Rufous treepie

Dendrocitta vagabunda subfamily

Corvinae taxonomy

Dendrocitta vagabunda Latham, 1790, India. Nine subspecies. other common names

English: Indian treepie; French: Temia vagabonde; German: Wanderelster; Spanish: Urraca vagabunda.

physical characteristics

17.94-19.5 in (46-50 cm); 3.15-4.55 oz (90-130 g). Upper-parts are rusty-orange; underparts are paler and buffy. Head, neck, breast, and upper mantle are blackish. Wing coverts and tertials are pale, silvery gray; the rest of the wing is brownish black. Central tail feathers are pale gray ending in a wide, black terminal band; outer tail feathers have more black. Bill is dark gray or blackish; legs and feet are brownish black.


Widely distributed through Pakistan, India, Burma, and western Thailand. Patchier in Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam.


Light woodland, open fields with trees, villages, towns, and cities.


Moves in pairs or family parties, uttering loud calls. Largely arboreal, most often seen flying between trees, or perching high in canopy.

feeding ecology and diet

Very wide diet, including invertebrates, small birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians, nuts, berries, carrion.

reproductive biology

Solitary nester usually on lone tree. Generally lays four to five eggs February through May in stick nest. Incubation and fledging periods unknown.

conservation status

Not threatened. Very common in western part of range, common elsewhere.

significance to humans None known. ♦

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