The green cochoa (Cochoa viridis): The sparkling gem of the forest. The color blends with the green of the tree but is easily recognized by its characteristic whistle.TS

Encountering the Elusive Green Cochoa: A Jewel of the Hill Forests

In the depths of vast hill forests, shrouded in mystery and adorned with exquisite colors, resides the Green Cochoa (Cochoa viridis). This rare and enigmatic bird, once classified alongside thrushes or Old World flycatchers, is now considered closer kin to the thrush family. Endemic to the Himalayan region, the Green Cochoa is a marvel of nature’s palette.

Description: The Green Cochoa presents itself as a vision of mossy green splendor. Males sport a regal blue crown, complemented by striking blue wings and a tail adorned with a bold black band. In contrast, females exhibit a more subdued greenish body, occasionally adorned with rusty spots on the wing coverts. Notably, the females’ secondaries and tertiaries feature yellowish-brown bases on the outer webs, with delicate blue edging, setting them apart from their male counterparts. Some individuals may even boast a white collar on the sides of their neck, adding to their mystique. First-year birds carry dark shaft streaks on their body feathers, adding a touch of intrigue to their appearance.

Distribution and Habitat: The Green Cochoa’s habitat spans across Cambodia, China, India, Laos, Myanmar, Nepal, Thailand, Vietnam, and potentially Bhutan. It finds solace in subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests and subtropical or tropical moist montane forests. The intricacies of their seasonal movements remain a puzzle, with their winter presence in India still uncertain, as they primarily grace the region during the summer. Records suggest sightings primarily east of northwest Bengal, with the westernmost sighting occurring in Uttaranchal (Nainital) and no recent observations in Nepal.

Behavior and Ecology: Green Cochoas are often observed in pairs or small groups, perched majestically in tall trees. Their feeding habits bring them closer to the ground, where they feast on a diet of mollusks, insects, and succulent berries. Occasionally, they engage in breathtaking aerial sallies to capture elusive insects.

Breeding season unfolds in the summer, and their nests bear a striking resemblance to those of their purple cochoa relatives, often situated near water sources. Parental responsibilities are shared, with both males and females taking turns incubating their precious eggs. Their melodic song is a thin, clear “feeeee” that seems to vanish into the forest’s depths, while their calls include a short, high-pitched “pok” and the occasional harsh notes. Their eggs, glossy and ellipsoidal, are densely speckled, a testament to their uniqueness.

In conclusion, the Green Cochoa stands as a symbol of nature’s hidden treasures, dwelling in the secluded realms of hill forests. Its elusive nature, combined with its vibrant plumage and mysterious habits, makes it a true jewel of the Himalayas. Encounters with this rare avian marvel are a testament to the beauty and wonder that continue to thrive within the world’s most remote and pristine landscapes.


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