Tuesday 18 June
Rufous-tailed rock-thrush (Monticola saxatilis)
Rufous-tailed rock-thrush fact file
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Rufous-tailed rock-thrush description
The rufous-tailed rock-thrush (Monticola saxitilis) is most easily identified by its characteristic rusty or reddish-brown tail feathers, for which it is named. The male is unmistakeable in summer, with a striking blue-grey head, leading into dark brown wings and a white back, which contrast with a prominent orange breast. The female rufous-tailed rock-thrush is very different to the male, with a pale brown breast and underparts, a darker head, dark brown wings, and attractive reddish outer tail feathers. The juvenile has a very similar colouration to the female, but with noticeably lighter brown wings (3).
Although generally a shy and quiet species, the rufous-tailed rock-thrush may be heard making a short, squeaky whistle, but can also produce an enchanting soft and melodic song (4).
- Also known as
- European rock thrush, rock thrush.
- Merle de roche. Top
BirdLife International - Rufous-tailed rock-thrush:
- The act of incubating eggs, that is, keeping them warm so that development is possible.
- Feeding on both plants and animals.
IUCN Red List (November, 2010)
- Snow, D.W. and Perrins, C.M. (1994) The Birds of the Western Palearctic. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
- Clement, P. and Hathaway, R. (2000) Thrushes. Helm Identification Guides, A & C Black Publishers, London.
Birds In Bulgaria - Rufous-tailed rock-thrush (November, 2010)
Birdlife International (July, 2011)
British Trust for Ornithology - Rock thrush (November, 2010)
- del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A. and Christie, D. (2006) Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 11: Old World Flycatchers to Old World Warblers. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.
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Rufous-tailed rock-thrush biology
The rufous-tailed rock-thrush is an omnivorous bird that spends much of its time flitting over light vegetation in search of food, eventually resting on a perch from which it will hunt. Its diet consists of a wide range of insects, berries and small reptiles, the latter being a rare but nutritious meal. The rufous-tailed rock-thrush usually takes its prey from stems or leaves and then returns to its perch, where it will re-examine the area again before taking another prey item (3) (6) (7).
Small rock cavities are the favoured nesting locations for the rufous-tailed rock-thrush. Sites like these are in ample supply on the rocky mountainside, and so competition for nesting sites is low (3). The female will lay 4 to 5 eggs in a clutch, and the eggs hatch after an incubation period of 12 to 15 days. The hatchlings remain in the nest for another 15 to 18 days before fledging. The young are then dependent on the adults for another 14 days, during which time they are taught the foraging and hunting skills needed to survive (7).Top
Rufous-tailed rock-thrush rangeTop
Rufous-tailed rock-thrush habitat
Normally found breeding on steep and rocky mountain slopes or higher alpine meadows, the rufous-tailed rock-thrush prefers areas over elevations of 1,500 metres with open hills and light vegetation. However, it will occasionally breed on lower slopes, where there may be a reduced amount of foraging competition (3) (7).Top
Rufous-tailed rock-thrush status
The rufous-tailed rock-thrush is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List (1).Top
Rufous-tailed rock-thrush threats
The rufous-tailed rock-thrush is not currently considered threatened (5).Top
Rufous-tailed rock-thrush conservation
There are no known specific conservation measures currently in place for the rufous-tailed rock-thrush (5).Top
Find out more
Find out more about the rufous-tailed rock-thrush and its conservation:
This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact:
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