The case for splitting the form melanorhynchus (Sulawesi and adjacent islands) from E. scolopaceus was made in the 1980s#R, the diagnostic characters being repeated in 2012#R without triggering species status. However, two further points of distinction in all NHMUK specimens of melanorhynchus vs scolopaceus (and its representatives through to the Philippines and Greater Sundas) are that (1) tailbars of female melanorhynchus are denser and more evenly spaced, and number of dark bars on central rectrices is 17 vs 14, and (2) females have orange-buffy underparts with narrow black bars (with or without black smudges from chin to breast) vs underparts buffy white with coarse black streaking and spotting on chin to upper breast and denser, coarser and less organized black barring from lower breast to belly. The situation E of Sulawesi, however, is less clear-cut: all taxa E of Sulawesi also have glossy blue-violet plumage in male, a black bill in one or other sex, underparts with widely spaced narrow black bars on orange-buffy underparts, and tail-barring of female denser and more even (several counts of 17 on different specimens); moreover, these taxa all seem different in choice of host (being less tied—if at all so—to corvids). Thus, the distinction between Sulawesi birds and birds from Moluccas and Lesser Sundas E to Pacific is far from clear, so that here all taxa from Sulawesi E are separated from E. scolopaceus as one species, E. orientalis, on basis of latter’s violet-blue vs violet-green plumage in male (ns); lightly dark-barred orange-buff underparts vs coarsely streaked, spotted and barred buffy-white underparts in female (3); more densely, evenly and numerously barred tail in female (possibly in part a function of tail length; 2); black bill in one or both sexes (2); apparently differently inflected songs (melanorhynchus, however, seemingly different from other taxa grouped under orientalis) (score perhaps 1). Race facialis often synonymized with melanorhynchus. Proposed race everettii synonymized with picatus. Twelve subspecies recognized.
Food and feeding
Status and conservation
Only subscribers are able to see the bibliography. Login or Subscribe to get access to a lot of extra features!