Malayan Whistling Thrush: 5. The chicks have fledged

posted in: Feeding chicks, Nesting | 3

The two chicks of the Malayan Whistling Thrush (Myophonus robinsoni) finally fledged on the early morning of 1st April 2008.

At 0701 hours, an adult thrush approached the nest, landing on the wooden beam. The two chick were highly excited, chirping and flapping their wings, their bills agape. As the adult walked nearer to the nest, the chicks responded by moving towards it, in a “flying” sort of way (below, left to right).


The adult seemed to offer the food to one of the chicks but apparently not delivering. Did the adult swallow the food? And at that split moment the adult flew off downwards to be followed immediately by the two chicks (above, left to right). It was too fast for the video to catch the flight.

After so many days of trying every now and then to entice the chicks to leave the nest, the actual moment of fledging seemed an anticlimax.


The nest remained empty for a few minutes before an adult appeared with food. This adult could possibly be the mate of the earlier bird, as it was obviously unaware of what had happened. It perched on the beam, looked around, then entered the nest before flying off with the food (above).


There was a subsequent appearance of an adult at the nest, this time without any food in its bill. It perched on the beam supporting the nest, entered the nest to examine it and returned to the beam. In all, it remained for more than 20 minutes, preening and stretching its wings before flying off (above).

The nest was empty throughout the day and has remained empty since.

PS: Allan Teo’s people at Cameron Highlands informed that when the two chicks left the nest in the morning, they landed on the ground below, hopping about. Apparently they had still to master flight. The two adults were around to keep an eye on them and, no doubt, encourage them to fly. Should the nest be in the forest, their first flight would have landed them on some branch or other lower down. Unfortunately in the warehouse, there are no structures where they could land and so ended on the ground. To keep the fledglings safe from the many wandering dogs, they were put in a box and left outside the warehouse. The adults kept on feeding them until they flew off soon after.

On 4th April, three days after fledging, the two juveniles were flying around, still dependent on the adults for food.

You can view the video of the fledgling moment downloaded by Allan HERE.

For earlier entries, please see “Related Posts” below.

The series has now been published as: Teo, Allan & Y. C. Wee, 2009. Observations at a nest of Malayan Whistling Thrush Myophonus robinsoni in the Cameron Highlands, Malaysia. BirdingASIA 11: 95-97.

Allan Teo & YC Wee
April 2008

YC would like to thank Allan for giving him access to the video recordings of the nesting; Allan gratefully acknowledges the family of Shum Yip Leong for permission to install the video camera within their premise and for generously contributing to substantial bandwidth support.

3 Responses

  1. David Wells

    Really exciting stuff. I have one question and one comment. Different sequences of the nest show two and three chicks; was one lost or are these different broods? The comment concerns on-going uncertainty over whether just one or both whistling thrush species occur at Camerons. What criteria were used for identification? Measurement of features of perches being used around the nest would be an extra, independent way of judging body size. Any chance of this being done? I stress the importance of ID issues at Camerons being solved, for conservation reasons and also to gauge the reliability of past published descriptions of nesting (see refs in Wells 2007). All the best — David

  2. BESG

    I can only answer the question and leave the comment, hopefully to later, if I can get someone to do so. My involvement was monitoring the video from my computer screen in Singapore.

    There was only one nest and one brood. There were only two chicks from the beginning of monitoring. The extra bird in the nest, seen in images in an earlier post (part 4) was the adult that joined the chicks immediately after feeding. If there was another bird on the perch with three birds in the nest, the perching bird was the other adult. YC

  3. allan

    Measurements are too dangerous to take because
    the beam is very high and there are
    no long ladders. A carpenter
    looked at it and said it was
    2inch by 2 inch..


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