The Silver-eared Mesia, scientifically known as Leiothrix argentauris, is a small, brightly colored bird native to the eastern Himalayas and Southeast Asia. These birds are found in the countries of Bhutan, China, India, Laos, Myanmar, Nepal, Thailand, and Vietnam. They inhabit dense forests, primarily in the foothills of the Himalayas, and can be found at elevations of up to 2,500 meters.
The Silver-eared Mesia is a small bird, measuring about 15 cm in length, including its long tail. The male and female of this species have similar physical features. These birds have a striking appearance, with their bright orange-yellow plumage and contrasting black and white markings on their wings and tail. They have a distinctive silver-grey ear patch that extends from the eye to the nape of the neck, which gives them their name. The upper part of their body is olive green, and their underparts are yellow. They have a short, curved beak and dark eyes.
Behavior and Diet
Silver-eared Mesias are highly social birds that travel in small groups of up to ten individuals. They are active and agile, hopping and flitting through the dense forest underbrush in search of insects, fruits, and seeds. Their diet includes small insects, spiders, and caterpillars, as well as berries, fruits, and nectar.
Breeding and Nesting
During the breeding season, which typically occurs from March to June, the male Silver-eared Mesia performs an elaborate courtship display to attract a female. The male will flutter his wings and sing a sweet, melodious song to impress the female. Once a pair has formed, they will build a nest together in the dense undergrowth of the forest. The nest is cup-shaped and constructed from twigs, grass, and leaves. The female lays a clutch of 2-4 eggs, which she incubates for approximately 12-13 days. Both parents take turns incubating the eggs and caring for the young.
Threats and Conservation
The Silver-eared Mesia is considered a species of least concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). However, habitat loss due to deforestation and forest fragmentation is a significant threat to their population. These birds are also hunted for their colorful feathers and kept as pets in some areas. Conservation efforts are underway to protect their habitat and prevent further loss of their population.
In conclusion, the Silver-eared Mesia is a small, brightly colored bird that inhabits dense forests in the foothills of the eastern Himalayas and Southeast Asia. These birds are highly social, active, and agile, and feed on insects, fruits, and seeds. They are threatened by habitat loss and hunting but are currently considered a species of least concern.