Sunday, 24 April 2011

Red-billed leirothrix

Leiothrix lutea

Common name:

Order Passeriformes
Family Timaliidae

This species is found in southern Asia, from India to southern China. The species has been introduced to Hawaii and Japan.

The red-billed leirothrix is 14-15 cm long and weighs 21-25 g.

They are found in thick underbrush in deciduous forests, from sea level up to an altitude of 2.700 m. They have been known to fly up to elevations of 4.500 m for a short period of time.

These omnivorous birds eat fruits of various plants, including strawberry guava, thimbleberry, and sometimes overripe papaya, as well as various seeds. Their diet also includes larval and adult butterflies, moths, millipedes, and spiders. They have been known to eat mealworms and molluscs.

Red-billed leirothrixes breed in April-September. They nest in an open cup, composed of dry leaves, moss and lichen and placed on a horizontally forked branch. There the female lays 3-4 pale blue eggs with reddish-brown spots which are incubated by both parents for 14 days. The chicks are fed insects and sometimes fruits by both parents, and fledge 12-14 days after hatching. Each pair may raise 2-3 clutches per year.

IUCN status - LC (Least concern)
Although the global population size has not been quantified, the species is reported to be locally common in various parts of its very large breeding range. The population is suspected to be in decline owing to ongoing habitat destruction and capture for the cage bird trade, with over 225.000 wild-caught individuals having been recorded in international trade since 1997. Still, this species is not considered threatened at present.

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