Paradise flycatcher, an adorable passerine bird ranked under the least concern category by IUCN is found across Asian and African continents. By nomenclature, they are also known as Ribbon birds or Rocket birds. They communicate using sharp skreek calls and hops around the branches. Settling peacefully on the branches these passerines lookout for prey rather than skimming compared to other flycatchers.
These migratory birds, scientifically named as Terpsiphone paradise appears in two different plumages in the wild, reddish-brown and white with a jet black textured head having blue rings around the eyes. The underpart of the bird normally appears as a grey plumage in nature. In rare case scenarios, Paradise flycatchers with blue plumage have been reported. They prey on live winged arthropods and its size ranges from 7.5 to 8.5 inches with a wingspan of 3.4 – 3.6 inches. Bamboo forests are the favorite environment preferred by these birds as the hunting and nesting ground.
Male birds have two elongated tail feathers compared to females, it is owing to these mesmerizing elongated tail feathers they are termed as paradise birds. The tail feather size of the males ranges from 12 – 14 inches, which is three times its body size. The combination of black and white is rarely found when compared to the reddish-brown ones. Male birds take up to two years to reach adulthood. During the early stages, male and female appears to be almost same and hard to distinguish.
Some males during the adult transitional phase have an ability to change its plumage from reddish-brown to white. In some, this color change marks the beginning of its pairing or mating phase. It is during the third year the color change initiates among the Paradise birds. For the complete transition to shiny white, it takes a year. By the completion of the fourth year, the transition will be completed. Once the transition is completed the bird maintains the same color throughout its remaining life cycle. These birds have an affinity towards the water bodies when it comes to nesting owing to increased arthropod presence. They land on the ground rarely to have water or to catch insects. Their presence has been reported in India, China, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Turkestan, and Afghanistan.
The nesting phase extends throughout the summer season ranging from May to July. Nests are built of twigs and spider webs and have a habit of building it in the vicinity of breeding Drongos to keep out predators. Female birds have a predominant role in the nesting phase as she spends majority of the time within the nest to lay eggs.
Two eggs are laid on the first day, within the next two to three days another one or two eggs are laid to complete the clutch of three or four. The eggs appear in a pale pink color with reddish-brown marks all around. Both males and females take turns in incubating the eggs day and night for a period of 16 days. The nestling period lasts for a duration of 9-12 days. Once the eggs hatch both parents are involved in successive feeding of the chicks. For more information on Paradise flycatcher please do visit this link.