Red-Billed Leiothrix/Pekin Robin

Red-Billed Leiothrix/Pekin Robin Leiothrix lutea

Type of Animal:

Underbrush, forest, forest edge, mountainside forest clearings, woodland, dense thickets, plantations, scrub, gardens, shrubland, bramble areas near streams, vegetated areas near abandoned buildings, woodland-farmland mosaic, farms

Native to S & E China, N India, Nepal, Bhutan, Burma, N Indochina, & NE Pakistan. Introduced in Japan, Hawaii, Reunion, & W Europe.

Small bird w/ bright red bill, olive green body, bright yellow-orange throat, yellow chin, & dull yellow eye ring. Wing feather edges brightly colored w/ yellow/orange/red/black. Bluish gray cheeks/neck sides. Males somewhat more colorful than females, though both sexes have fairly similar coloration. Males have more red markings. Both sexes have olive-brown forked tails w/ blackish tips. Younger birds have black bills.

Insects, insect larvae, berries, fruits, vegetables, leafy greens, spiders, nectar, seeds, grains, millipedes, snails, slugs

Status in Wild:

Breeding in zoos, wildlife centers, & aviculture

Flocks of 2-30 birds

Additional Info:

Male: Cock
Female: Hen
Young: Chick
Group: Flock

Male: 0.91 oz
Female: 0.77 oz

2 weeks

Life Span:
5 years in wild, 10-20 years in captivity

5.5-6 in, same for both sexes

Body Length:
5.5-6 in, same for both sexes

Tail Length:
0.5 in, same for both sexes

Main predators are rats, cats, snakes, & raptors. 

These birds are very active & rather secretive. Some captive birds are bolder.

Open cup nesters w/ nests composed of dry leaves/moss/lichen. 

Males emit loud musical songs w/ alternating high & low notes, especially during breeding season. Some males may start singing as early as 5 weeks old.

Maturity reached at 9-12 months old, 

Chicks fledge at 4-5 weeks but may stay w/ parents for another 1-1.5 months. 

Females lay 3-4 eggs per brood & can have as many as 7 broods per year.

Fun Fact(s):
In Europe, they compete w/ European Robins, Common/Eurasian Blackbirds, & Eurasian Blackcaps. While native birds typically much more aggressive than this nonnative species, these birds breed in higher densities & are even more prolific.

These birds also called Chinese Nightingale, Japanese Nightingale, Pekin Nightingale, Japanese Robin, Japanese Hill Robin, Hill Tit, Red-Billed Mesia, Doubtful Leiothrix, & Red-Billed Robin. These birds only introduced to Japan in 1980s but have become quite established there.

These birds have negative impact in Hawaii since they’re known vectors of avian malaria (a threat to many Hawaiian native songbirds) & disperse seeds of invasive plants. They sometimes compete w/ native birds as well. 1st introduced to Hawaii in 1910s.

These birds popular cagebirds due to song, coloration, activity, & long lifespan.

Introduced birds derive from escaped cagebirds.

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