Monday, March 7, 2011

Silver-Eared Mesia/Pancawarna [Leiothrix Argentauris]

Leiothrix is a genus in the Old World babbler family. Among the Old World babblers proper, they belong to a clade also containing at least the liocichlas, barwings, minlas and sibias. The sibias are possibly their closest living relatives (Cibois 2003). The Silver-eared Mesias are common in the highlands & very sociable (usually in a group) and quite friendly. They are delightful to watch, and one of the most colourful species.
This bird kind used to be popular together with its closest relatives, the Red-billed Leiothrix, Leiothrix Lutea, in Java they are called 'Robin', since early of 80's until end of 90's, when the imported birds from China mostly stopped.
This birds has not much variation in songs, usually they only sings 2 or three kind of songs. In the way they singing also little bit boring, as they use to sing one single song in repetition. Based on this fact, the bird lovers in Indonesia usually uses this bird as a pattern bird to be duplicated by other singing birds. Some birds which used to be the copier are Hwa Mei [Garrulax Canorus], Kacer [Copsycus Saularis], Murai Batu [Copsyscus Malabaricus] and many more.
Beside of its songs or sound, some bird lovers may loves its appearance, as this bird's feathers are colorful. It is the reason why this bird in Indonesia used to be called 'pancawarna', which means 5 colors.
It is very difficult and very rare to find this bird tamed in the hand of bird lovers. Usually they are very wild, agile, used to fly and jump over around in its cage.
The hen can not sing, except one screechy sound and this is the most important parameter to classify its sexing, instead of the feather's colors. Sexing by the colors is easier when the birds are not singing. The cock has more colorful, bright and shiny, in opposite of the hen, which paler and duller than the cock, with less bright colors, more yellow than orange and has golden or tawny yellow upper tail coverts (red in males). It is also difficult for sexing the juvenile, when they can not sing yet. The juvenile's feather colors are remaining the same between the cock and the hen, both are paler. This condition will change when they are molting.