Sneaking around in the dark, dank corners of the forest floor at the edges of the Himalayas is this bizarre entry on the thrush family list. Local and patchy along the great mountain chain, from India, and Nepal, through parts of Bhutan and Bangladesh, down into Myanmar, and Vietnam, it is a tough bird to see. Retiring in nature, it doesn’t make much of a fuss, usually feeding quietly along secluded streams or amid canopy-covered leaf litter, and it sings only briefly each day, in near-dark conditions at dusk and dawn.
Its secretive habits together with its glorious ‘schnoz’ make the Long-billed Thrush among the most sought-after in the family, and to see it, a combination of luck and skill are required. Rotund overall, with a short tail, strong legs, and shadow gray plumage, this denizen of dark woodlands is mostly a terrestrial bird. While occasionally it will betray its presence with an alarm call, mostly it draws little attention; unless you happen to spy it using its signature tool, then you are in for a treat.
Imagine if it was a gardener, all the troweling this thing might accomplish in a day with a bill like that. In fact, it is in the genus Zoothera, which translates roughly to “animal-hunter”, and animals, albeit very small ones, are exactly what the Long-billed Thrush is after. Worms and other invertebrates are on the menu, and this bird is often found when its motions give it away, as it digs into the ground or tosses leaves with its spectacular bill.
Strange and wonderful as it is, the Long-billed Thrush often features merely as one rich accent among many during our birding trips in northern India, where the highlights are so many it can be tough to assign a favorite. From the Taj Mahal to the wonderful cuisine, decadent colors and rich history to the most magnificent cat in the world, not to mention the sundry eye-candy birds, India is a pure treasure trove for nature travelers.
Join us today on one of these tours, and we will walk with the thrushes and marvel at all that is India.
India – Highlights of Northern India
Dec 02 – 17, 2019 (16 days)
Price: USD5,250 *GBP4,054 *EUR4,694
India – Northern: Birds & Tigers
Dec 02 – 19, 2019 (18 days)
Price: USD6,350 *GBP4,895 *EUR5,667