Indigo

As an illustrator, Indigo Blue is one of my favorite colors.

Coincidence or not, the Indigo Flycatcher is one of the Indonesian birds who most impressed me; it’s a real challenge to describe (and even more to paint) its real colors.

When the bird is in the dark shadow of the forest shows indigo blue plumage, but when a sun ray gets into the plumage turns into a stunning turquoise blue.

This species is endemic to the Greater Sundas. Three subspecies are recognized: Eumyias indigo cerviniventris in Borneo, Eumyias indigo ruficrissa in Sumatra and Eumyias indigo indigo in Java. All of them showing bright azure-blue forehead (becoming almost white in strong light), lores and area around eye black, upperparts deep indigo-blue, throat and breast deep blue fading to bluish-grey belly and white base of outer tail feathers. The main distinction between them is the amount of buff color in undertail-coverts, ranging from buffish-yellow in Borneo subspecies to white in Java subspecies.

On 23 of May (Pangrango NP), a couple of Indigo Flycatchers was observed and notes were taken.

One bird (nº1) was seen collecting insects (damselflies). Being in the dark undergrowth this bird showed the typical dark indigo blue. At the edge of the forest, in a tree nearby, his mate (nº2) was in a light area, showing a turquoise blue. This bird was never seen collecting insects during the observation period (±20 min).

I noticed a difference in the amount of black in the face of the two birds.

Nº1 had a small black area (chin, lores and nostrils compared with nº2, who had a much bigger amount of dark area (chin and cheeks, even showing a moustachial stripe).

When nº2 moved to a shadow area this characteristic didn’t changed, the same happen to nº1 when showed up in a sunny area.

Could it be sexual dimorphism? I assumed that nº2 was a male and nº1 a female, but it’s just an assumption…

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