Wednesday, 14 October 2009

The Red-billed Leiothrix

When I go to Chester Zoo one of the great places to visit - whatever the weather - is the Tropical Realm which is a huge indoor free-flying area for birds with some cages and glass-fronted areas of other birds, reptiles and amphibians. Once I am in theree I can happily wander for hours and it is ideal if it is wet or cold outside. Among the many little birds flitting around the Tropical Realm is the delightful Red-billed Leiothrix.

The Red-billed Leiothrix, Leiothrix lutea, is a member of the Old World babbler family. It is a common cagebird and amongst aviculturists it goes by various names: Pekin Robin, Pekin Nightingale, Chinese Nightingale, Japanese Nightingale, and Japanese (Hill) Robin, the last two being a misnomer as it is not native to Japan.

Adults have bright red bills and a dull yellow ring around their eyes. Their backs are dull olive green, and they have a bright yellow-orange throat with a yellow chin; females are somewhat duller than males, and juveniles have black bills.

The Red-billed Leiothrix is usually found in India, the Himalayas, Burma, and southern China. It has also been introduced on the Hawaiian Islands and small populations of escapees have existed in Japan since the 1980s. This species is a bird of the hill forests, found in every type of jungle though it prefers pine forests with bushes. It has also been found at elevations ranging from near sea level to about 7,500 feet.



  1. This little bird gave me such a lift, it's simply lovely.

  2. What a beauty. So does this bird originate from China (because of the name Pekin(g) - I guess would now be Beijing?

  3. What a beautiful fellow. Almost as handsome as my little spadgers!

  4. You've cracked it, could do with the little beggars caged myself after this week. Superb photograph, my problem would be identifying it. Pretty bird seems a touch hackneyed.


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