I invite you to take a brief tour through images of this bird from the crow family.This guy is present virtually all over India.I have handpicked images which captures the key features of the bird. By seeing these photos, and reading the tips below, you can get familiar with this bird pretty quickly. However,I encourage you to make your own mental notes of features you find unique and striking.
Photo Courtesy of Arun Prabhu @ Sariska, Rajasthan, Oct 2010
Here is a treepie, displaying the long tail. Both male and female look alike.Note the overall brownish yellow or rather ochre color of the body and the coffee brown head. The white bar on the wing is very conspicuous.It has melodious calls as well as some harsh cries which is available at the index page.It is one of the familiar sounds of the towns and villages of India.
This bird is a member of the corvidae i.e. crow family.Next time you see the bird, note how similar its head and beak is to that of a crow.Here is a close-up shot where you might mistake the treepie for a colorful crow!
Photo Courtesy of Jon Connell @ Ranthambore,Rajashtan Apr 2010
They are omnivorous i.e. they feed on both plant and animal matter.They feed on fruits of papaya, banyan tree,lizards,frogs etc. They pick out insects from wild deer just like how crows ride on cattle and feed on insects from their back.They have been considered to be beneficial to palm cultivation in southern India due to their foraging on the grubs of the a destructive weevil.Here is one relishing ripe papaya.
Photo Courtesy of Appu @ Kottayam,Keralal, Oct 2007
The nesting season can be anywhere from February till July but majority of nests are found from April till June. The nest is a crow-like nest i.e. a shallow platform of twigs well concealed in the trees.
1.Rufous treepie page @ Wikipedia
2.The Book of Indian Birds By Salim Ali,Published by The Bombay Natural History Society,1941
3.Popular Handbook of Indian Birds By Whistler,Hugh.,1949