I had participated that day in Manipal Bird Day 2013, A total of 114 species and a turnout of 45 birders made the event a successful affair. As noon approached I was informed that an Asian Paradise Flycatcher is regularly visiting house of one of my good friend at Manipal. My good friend and his wife both being avid birdwatchers have noticed the arrival of this bird from last few days at exactly 12:30 PM to their garden and wanted me to have a look. For photography it was a bad time of the day. Garden was dense enough but the harsh mid noon light was seeping through the leaves and was causing problem. I also noticed in such a contrasty situation my Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L II IS USM along with Canon EF 2X III Extender on Canon EOS 5D Mark III was supposed to be having trouble in focusing. This was the problem which was supposed to be corrected in the firmware for the Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L II IS USM lens. I had not yet updated the firmware and wanted to check it. So I thought it is a best time to hit two birds in a single stone. We waited from 12:15 for the arrival of our guest. 12:30 PM was long past and the afternoon heat was excruciating. Without disappointing us any further we noticed Male Asian Paradise Flycatcher (Terpsiphone paradisi) entering the garden at 12:45 PM sharp in a smooth glide. As Canon predicted I had a tough time focusing which you can see in the photos which are slightly front focused. So it was time for the lens to go for firmware update. Light was also unfavorable as the background was too bright. Getting a good exposure of white bird in such a background was a herculean struggle to capture well. As I am writing this article the lens has come back from Canon Service center, Bangalore after getting firmware updated. I have checked it and find that now it does not show this problem of focusing uncertainty in extremely contrasty situation.
The Asian Paradise Flycatcher (Terpsiphone paradisi) is a medium-sized passerine bird native to Asia. Males have elongated central tail feathers, and in some populations a black and Rufus plumage while others have white plumage. Females are short-tailed with Rufus wings and a black head. They feed on insects, which they capture in the air often below a densely canopied tree. In his first description of 1758, Carl von Linné nominated the species Corvus paradisi, a sort of crow of the paradise. Paradise-flycatchers used to be classified with the Old World flycatcher family Muscicapidae, but are now placed in the family Monarchidae together with monarch flycatchers.
Adult Asian Paradise Flycatchers are 19–22 cm (7.5–8.7 in) long. Their heads are glossy black with a black crown and crest, their black bill round and sturdy, their eyes black. Female are rufous on the back with a greyish throat and underparts. Their wings are 86–92 mm (3.4–3.6 in) long. Young males look very much like females but have a black throat and blue-ringed eyes. As adults they develop up to 24 cm (9.4 in) long tail feathers with two central tail feathers growing up to 30 cm (12 in) long drooping streamers.
Young males are rufous and have short tails. They acquire long tails in their second or third year. Adult males are either predominantly bright rufous above or predominantly white. Some specimens show some degree of intermediacy between rufous and white. Long-tailed rufous birds are generally devoid of shaft streaks on the wing and tail feathers, while in white birds the shaft streaks, and sometimes the edges of the wing and tail feathers are black. This specimen here was fully white with black in the edges of wing and tail feathers with no Rufus anywhere.
Possible interpretations of this phenomenon are : males may be polymorphic for Rufus and white plumage color; Rufus birds may be sub-adults; and there may even be two sympatric species distinguishable only in the male. Asian Paradise-flycatchers inhabit thick forests and well-wooded habitats from Turkestan to Manchuria, all over India and Sri Lanka to the Malay Archipelago on the islands of Sumba and Alor. They are vagrant in Korea and Maldives, and regionally extinct in Singapore. They are migratory and spend the winter season in tropical Asia. There are resident populations in southern India and Sri Lanka, hence both visiting migrants and the locally breeding subspecies occur in these areas in winter.
Asian Paradise Flycatchers are noisy birds uttering sharp skreek calls. They have short legs and sit very upright whilst perched prominently, like a shrike. They are insectivorous and hunt in flight in the understorey. In the afternoons they dive from perches to bathe in small pools of water.
The breeding season lasts from May to July. Being socially monogamous both male and female take part in nest-building, incubation, brooding and feeding of the young. The incubation period lasts 14 to 16 days and the nestling period 9 to 12 days. Three or four eggs are laid in a neat cup nest made with twigs and spider webs on the end of a low branch. The nest is sometimes built in the vicinity of a breeding pair of drongos, which keep predators away. Chicks hatch in about 21 to 23 days. A case of inter-specific feeding has been noted with Paradise Flycatcher chicks fed by Oriental White-eyes.