Blue-crowned laughingthrush (Garrulax courtoisi)

Blue-crowned laughingthrush

In the large walkthrough aviary at Fur, Feathers and Scales.

Fast facts

Status Critically Endangered

Size 24-25cm

Weight 50g

Gestation 14 days

Young 3-5

What do I eat?

Blue-crowned laughingthrushes will look for food (forage) together in groups of up to around 40 birds, and will search for things to eat on the ground, in bushes and up in trees. These birds will feed on a variety of fruits, seeds and invertebrates (such as insects).

Where do I live?

The blue-crowned laughingthrush is only found (endemic) in China, and have a very small breeding range in the Jiangxi Province.

These birds prefer habitats such as forests in lowlands and hills that are close to rivers and streams. They have even been seen nesting in trees and shrubs that are close to villages within woodland which includes camphor and maple trees (known as fung shui wood).

Breeding

Blue-crowned laughingthrushes are social birds and can live in family groups, where young birds may help their parents to feed and raise the latest chicks.

In the wild the breeding season for these birds is from April to July. An open cup-shaped nest is made of twigs and grasses, and it is lined with dry grasses. These nests are made in trees at heights of around 4 to 15 metres, and the female will lay 3-5 eggs inside the nest. Chicks hatch around May and early June after an incubation period of around 14 days.

The chicks are cared for and fed by both parents, and in some cases chicks have even been seen being fed by other adults. The young chicks leave the nest (fledge) after about 16 days, and the parents can go on to have a second brood of chicks.

Predators

Some birds such as the Red-billed Blue Magpie are thought to target young chicks, as they have been seen close to nest sites and even being chased away by blue-crowned laughingthrushes.

Conservation

One of the major threats to these small birds is trapping to be sold illegally within the bird trade. People that have caught these birds had reported that they would move to new areas, once they had wiped out local populations of blue-crowned laughingthrushes. Other threats that these birds face include loss of habitat due to new roads and increasing human developments, logging and loss of genetic diversity.

There are many conservation programmes in place to protect the blue-crowned laughingthrush, yet this species is not legally protected against building developments. Further research of the blue-crowned laughingthrush is taking place, and several small protected areas have been established by local governments. Education and awareness programmes have also been put in place so that local schools can be taught about the plight of these birds.

The blue-crowned laughingthrush is also found in many zoos worldwide and are linked with captive breeding programs which aim to protect the species in captivity.

Did you know?

The wild population of the blue-crowned laughingthrush is thought to be around 200-250 individuals.

The blue-crowned laughingthrush got its name from the blue feathers on the top of its head.

The areas that blue-crowned laughingthrushes are found during their breeding season (April to July) are well known. However, where these birds spend the rest of the year is still unclear.

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