Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Silver-eared mesia

Leiothrix argentauris

Photo by J.J. Harrison (Wikipedia)

Common name:
silver-eared mesia (en); rouxinol-de-faces-prateadas (pt); léiothrix à joues argent (fr); leiotrix cariblanco (de); silberohr-sonnenvogel (de)

Order Passeriformes
Family Timaliidae

This Asian species is found around the Himalayas, in Nepal, northern India and in western and south-western China, and through Bangladesh and Myanmar, across Indochina and down to Indonesia.

These birds are 16-18 cm long and weigh 15-30 g.

They are mostly found along the edges of moist broadleaved forests, in scrublands and plantations. They occur from sea level up to an altitude of 2.600 m.

They eat both insects and various fruits and berries.

Silver-eared mesias are monogamous and may mate for life. The nest is an open cup, made of grasses, twigs, mosses and plant fibres, and lined with feathers and soft grasses. The nest is usually hidden in dense scrubs. The female lays 2-4 pale blue eggs with brown speckles, which she incubates alone for 13-14 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 12-14 days after hatching, but only become fully independent 2-4 weeks later. Each pair may raise 2-3 clutches per year.

IUCN status - LC (Least concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and, although the global population size has not been quantified, it is described as generally common, although locally rare in Nepal. The population is suspected to be in decline owing to ongoing habitat destruction and fragmentation, but it is not considered threatened at present.

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