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Pekin Robin

 (other names: Red-billed Leiothrix, Pekin Nightingale, Chinese Nightingale, Japanese Hill Robin)

Pekin Robin
origin:Southern Asia
life expectancy:10 years
scientific name:Leiothrix lutea
family:Timaliidae
dimensions:0 to 15 cm
compatibility: goodsinging ability: excellentloudiness: quiet
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History [ edit ]

The Pekin Robin (L. lutea) is part of genus Leiothrix, as well as the Silver-eared Mesia (L. argentauris). The Red-billed Leiothrix, as it is also called the Pekin Robin, is the most kept softbill, much due to its singing abilities and looks. Owing a Pekin Robin is a great way for beginners to adventure themselves in this group of birds.

In the wild this birds can be found in Bhutan, China, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Vietnam and Hawaiian islands, in heavily wooded areas, usually forests. They move around in medium to large flocks and during breeding season they divide themselves in pairs.

Although not threatened in the wild, the Pekin Robin was included in the CITES list because of the indiscriminate bird trading of huge proportions. 
editing: History [ close ]
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Housing [ edit ]

Pekin Robins are hardy birds, but they may need heating during winter. Being flock birds, successful breeding is likely to occur in aviaries rather then cages. 2 x 1 x 2 m is a good size flight for a pair or a small group of hens.

The aviary should be planted since they enjoy more secluded areas. Pekin Robins don´t have the habit of destroying the plants, but they will eat the insects that they attract.

These birds are highly compatible with other species, even waxbills. They are peaceful and usually don´t get into trouble, even with their own kind, as long as provided enough room. The only concern for the breeder comes with the breeding season, when Pekin Robins tend to steal other smaller species´ eggs. They also protect their nest, but not the territory around it.

Pekin Robins are highly sociable, so the best is to provide them with company, even if it isn’t their own kind.

These birds love to bathe so don´t forget to leave a corner for a bath tub. They are quite messy bathers so a little more maintenance is needed.
editing: Housing [ close ]
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Diet [ edit ]

Fruits and insects are the basic Pekin Robin’s diet. They also eat small portions of canary seed. Pekin Robins eat a bit of everything, including nectar, vegetables, soaked millet sprays, etc, that should be given from time to time, but since they are softbill birds, they should be fed essentially a great variety of fruits and insects, which are their favorites. 
editing: Diet [ close ]
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Temperament [ edit ]

Pekin Robins are monogamous birds, very peaceful and very sociable. They are quite active birds that fly, walk and climb in their cages. They can be quite tame if not captured in the wild.

These birds are known for their melodious song, however only the male is able to sing. These are quiet during the moult, but perform frequently and loudly to the hen during breeding season. 
editing: Temperament [ close ]
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General appearance [ edit ]

The Pekin Ronbin has the scientific name of Leiothrix luteus. In Greek “leios” means “smooth”, “thrix” means “feather”, and luteus means “yellow”.

In fact, Pekin Robins have yellow or golden plumage on the throat and breast and a lighter belly. The rest of the body is mostly olive to grey, except for the wings. These are yellow and tawny, colors that become more noticeable when the wings are opened. Males and females are alike and can be only distinguished by behavior: males sing, for example. Some say that females are brighter or smaller, but since there are many subspecies of the Pekin Robin that can be distinguished by those traits it is difficult to accurate sex birds visually.

Young birds have black bills and gray coats. 
editing: General appearance [ close ]
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Subspecies [ edit ]

Pekin Robins are one of most popular softbills, however its subspecies lack investigation. There are four classified subspecies in Asia, but it is possible that other do exist, especially in the wild:

  • Leiothrix lutea lutea – It has bright colors than the other subspecies and less yellow on the belly.
  • Leiothrix lutea kumaiensis – It has duller colors, paler than the rest.
  • Leiothrix lutea yunnanensis – It is the darkest of all subspecies with bright golden head.
  • Leiothrix lutea calipyga – It has a brighter head and mid dark between kumaiensis and yunnanensis.  
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