Bird Families

Live twig


Includes small or medium-sized birds (body length from 12 to 30 cm), in the plumage of which black, blue, white, brown or gray colors are contrastingly combined. The beak is strong, hooked. The wings are short or long, rounded, the tail is long. They inhabit forests and shrubs, feed on insects and other small animals (up to small lizards and frogs), which they catch among the branches. Nests are made on trees, 3-4 white or green eggs with brown spots are laid.

Wangs are common in Madagascar, continental Africa, South and Southeast Asia.


As of June 2018, the family includes 21 genera (many of which are monotypic) and 39 species:

  • Genus Artamella W. L. Sclater, 1924
    • Artamella viridis (Statius Müller, 1776) - White-headed painted wang
  • Genus Bias R. Lesson, 1831 - Singing Flycatchers
    • Bias musicus (Vieillot, 1818) - Singing Flycatcher
  • Genus Calicalicus Bonaparte, 1854 - Red-tailed Wangs
    • Calicalicus madagascariensis (Linnaeus, 1766) - Red-tailed wang
    • Calicalicus rufocarpalis Goodman, Hawkins & Domergue, 1997
  • Genus Cyanolanius Bonaparte, 1854
    • Cyanolanius madagascarinus (Linnaeus, 1766) - Blue painted wanga, or blue painted wanga
  • Genus Euryceros R. Lesson, 1831 - Helmet-bearing wangs, or thick-billed wangs
    • Euryceros prevostii R. Lesson, 1831 - Helmet-bearing wang, or thick-billed wang
  • Genus Falculea I. Geoffroy, 1836 - Sickle-billed wangs
    • Falculea palliata I. Geoffroy, 1836 - Sickle-billed wang
  • Genus Hemipus Hodgson, 1844 - Flycatcher larvae
    • Hemipus hirundinaceus (Temminck, 1822) - Black-winged flycatcher larvae
    • Hemipus picatus (Sykes, 1832) - Bore-backed flycatcher larvae
  • Genus Hypositta A. Newton, 1881 - Red-billed Wangs
    • Hypositta corallirostris (A. Newton, 1863) - Red-billed Wang
  • Genus Leptopterus Bonaparte, 1854 - Painted wangs
    • Leptopterus chabert (Statius Müller, 1776) - Magpie painted wang
  • Genus Megabyas J. Verreaux & E. Verreaux, 1855 - Shrike flycatchers
    • Megabyas flammulatus J. Verreaux & E. Verreaux, 1855 - Shrike flycatcher
  • Genus Mystacornis Sharpe, 1870 - Mystacornis
    • Mystacornis crossleyi (A. Grandidier, 1870) - Mystakornis
  • Genus Newtonia Schlegel, 1867 - Newtonians
    • Newtonia amphichroa Reichenow, 1891 - Dark Newtonia
    • Newtonia archboldi Delacour & Berlioz, 1931 - Brown-fronted Newtonia
    • Newtonia brunneicauda (A. Newton, 1863) - Red-bellied Newtonia
    • Newtonia fanovanae Gyldenstolpe, 1933 - Fanovana Newtonia
  • Genus Oriolia I. Geoffroy, 1838 - Black Wangs
    • Oriolia bernieri I. Geoffroy, 1838 - Black Wang
  • Genus Philentoma Eyton, 1845
    • Philentoma pyrhoptera (Temminck, 1836) - Chestnut-winged monarch
    • Philentoma velata (Temminck, 1825) - Chestnut-breasted monarch
  • Genus Prionops Vieillot, 1816 - Spectacled Shrikes
    • Prionops alberti Schouteden, 1933 - Yellow-headed spectacled shrike, or yellow-headed shrike
    • Prionops caniceps (Bonaparte, 1850) - Red-bellied spectacled shrike
    • Prionops gabela Rand, 1957 - Red-billed spectacled shrike
    • Prionops plumatus (Shaw, 1809) - Long-crested spectacled shrike
    • Prionops poliolophus G. A. Fischer & Reichenow, 1884 - Gray-crested spectacled shrike
    • Prionops retzii Wahlberg, 1856 - Three-colored spectacled shrike
    • Prionops rufiventris (Bonaparte, 1853)
    • Prionops scopifrons (W. Peters, 1854) - Red-fronted spectacled shrike
  • Genus Pseudobias Sharpe, 1870 - Ward's Flycatchers
    • Pseudobias wardi Sharpe, 1870 - Ward's flycatcher
  • Genus Schetba R. Lesson, 1831 - Red Wangs
    • Schetba rufa (Linnaeus, 1766) - Red wang
  • Genus Tephrodornis Swainson, 1832 - Woody larvae
    • Tephrodornis affinis Blyth, 1847
    • Tephrodornis pondicerianus (J. F. Gmelin, 1789) - Brown-tailed arboreal grub
    • Tephrodornis sylvicola Jerdon, 1839 - White-browed arboreal larvae
    • Tephrodornis virgatus (Temminck, 1824)
  • Genus Tylas Hartlaub, 1862 - Bulbul Wangs
    • Tylas eduardi Hartlaub, 1862 - Bulbul Wang
  • Genus Vanga Vieillot, 1816 - Hook-billed wangs
    • Vanga curvirostris (Linnaeus, 1766) - Hook-billed wang
  • Genus Xenopirostris Bonaparte, 1850 - Narrow-billed wangs
    • Xenopirostris damii Schlegel, 1865 - White-fronted narrow-billed wang
    • Xenopirostris polleni (Schlegel, 1868) - Gray narrow-billed wang, or wang Pollen
    • Xenopirostris xenopirostris (Lafresnaye, 1850) - Common narrow-billed wanga, or desert narrow-billed wanga

