathers), but never both together.

The literature concerning these birds is quite confusing when one takes a closer look.
According to Salim Ali, the adult male [is] silvery white with metallic black crested head and two long narrow ribbon-like feathers in tail. Young male and female chestnut above, greyish white below. Young male has chestnut streamers in tail, female is without. In the Sri Lankan race, ceylonensis, the adult male never acquires the white plumage.
There is no mention of morphs.

In a National Geographic sponsored study in Madagascar, the goal is to discover why dichromatism evolved in male Madagascar Paradise Flycatchers (T mutata). Adult male Madagascar Flycatchers come in two distinct colour morphs; an extremely rare phenomenon in birds. One is the white morph, the other the rufous.
There is no mention of morphs occurring elsewhere in the world.

Grimmett, Inskipp and Inskipp have pictures of White male, Rufous male and (rufous) female, without any mention of morphs, their rarity etc.

Looking at the Wikipedia entry, I will leave as an exercise for the reader.
Information, since it is so easy to come by, is difficult to distill.

Any birders out there who want to come here and do a study?


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