Animals

Did You Know? 23 Incredible Helmet Vanga Facts

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The Helmet vanga (Euryceros prevostii) is a unique bird species of the vanga family, Vangidae, and is restricted to Madagascar. This bird is classified into their genus, making the helmet vanga the only species in the Euryceros genus. The term Vangidae originates from Malagasy. This family consists of medium-sized shrike-like birds. This family also belongs to a corvid clade of birds. This vanga bird was previously in the Laniidae family of shrikes. Austin L. Rand, an ornithologist, moved the Helmet vangas into a monotypic family, Eurycerotidae, when he gave the vangas a separate family in 1936. Rufous vanga split from the helmet vanga around 800,000 years ago and is believed to be the closest relative of helmet vanga. The specific term prevostii honors Florent Prevost, a French artist. This bird is currently threatened due to habitat loss and is listed as vulnerable by the IUCN. The helmet vanga is blue-black with rufous wings. Their diet includes invertebrates, especially insects.

If you liked these facts, then make sure to check out swallow and blue jay facts on Kidadl.

Helmet Vanga

Fact File

What do they prey on?

Insects, lizards, millipedes, amphibians, and earthworms

What do they eat?

Carnivore

Average litter size?

2-3 eggs

How much do they weigh?

0.18-0.25 lb (84-114 g)

How long are they?

11-12 in (28-31 cm)

How tall are they?

N/A

What do they look like?

Black, blue, and orange

Skin Type

Feathers

What are their main threats?

Humans

What is their conservation status?

Vulnerable

Where you'll find them

Lower montane rainforest, lowland, and humid evergreen forest

Locations

North-eastern Madagascar island, Makira National Park, Masoala National Park, and Marojejy National Park

Kingdom

Animalia

Class

Aves

Scientific Name

Euryceros prevostii

Family

Vangidae

Genus

Euryceros

Helmet Vanga Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a helmet vanga?

The Helmet vanga (Euryceros prevostii) is a vanga bird species of the order Passeriformes and phylum Chordata endemic to Madagascar. This vanga is a medium-sized perching bird with a distinct huge blue bill. The population of this bird is currently threatened and is listed as Vulnerable. These vangas can be found foraging within mixed-species flocks among other vanga species. As they are secretive, these birds stay immobile in a sub-canopy for long periods, which makes it difficult to spot the bird. This bird is sedentary and arboreal. So, they spend time hunting or foraging in several trees. They hunt by hawking, snatching, jumping, or gleaning on the prey.

What class of animal does a helmet vanga belong to?

The Helmet vanga (Euryceros prevostii) belongs to the class of Aves of animals.

How many helmet vangas are there in the world?

The population of the Helmet vanga (Euryceros prevostii) in the world is 600-15,000 birds. These endangered birds are gradually facing habitat loss and their distribution is decreasing day by day.

Where does a helmet vanga live?

The range of the Helmet vanga (Euryceros prevostii) is restricted to North-eastern Madagascar island. Their range mostly extends within Makira National Park, Masoala National Park, and Marojejy National Park.

What is a helmet vanga's habitat?

The range of the helmet vanga habitat extends across the lower montane rainforest, lowland, and humid evergreen forest. In a range with large trees, they can be found in a middle stratum in a forest. These birds stay immobile in a sub-canopy for long periods

Who do helmet vangas live with?

These vangs species live in flocks. Also, can be found within mixed-species flocks among other vanga species. They can either be in small groups of 5-10 vangas or on their own.

How long does a helmet vanga live?

The lifespan of these vanga species is unknown.

How do they reproduce?

