Malabar Whistling Thrush

Conservation status

Least Concern

Population Trend


Alternate Names


Native Habitat

Dense Forests


Insects, Crabs, Frogs, Earthworms, Berries


Malabar Whistling Thrush

Myophonus horsfieldii

The Malabar Whistling Thrush is a whistling thrush in the thrush family. The species is a resident in the Western Ghats and associated hills of peninsular India including central India and parts of the Eastern Ghats.

This large thrush appears blackish with shiny patches of blue on the forehead and shoulders. The blue becomes visible only in oblique lighting. The bill and legs are black. The male and female are indistinguishable and juveniles are more brownish and lack the blue forehead.

The species is found all along the Western Ghats south of the Surat Dangs. They are also found along the Satpura range to northwestern Orissa. Also locally in the Eastern Ghats. Populations are not migratory but have been known to disperse widely in winter.

Malabar Whisting Thrushes are usually found in dark undergrowth and dense riverine forest. It is omnivorous, eating a wide range of insects, crabs, frogs, earthworms and berries. They are usually seen singly or in pairs.

The male sings its varied and melodious whistling song from trees during summer. They may song for long early at dawn but at other times of the day they often utter sharp single or two note whistles. They were once popular as cage birds, with the ability to learn entire tunes. They bathe frequently in water usually in the mornings and evenings but at midday during hot weather.

Regional Names
  • Gujarati:
    ઇન્દ્રરાજ, કસ્તુરો
  • Kannada:
    ಗೋಪೀ ಹಕ್ಕಿ
  • Malayalam:
  • Marathi:
    पर्वत कस्तुर, शिळकरी कस्तुर
  • Tamil:
    சீகார்ப் பூங்குருவி
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Myophonus horsfieldii

Quick Facts
  • They make human quality whistling calls at dawn.