"Belgorodskie Izvestia" tells about a close relative of a scorpion, which is absolutely not dangerous to humans

The expression "pretend to be a log" is just about ranatra. Only by virtue of its mini-dimensions (only a few centimeters), it rather looks like a dried twig or reed twig.

There are about 30 species of it in the world, and in the Belgorod region, as well as throughout the European part of Russia, there is only one - rod-shaped ranatra.

Apathetic cannibal

The comparison with the rod was obtained by the ranatra because of the long body, ending in a long respiratory tube of almost the same size. Thanks to the snorkel, she, like a diver, can breathe underwater. True, not for long. Therefore, the ranatra also swims and dives like a log - it just sluggishly moves under water, clinging to the stems and leaves of underwater plants with its claws.

In general, by its nature, this water bug is terribly apathetic and uncommunicative - a real sociopath in the insect world. He prefers to live and eat in stagnant or low-flowing reservoirs, because most of the time he is in standby mode, disguising himself as a dirty branch. Because of this, he is often compared to a praying mantis: the ranatra in a similar way folds its pointed upper limbs in anticipation of a sacrifice - as if praying. She can stay in this position for several hours. But one has only to approach the gaping insect ...

“Ranatra takes off and attacks. First, she pierces the body of the victim, and then slowly sucks it out, "- says Associate Professor of the Department of Biology of BelSU Oksana Vorobyova.

The eyes of this water bug are large, there is an antennae and a proboscis. The body is covered with a hard cuticle that protects it from aquatic parasites that look like bright red lumps.

“Newborn larvae do not have such armor yet, so they often become suppers. Without a twinge of conscience, an adult ranatra encroaches on them, in general, cannibalism among ranatras is in the order of things, "the biologist adds.

Small bug, but dangerous

Ranatra is a passive, but very cruel predator. She usually preys on tadpoles, mosquito larvae and other aquatic invertebrates. But large individuals can even attack fish. Author of the book "Entertaining Aquarium" Mark Makhlin this is how this interesting creature describes it:

“When the ranatra is sitting on a reed, you will not notice it. A small fish or a tadpole will swim up to the reed - and suddenly two "hands" will separate from the trunk and grab the gape of the crumb. The bug can sit motionless for hours. But if you put him in a jar with fifty tadpoles, perhaps he will cope with them in an hour. Only, of course, he will not be able to eat everyone, he will simply kill, throw to the bottom and grab the next one. It is in the ranatra that a kind of “grabbing instinct” is manifested: many predators do not tolerate the flashing of prey and kill it, even when they are full ”.