AppearanceThe helmet vanga is a large vanga, the second-largest species of vanga after the sickle-billed vanga. In length it measures 28 to 31 cm , and it weighs 84 to 114 g . The most distinctive feature is the massive hooked bill, which is 51 mm long and 30 mm deep. The plumage of the head, neck, throat, breast and belly is a solid blue-black, as are the primary coverts and remiges of the wing. The mantle, the back, and the rest of the wings are rufous. The tail, which is long and broad, is black below and rufous above. The bill is bright blue with a black tip. Both sexes are alike.
DistributionIt is restricted to lowland and lower montane rainforests in north-east Madagascar. Sites where it can be found include Marojejy National Park, the Masoala National Park and Mantadia National Park.
BehaviorAdults mainly eat large insects, but food items brought to young in the nest may be more varied, including snails, lizards, spiders and crabs.
HabitatIt is restricted to lowland and lower montane rainforests in north-east Madagascar. Sites where it can be found include Marojejy National Park, the Masoala National Park and Mantadia National Park.
ReproductionHelmet vangas are mongamous and seasonal breeders. The breeding season runs from October to January on the Masoala Peninsula. Both sexes work on the construction of the nest, which is a cup shape 15 cm in diameter constructed from woven plant fibres, mosses and twigs, and is placed in a fork in a tree 2 to 4 m off the ground. There is one record of courtship feeding by a male before copulation. The clutch size is two or three pinkish white eggs.
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