Malabar Whistling Thrush
The Malabar Whistling Thrush (Myophonus horsfieldii) is a whistling thrush in the thrush family Turdidae. They are also known locally by the name of Whistling Schoolboy for the whistling calls that they make at dawn that have a very human quality. The species is a resident in the Western Ghats and associated hills of peninsular India including central India and parts of the Eastern Ghats.
This large thrush appears blackish with shiny patches of blue on the forehead and shoulders. The blue becomes visible only in oblique lighting. The bill and legs are black. The sexes are indistinguishable and juveniles are more brownish and lack the blue forehead.
It is omnivorous, eating a wide range of insects, crabs, frogs, earthworms and berries. They are usually seen singly or in pairs.
This is a very shy species but is often found close to human habitation. The male sings its varied and melodious whistling song from trees during summer. They may song for long early at dawn but at other times of the day they often utter sharp single or two note whistles. They were once popular as cage birds, with the ability to learn entire tunes. They bathe frequently in water usually in the mornings and evenings but at midday during hot weather.