Tim Melling – Red-billed Leiothrix

Tim writes: This attractive bird lives in forests in the Himalayas and Southern China.  It was once a common cagebird and I saw my first ever one in Britain several decades ago, when it went by the name of Pekin Robin.  But it isn’t related to Robins.  It is in the Laughingthrush family, but it doesn’t really look like a Laughingthrush either.  The name Leiothrix means silky hair, because of the smooth plumage.  We saw quite a few in southern China moving about in noisy flocks though they were usually in vegetation.  This individual was at Tangjiahe nature reserve and was hopping about on the road among the autumn leaves.