Family Old World Flycatchers and Chats (Muscicapidae)

Least Concern

Malabar Whistling-thrush (Myophonus horsfieldii)


French: Arrenga de Malabar German: Malabarpfeifdrossel Spanish: Arrenga indio

Myophonus Horsfieldii


, 1831,

Malabar, India


Close to, and previously considered conspecific with, M. insularis. Monotypic.


Hills of peninsular India.

Descriptive notes

25–30 cm; 101–130 g. Male has matt black upper body, with metallic, rather bright royal-blue forehead-band, and glossy royal-blue scaling on back, scapulars and... read more


Song a long unpredictable series of rich, mournful, low-pitched, uncannily human-like whistles,... read more


Margins, beds and adjacent ground of rocky hill streams and rivers flowing through forest, second... read more

Food and feeding

Chiefly aquatic insects, snails and crabs. Recorded eating berries. Forages on ground, but perches readily in trees.


Feb–Aug, varying with locality. Nest a large compact pad of roots and grasses, reinforced with mud, placed usually on shelf or ledge... read more


Mainly resident. Some short-distance elevational movements related to rains, and seemingly a... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Fairly common in Western Ghats; local in Eastern Ghats. Occurs in several protected areas, e.g. Periyar National Park.

Recommended citation

Collar, N. & Bonan, A. (2020). Malabar Whistling-thrush (Myophonus horsfieldii). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 17 February 2020).