Blue Rock-Thrush

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Common Name: Blue Rock-thrush
Scientific Name: Monticola solitarius

Size: 8 ¼ - 9 inches (21-23 cm)

Habitat: Eurasia and Africa; breeds in southern Europe and northwest Africa, and from central Asia to northern China and Malaysia. The European, North African and southeast Asian birds are mainly resident, apart from altitudinal movements. Other Asian populations are more migratory, wintering in sub-Saharan Africa, India and Southeast Asia. This bird is a very uncommon visitor to northern and western Europe. Found usually in open mountainous areas

Status: Least Concern. Global Population: 500,000 - 3,000,000.

Diet: Inserts and berries.

Nesting: The summer male is unmistakable, with all blue-grey plumage apart from its darker wings. Females and immatures are much less striking, with dark brown upperparts, and paler brown scaly underparts. Both sexes lack the reddish outer tail feathers of Rock Thrush.

Cool Facts: The Blue Rock Thrush is Malta's national bird and is shown on the Lm 1 coins that was part of the previous currency of the country.

Myths, Stories & Legend: The European "bluebird" is probably a reference to the Blue Rock-Thrush (Monticola solitarius), a chat (thrush-like Old World flycatcher) which occurs from the Mediterranean region eastwards. Its adult male is the only European passerine bird with all-blue plumage. In general, there are very few small birds in the western Palaearctic that have any conspicuous amount of blue in their plumage. The widespread Bluethroat (Luscinia svecica) and the Azure Tit (Cyanistes cyanus) from Russia and adjacent regions are notable exceptions.

Bluebird mythology in Europe is noted in a fairy tale called L'Oiseau Bleu (The Blue Bird) by Madame d'Aulnoy (1650–1705). This seems to be the root source of most modern accounts of bluebird symbolism and myth. In this tale, King Charming is transformed into a bluebird, who is the love interest of the younger princess Fiordelisa and aids her through her trials.

The Blue Bird was made into a 1908 stage play by Maurice Maeterlinck and into several films throughout the 20th century, including the 1940 original starring Shirley Temple, Gale Sondergaard, Spring Byington and Nigel Bruce. The story begins with two child heroes, Tyltyl and Mytyl, whom are sent out by the fairy Bérylune (Jessie Ralph) into various lands to search for the Bluebird of Happiness. Returning home empty-handed, the children see that the bird has been in a cage in their home the whole time. When Tyltyl gives the bird as a present to a sick neighbor, the bird flies away. But the moral is that the search for happiness is ongoing, and it is to be found within oneself.

In Russian fairy tales, the bluebird is a traditional symbol of hope. In more recent times, Anton Denikin characterized the Ice March of the defeated Volunteer Army in the Russian Civil War as follows:

"We went from the dark night of spiritual slavery to unknown wandering-in search of the bluebird."

Found in Songbird ReMix Birds of Legend

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