Sunday, 3 February 2013

Common Tailorbird


order : Passeriformes      Genus & Species : Sylviidae     Family : Orthotomus sutorius

The tailorbird owes its name to the female’s extraordinary sewing skills. Using her bill as a needle, she stitches one or more leaves into a pouch to form the basis of the nest. Brown and olive-green plumage conceals the common tailorbird as it hunts tirelessly in undergrowth for food. They found across southern China, southeastern Asia, the Malay Peninsula and Java; also throughout the Indian subcontinent, including Sri Lanka. 

Habitat : The common or long-tailed tailorbird is a familiar sight throughout its extensive range. It even thrives in urban gardens and parks, where it hunts and skulks in hedges, flowerbeds and tangled shrubbery. The common tailorbird is adaptable, taking advantage of any dense vegetation, including forest clearings. It is also found in semidesert scrublands and in clumps of bamboo woodland. 
Food & Feeding :  Tailorbird feeds on insects and other small invertebrates that abound in its tropical habitat. To creep in the undergrowth, it uses its bill and eat beetles, bugs, caterpillars and spiders from leaves, stems and branches. The bird is also able to reach deep into flowerheads and drink the sugary nectar. Swarms of flying termites provide food for many birds, and are particularly abundant in the rainy season. The tailorbird, being a less adept flier, must wait until the creatures land and shed their wings before gorging itself. 
Behavior : The common tailorbird hops actively among bushes, hedges and trees in its  search for tiny insects, its tail cocked high above its back and wagging from side to side. The bird’s weak, erratic flight makes it an easy target for flying predators.Therefore, it flits swiftly from one patch of undergrowth to another, avoiding open areas. However, where the tailorbird inhabits areas near human settlements, it is surprisingly tame. A tailorbird pair forms a long-term bond and lives within a static territory all year. The birds remain in constant contact with each other, uttering a surprisingly loud, monotonous call: chee-up, chee-up.When danger threatens, the pair makes noisy alarm calls of pit-pit-pit until the danger has passed. 
Breeding : The tropical undergrowth where the tailorbird lives teems with nest robbers, such as snakes, lizards, mongooses and various predatory birds. Pairs usually breed between February and May. After mating, the female begins the arduous work of nest-building. It takes her up to two days to stitch the pouch together, while the male defends the pair’s territory from other tailorbirds. Once the pouch is complete, the male helps her construct the nest from grasses, and then line it with cotton, feathers and animal hairs. 

Bill : Long, slim and slightly curved, the bill is a useful tool for grasping insects. It is also strong and sharp enough for the female to pierce the toughest leaves and then sew them together. 
Wings : Short, rounded wings enable the bird to fly through tiny gaps in thick undergrowth. 
Feet : Three forward-pointing toes and a single hindtoe give the bird a firm grip as it perches. 
Tail : During the breeding season the male’s tail is nearly 2" longer than that of the female. Both sexes molt after nesting, and the male loses his extended feathers. 

Weight : 0.4 oz. 
Length : 5-7"
Wingspan : 5-5.5"
Sexual Maturity : 1 years
Breeding Season : All year 

The common tailorbird often steals fibers from house doormats, which it then uses to stitch up its nest pouch.