Silver-eared Mesia

If you’ve ever heard of the Japanese nightingale and loved it, you might like to know more about one of its distant cousins, the white-winged leiotrix, the second species that is part of the leiothrichidae family.

Where is this species from?

It is known as leiotrix argentauris, and lives in Southeast Asia, especially China, Sumatra, Malaysia, India and Tibet. Unlike his other relative, it hasn’t been introduced as a pet.

In the wild, they usually live in high bushes, between 500 and 2,000 metres above sea level, at the edge of forests and jungles, in small groups among members of the same species. They’re not usually very violent with other species.

What is known about their appearance?

It is not a large bird, measuring between 16.5 – 18 cm, more or less. The male and female can be distinguished by a slight sexual dimorphism: the male has a red rump, while the female has an orange rump.

It has bright colors, and is recognized by the black cap, a kind of black moustache thanks to its feathers and silver cheeks. The male has a yellow forehead, while the throat and chest have a brighter yellow tone that resembles orange. The upper parts of his body are ash grey, with wide yellow wings, with a distinctive red circular spot. Its tail is quite long and completely black.

leiotrix argentauris

When young, they are quite similar to females, but with lighter yellow tones. After a few months of being born, when the first feathers are already molting, you can see the great difference between the sexes in the youngest.

The following subspecies are recognized:

  • Leiotrix argentauris galbana: Native to southern Burma and northern Thailand and was discovered in 1938.
  • Leiotrix argentauris ricketti: Which was discovered in China in 1923 and can also be found in Laos and Vietnam.
  • Leiotrix argentauris cunhaci: Resites in South Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia.
  • Leiotrix argentauris tahanensis: It was discovered in southern Thailand and Malaysia in 1934.
  • Leiotrix argentauris rookmakeri: Lives in northern Sumatra.
  • Leiotrix argentauris laurinae: It lives in southern Sumatra, and was the second species of this bird to be discovered.

Can you keep it as a pet?

In fact, there are no laws against it, as it is not as invasive as the Japanese nightingale. However, since there is little information about their care in captivity, few people bet on this bird.

It feeds especially on insects and larvae, eating some fruits such as blueberries, grapes, raspberries and apples. If you have it in captivity you can also give it some pieces of vegetables, as long as they are well washed and fresh.

silver finche

There is very little data on their reproduction in captivity. They lay about 4 eggs in each clutch, and it is the female who incubates them. However, once the chicks are born, it is the father who takes care of feeding them. The chicks appear to leave the nest at about 4 weeks of age, at which time they could be moved to a separate module.

They do not seem to be birds that have many problems sharing aviaries with other species, but they do not have to be larger or smaller than themselves, as this could intimidate them or give them a sense of greatness.

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