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Scarlet Minivet
Male-scarlet-minivet
Male
Information
Range southern Asia from the Indian subcontinent east to southern China, Indonesia, and the Philippines.
Scientific Classification
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Aves
Order Passeriformes
Family Campephagidae
Genus Pericrocotus
Species Pericrocotus speciosus
Conservation Status
LCSpecies
Least Concern

The Scarlet minivet (Pericrocotus speciosus), is a species of minivet in the Campephagidae family. It is is found in tropical southern Asia from the Indian subcontinent east to southern China, Indonesia, and the Philippines. They are common resident breeding birds in forests and other well-wooded habitats including gardens, especially in hilly country. While the male of most subspecies are scarlet to orange with black upper parts, the females are usually yellow with greyish olive upper parts. Several former subspecies have been elevated to species status in recent works. These include the orange minivet. All subspecies have the same habits of gleaning for insects and are often seen in mixed-species foraging flocks, usually foraging in small groups, high up in the forest canopy.

Description

The scarlet minivet is 20–22 cm (7.9–8.7 in) long with a strong dark beak and long wings. The male has black upperparts and head, and scarlet underparts, tail edges, rump and wing patches. The shape and colour of the wing patches and the shade or orange in the male varies across populations. In the subspecies nigroluteus and marchesae from south Philippines the scarlet/orange is entirely replaced by yellow. The female is grey above, with yellow underparts (including the face), tail edges, rump and wing patches.

Taxonomy and Systematics

There is considerable geographic variation in this species and several disjunct populations exist. Some former races are sometimes considered full species requiring the reorganization of other former subspecies. As many as nineteen subspecies have been described:

Image
Name
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Pericrocotus speciosus speciosus

(Latham, 1790)

Along the Himalayas
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Pericrocotus speciosus fraterculus

(Swinhoe, 1870)

Found in the northeast of India and extends into Myanmar, Yunnan and Hainan.
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Pericrocotus speciosus semiruber

(Whistler & Kinnear, 1933)

Found in southern Myanmar and Thailand.
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Pericrocotus speciosus andamanensis

(Beavan, 1867)

Andaman Islands.
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Pericrocotus speciosus fohkiensis

(Buturlin, 1910)

Found in southeastern China.
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Pericrocotus speciosus flammifer

(Hume, 1875)

Found in southern Myanmar, southern Thailand and Peninsular Malaysia.
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Pericrocotus speciosus xanthogaster

(Raffles, 1822)

Found in the southern part of Peninsular Malaysia and Sumatra.

Several isolated island forms that have been described include:

Image
Name
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Pericrocotus speciosus minythomelas

(Oberholser, 1912)

An insular form described from Simeulue Island off Sumatra.
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Pericrocotus speciosus modiglianii

(Salvadori, 1892)

From Enggano Island
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Pericrocotus speciosus insulanus

(Deignan, 1946)

From Borneo.
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Pericrocotus speciosus siebersi

(Rensch, 1928)

From Java and Bali.
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Pericrocotus speciosus exul

(Wallace, 1864)

From Lombok.
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Pericrocotus speciosus novus

(McGregor, 1904)

From Luzon and Negros.
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Pericrocotus speciosus leytensis

(Raffles, 1822)

From Samar, Leyte and Bohol
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Pericrocotus speciosus gonzalesi

(Ripley & Rabor, 1961)

From N & E Mindanao
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Pericrocotus speciosus nigroluteus

(Parkes, 1981)

From south central Mindanao
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Pericrocotus speciosus johnstoniae

(Ogilvie-Grant, 1905)

From Mt. Apo in southeastern Mindanao
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Pericrocotus speciosus marchesae

(Guillemard, 1885)

From the Sulu Archipelago

Ecology and Behavior

This minivet catches insects in trees by flycatching or while perched. It flushes insects out of foliage by beating its wings hard. Scarlet minivet will form small flocks. Its song is a pleasant whistling. This bird nests high up in the treetops. The nest is a cup-like structure woven with small twigs and spiders' webs to increase the strength of the nest. Two or three spotted pale green eggs are laid. Incubation is mainly by the female, but both birds help to raise the offspring.

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