The Silver-Eared Mesia Is A Bird That Looks Like All Of Autumn’s Colors

Today we begin our tribute to fall-inspired featured birds with a bird that reminds us to enjoy the full universe of avifauna by looking beyond our own backyards and borders.

With autumn already on its way, this lovely bird known as the Silver-Eared Mesia is a welcoming sight that captures all of the season's hues.

The silver-eared Mesia (Leiothrix argentauris) is a magnificent bird with a dazzling array of colors. It's a songbird from the Timaliidae family of babblers that can be found in many Asian countries.

Image credits: Luke Seitz

Fall is a riot of reds yellows and oranges with any hue of brown and green in the mix, accented with parts of grey-black, and white for dramatic effect from brilliant foliage to harvest fruits and vegetables to vivid costumes. The Silver-Eared Mesia is the same beautiful bird in all of these autumnal colors on both genders. The olive-green back, bright red-orange throat and nape (on males; females are pink), gray tail with yellow outer feathers, yellow wings with gray wingtips, bright red wing patch and rump (females have an orange-red or yellowish rump), pale legs and yellow bill give this bird its name but the name doesn't do justice to the olive-green back, bright red-orange throat and nape, on males; females are yellow Different subspecies have slightly different color variations but they're all equally lovely in their autumn hues.

Image credits: Vincent Wang

They are fairly widespread in their range, but since they prefer forests and higher altitudes they can be harder to locate. They do however readily come to feeders where fruits nuts and mealworms are provided in certain places. Many local resorts have set up feeding stations to lure these birds and other local specialties knowing how attractive and common they are. Fortunately, they are also social, and if one silver-eared mesia is spotted others are likely to be nearby unless they are in very sparse or remote areas in which case all birds are more solitary.

Image credits: Frank Thierfelder

Silver-Eared Mesia is a creature that most of us have never seen or heard of. These species can be found in Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia and Laos, among other places in southern Asia. They prefer the wet tropical forests of southern China and in the winter they will migrate to India.

Image credits: Anonymous eBirder

While the entire body is highlighted with a variety of lovely autumnal hues this vibrant bird is named for the distinctive silver patches around its ears. This bird is one of nature's most adorable creations with a tiny black face that contrasts dramatically with its silver ears gray tail, yellow feathers, bright red wing patch, yellow legs, gray wingtips and the sweetest olive-green back.

Image credits: IG | @kinlfong

It's also one of the few bird species where males and females don't have much of a difference. The most noticeable distinction is that males have red-orange throats while females have yellow throats.

Image credits: IG | @patrick.tanch

These birds are very small with an adult size of 15.5–17 cm (6.1–6.7 in) and an overall weight of 22–29g (0.75-1oz) and are not always noticeable – considering the bombardment of colors. Fortunately, they fly in large flocks and mostly enjoy cold wet climates. Though they are most commonly found in Hong Kong and Pakistan they can also be found year-round in Southern China, Myanmar, Nepal, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, and Malaysia in gardens and bushes.

Image credits: IG | @hasanuddinahamid

True Songbirds

These birds are loud but they do it in a beautiful way. They ride in groups of 6 to 30 people and have a distinctive short whistling song that is often belted out in soothing music. As a result of this coupled with their cute colors these birds are often poached in the field and kept as cage birds. The bird is currently listed on the IUCN red list as "least concern” but it still needs to be protected and monitored.

Since color patterns move and vary in ratios experts suggest there are around 7 subspecies within the argentauris species.

The females deposit four eggs in a small cup-shaped nest all at once. Their diet consists primarily of insects nuts and fruits and they are often seen digging around under nests and leaves looking for critters and berries that have fallen. Despite their social nature birds are not always easy to find. Local resorts and gardens value the splash of bright color they bring to the landscape so they'd often place feeders with the birds' favorite treats in strategic places to lure them and other local wildlife. 

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