27 cm; 86–176 g. Crown to hindneck pale blue; rest of face to the chin and nape apple green; underparts yellowish green; back and wings
darker green; undersides of flight-feathers greenish-blue; tail dark greenish, spatulas blackish, lateral feathers blue edged green and tipped black. Bare parts: bill greyish white, cere grey, iris brown, and legs and feet grey. Female has shorter spatules. Immature duller, with reduced blue on crown, lacks spatulas. Race whiteheadi has less extensive blue on the crown; proposed race nesophilus reported to have even less blue on crown, but not accepted here.
Editor’s Note: This article requires further editing work to merge existing content into the appropriate Subspecies sections. Please bear with us while this update takes place.
A recent phylogenetic study indicates that this species is part of a clade that contains also P. verticalis, P. flavicans, and P. luconensis (1). Sometimes considered conspecific with P. flavicans (but recent reinforcement of split (2, 1) ). Until recently was considered conspecific with P. mindorensis (which see), and previously with P. plate name, but molecular study (1) indicates that those belong in a different clade. Races may represent two distinct species (1); further studies, using additional data and specimens, are required in order to clarify taxonomic status, especially of apparently intermediate forms in Samar and Leyte. Proposed race nesophilus (Catanduanes I) here considered a synonym of whiteheads; suluensis (Sulu Archipelago) included within nominate. Two subspecies currently recognized.
Blue-crowned Racquet-tail (Blue-crowned)Prioniturus discurus whiteheads Scientific name definitions
Blue-crowned Racquet-tail (Blue-capped)Prioniturus discourse discuss Scientific name definitions
Editor’s Note: Additional distribution information for this taxon can be found in the ‘Subspecies’ article above. In the future, we will develop a range-wide distribution article.
The primary and secondary forest up to 1750 m, but mostly below 1500 m, especially on islands where it overlaps with P. Montanus; also mangroves, orchards, and banana plantations.
Birds arrived on Calicoan, off S Samar, in midsummer after breeding, becoming commoners into Sept-Oct; no other information suggests migratory behavior.
Diet and Foraging
Poorly documented; apparently fond of bananas, inflicting damage on unripe crops adjacent to the forest. Repeated presence in Ficus, Sibuyan, suggests use as food. Forages in small flocks, typically numbering up to a dozen birds.
Season Apr–May on Negros, Mar-May on Panay (3), May on Leyte; pair “billing” in Feb, Mindanao, where nesting behavior also observed in May; birds with enlarged gonads also collected in Jun. Nesting reputedly colonial in tall live trees, either in main trunk or in large branches, including old woodpecker holes, e.g. of White-bellied Woodpecker (Dryocopus javensis) (3). Clutch three white eggs, size 30·2–31·9 mm × 25·4–26·6 mm (4). Recently hatched nestlings have greyish down.
Not globally threatened. CITES II. The population considered to be stable but remains unquantified. Generally common even in degraded habitat on largely deforested islands such as Negros and considered to be common in Rajah Sikatuna National Park, on Bohol (5); however, not common on Sibuyan; regularly recorded at PICOP logging concession near Bislig, Mindanao. Only recently discovered on the island of Panay (3).