The breeding season of these vangas is in southern summer either in September-October or December-January. Both sexes work during the nesting periods.  This nest is cup-shaped. It is placed at around 6.5-13.1 ft (2-4 m) above ground in a tree fork. The nest is made up of plant fibers and mosses woven with twigs. The nest is 5.9 in (15 cm) in diameter. The breeding season for these vangas occurs once per year and the birds are monogamous. One observation made stated that courtship feeding was done before copulation. Also, the contrasting plumage and massive bill may enhance their courtship. The female lays around two to three pinkish-white eggs and has dark red mottling. Both parents incubate the eggs for unknown days. The chicks hatch naked. After around seven to eight days, rufous and dark brown colored plumage grows on young vangas. The young ones have a pale bill that is shorter than an adult's bill. The young ones leave the nest within 17 days of hatching, which means that the incubation period lasts for 15-20 days. The adults defend the nests against predators by attacking while emitting loud calls.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of helmet vangas is evaluated as Vulnerable by IUCN. Birdlife International listed them as Endangered. They are facing habitat loss due to the clearing of land for forestry and agriculture.

Helmet Vanga Fun Facts

What do helmet vangas look like?

The helmet vanga of Madagascar has blue-black plumage with bright rufous central pair of rectrices, back, secondary coverts, and back. The underparts are black with visible pale brown stripes on flanks, belly, and under tail-coverts. Their huge distinctive blue bill has a black tip. They have an upper mandible with a noticeably arched. The bill length is 2 in (51 mm) and 1.2 in (30 mm) deep. They have whitish eyes and blue-gray feet and legs. The female and males have an identical description. The immature birds are smaller and have pale brown bills. The black-colored parts are mostly pale buff in the chicks and the rufous parts are dark brown.

The helmet vangas can stay still or immobile for long periods in a tree or canopy
*Please note that this is an image of a Tickell's blue flycatcher, of the same order as Helmet Vanga. If you have an image of a Helmet Vanga please let us know at hello@kidadl.com.

How cute are they?

These Madagascar birds of genus Euryceros are vibrantly colored and have a sticking blue bill, however, they are no considered

How do they communicate?

The helmet vanga bird call 'phu' is a short whistle that is used as a contact call. Other slightly higher calls can be heard like 'eesh' and 'tseeah.' They utter harsh calls when they feel threatened like 'treh treh treh.' The mates use contact calls that sound like a nasal 'hink think hink.' The song can be heard at dawn, which is slightly longer and descending 'pip pi pi pi pippipiperperper.' They also use medium-pitched and short warbled calls that followed slightly higher notes.  

How big is a helmet vanga?

The helmet vangas are 11-12 in (28-31 cm) in length. These Madagascar birds are 2 in (5 cm) longer in length than the northern shrikes.

How fast can a helmet vanga fly?

The flight speed of this vanga species is not known.

How much does a helmet vanga weigh?

These Madagascar species weigh around 0.18-0.25 lb (84-114 g). The red-backed shrikes are five times heavier than these vanga species.

What are the male and female names of the species?

There are no specific names given to the male and female Helmet vanga bird.

What would you call a baby helmet vanga?

There is no specific name given to the baby Helmet vanga.

What do they eat?

This Madagascar species can be found foraging at 9.8-32.9 ft (3-10 m) above the ground. Their diet is carnivorous, especially insectivorous. The insects they feed on are moths, lizards, crickets, millipedes, earthworms, butterflies, beetles, and cockroaches. They hunt by gleaning, hawking, snatching, or jumping on their prey and then get hold of the prey.

Are they poisonous?

These endemic species of the Euryceros genus are not poisonous. They are in fact under threat of extinction.

Would they make a good pet?

No, these birds of the Euryceros genus do not make a good pet. These vangidae birds thrive in rainforest regions.

Did you know...

The bird species in the order Passeriformes are called songbirds or perching birds. Passeriformes has over 140 families with 6,500 species.

The red-tailed newtonia, like Helmet vangas, is an endemic species of Madagascar and belongs to the Vangidae family.

Blue Coua and Crested Drongo are predators of these birds.

How do you identify a Helmet Vanga?

The helmet vanga's arched bluebills and orange-rufous wings and bluish-black body stand out from other species. Also, their bill has a noticeable arch.

How did helmet vangas get their name?

Helmet vangas got their name because of their sharp, massive, arched, and hooked blue bill, which resembles a helmet.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these toco toucan facts and  Amazon parrot facts.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring on one of our free printable bird coloring pages.

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