(Original Title: Rainforest Birds - Red-Billed Leiothrix or Pekin Robin)
|Red-billed Leiothrix (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
Red-billed Leiothrix or Pekin Robin
Although added to CITIES Appendix II in 1998.
Species: L. lutea
Common names of the Red-billed Leiothrix include Pekin Robin, Pekin Nightingale, Chinese Nightingale and Japanese (Hill) Robin.
The Red-billed Leiothrix is a brightly coloured babbler. Two subspecies exist, in the western range L. lutea kumaiensis and in the eastern range L. lutea calipyga. The rarer L. l. kumaiensis has the absence of the red edge on the inner primaries. Common in the pet trade, Red-billed Leiothrix is known for its loud melodious songs. It is currently of lest concern on the IUCN red list but was added to CITIES in 1998 because native habitat is being destroyed and the demand of the cage bird market.
The Red-billed Leiothrix averages 13-15 cm in length and weighs 21-25 gm. Adults are brightly colored and have red bills with a dull yellow ring around their eyes. Their backs are a dull olive green and they have a bright yellow-orange throat with a yellow chin. They have a forked blackish tail. The sexes appear similar although males are brighter in color. Juveniles have black bills and grey coats.
Fruits and seeds are the primary diets, although they will eat small invertebrates including larval and adult butterflies, moths, millipedes, and spiders. The Red-billed Leiothrix feeds in groups, except when pairs are breeding. Water is obtained from pools on fallen leaves.
The Red-billed Leiothrix is native to Southern Asia ranging from central Himalayas in India and Nepal eastwards to Burma and Vietnam. It was introduced to the Hawaiian Islands from escaped cage birds. Small populations also escaped in Japan. The Red-billed Leiothrix inhabits underbrush with a dense cover of vegetation near the ground. Cup nest made of leaves and moss lined with fungal substance usually on a low horizontal forked branch. They favor areas with heavy rainfall, at least 40 inches of rain yearly. They are often found traveling in small flocks.
The Red-billed Leiothrix breeds March to August. They are monogamous and the pairs will mate for life. The clutch consists of 3 or 4 egg, although 5 can occur. Eggs are a pale blue with reddish spots. Due to low nest placement, eggs are highly vulnerable to predators, especially rats. Adults may distract predators away from the nest by running and calling on the ground. Incubation is approximately 14 days. Both parents contribute to the feeding of the young. Most commonly insects and small fruits are the early food source. Nestlings have a bright reddish apricot skin.