Most of the garden birds with which we are familiar, come into this grouping.
Magpie Robins and Shamas may be compared with our own Blackbirds, thrushes and Robin, not only because of their songs, but because they are 'forest edge' birds and thus do well in public parks and private gardens.
Fairy Bluebirds by contrast are canopy feeding 'frugivores' - meaning they forage for ripe fruits amidst the forest tree tops of much of southeast Asia.
The flock of Java Sparrows, or Rice Birds remind us that once common birds, like our own House Sparrow, can very quickly become scarce. Java Sparrows have been thought of as a pest species in their native islands, persecuted and exported for pets and are now a threatened bird. There are probably more feral populations ot these sparrows living in other countries than there are on Java. All of these are aviary bred and came to us from Chester Zoo.
Two species, the White-crested and Black-throated Jay Thrush are to be seen and perhaps heard in the Forest House. Their strident, chattering calls are used to keep contact with the rest of the flock travelling through the Rhodedendron understory of Himalayan foothill forests. They scramble amongst the leaf litter looking for insects and fallen fruits.
Hill Mynahs are a large kind of starling. In the recent past many were exported to become popular, if messy, cage birds appealing because they can be taught to mimic the human voice. Large numbers were once collected in Sumatra, India and Myanmar (Burma) to provide amusement in Asian coffee shops - and elsewhere including Europe.
Bali Starlings or Rothschild's Mynahs were confined to the island of Bali in Indonesia. Numbers had declined due to agricultural land development and formerly being taken for the bird trade. Despite a zoo breeding programme resulting in the return of birds to Bali, they have just been declared extinct as wild birds.
Fig trees need hornbills – like hornbills need figs! Hornbill's are largely fruit eaters and disperse the seeds of figs passing through them. When the opportunity they also take small mammals and reptiles.
Hornbills are notable for the large honey-combed, light weight, casques on the top of their billls. Each species has a different shape and of bill, perhaps helping species recognition in half light of the forest. The pouch beneath the lower bill is used for carrying figs