Pied Bush Chat
A ‘Passerine’ by ornithological classification, the Pied Bush Chats are small little birds found in abundance around the Southern sub-continent. A Passerine, in ornithological parlance, is a Song Bird, which is basically a Perching species. These birds have the best control of their syrinx muscles among birds, producing a wide range of songs and other vocalizations.
The males are black with white shoulders and vent patches whose extent varies among populations. Females are predominantly brownish while juveniles are speckled.
Another unique feature of Passerines is their feet. The foot of a passerine has three toes directed forward and one toe directed backwards. Their leg muscles are specially adapted to hold on to perches in a vice like grip, and tighten around their perches in an involuntary motion, at the slightest sign of imbalance of the perch. This helps the bird to fall asleep in a perched position – a rarity amongst birds.
Passerines also make use of that backwards facing toe in another fashion. During fights for territory, sometimes they end up wrestling and use their feet to grab onto the other bird and even hold their beaks shut! Probably, the only reason eagles and falcons aren’t considered passerines are because they don’t sing.
Males sing aloud during the mating season and build nests in holes found in rocks, caves or trees. Large colonies of these birds can be found in the fields, bordering jungles in the country.