Species: O. sutorius
Binomial name Orthotomus sutorius
The Common Tailorbird, Orthotomus sutorius, is an Old World warbler. This tailorbird is a resident breeder in tropical south Asia from Pakistan and India to south China, and Indonesia.
Main features: Small (12cm); upperparts olive, underparts creamy buff; bill long; thighs rufous; legs long; tail long.
Male: Centre of crown rufous; sides of head and underparts white; black patches on neck.
Female: Rufous restricted to the forehead.
Call: Described as a monotonous loud chwee-o; chi-up; chee-rup repeated quickly. Also a rapid descending trill of 5 notes.
In flight: Darting low flight in the understorey thickets.
Like others in their family, Common Tailorbirds are strong singers, making melodious calls which seem much louder than seems possible for such a tiny bird. Common Tailorbirds are active and restless; usually heard rather than seen. They constantly shift their perch in the understorey thickets, and make short, quick darting flights.
Tailorbirds eat insects: both adults and larvae, actively foraging for these in the understoreys of wooded habitats. They may also snack on small fruits, berries, sip some nectar or eat tiny seeds. They are usually found in pairs.
Breeding: In Sungei Buloh, the Tailorbirds begin breeding January, reaching a peak in February and March but continue to breed until June. They are also called Long-tailed because the male’s breeding plumage features highly extended central tail feathers; up to 3cm longer!
Common Tailorbirds “sew” their nests out of green living leaves. They are particularly fond of the large leaves of the Simpoh Air tree (Dillenia suffruticosa). The nests are usually low, about 1m from the ground. For more about Tailorbirds in general and how they “sew” their nests out of leaves.
2-5 pastel eggs are laid, these are pastel blue with brown speckles. It appears only the female incubates, but both help raise the young. The young fledge in 24 days.
This passerine bird is typically found in open woodland, scrub and gardens. Tailorbirds get their name from the way their nest is constructed. The edges of a large leaf are pierced and sewn together with plant fibre or spiders web to make a cradle in which the actual grass nest is built. Common Tailorbird builds its nest in a shrub and lays 3-5 eggs.
These 13 cm long warblers are brightly coloured, with bright green upperparts and whitish underparts. The crown of the head is chestnut. It has short rounded wings, a short tail, strong legs and a long decurved bill. The tail is typically held upright, like a wren.
The sexes are identical, except that the male has long central tail feathers in the breeding season, but young birds are duller.
There are two endemic races in Sri Lanka which retain the male’s long tail feathers all year.
Like most warblers, the Common Tailorbird is insectivorous. The song is a loud cheeup-cheeup-cheeup.
I took these photos in MacRitchie Walking trail, That time It’s quite rush, Then I just spotted this bird when walking thru the Tree top walking trail.
MacRitchie: Take SBS bus 132 or TIBS bus 167 from Orchard Road.
- Morten Strange, “A Photographic Guide to Birds of Malaysia and Singapore: including Southeast Asia, the Philippines and Borneo”, Periplus, 2000 (p. 314: description, voice, habits, distribution, status, photo).
Photo Gallery: Common Tailorbird