Saturday 2 August 2008

Species accounts - White-eared Sibia

White-eared Sibia (Heterophasia auricularis) - Photo: M.Wilkie

White-eared Sibia (Heterophasia auricularis) - Photo: M.Wilkie

White-eared Sibia [Taiwan Sibia] Heterophasia auricularis (23CM)

A medium-sized Sibia endemic to Taiwan. The "white ears" being a very distinctive feature. The white eye-stripe, eye-ring, and lores end in plumes to form its unique white “ears.” The crown is black. The breast, throat and upper back are grey. The throat tends to be of a slightly darker shade and can appear black in poor light. The underparts are cinnamon, with the rump and lower back being more rufous. The tail is black with greyish-white tipped central feathers. The iris is a dark brown. The bill is black and the feet pinkish.

Status and distribution:
It inhabits mountain forests from 800 - 3000 m where it is common. It is often found at much lower altitudes in the winter.

Feeds on fruit, berries or nectar in the forest canopy. Often single but does gather in small flocks or bird parties. It is very active and can be quite bold.

There rising fi-fi-fi fi-yu call is very distinct and must be one of the most defining sounds of Taiwan’s mountain forests. They also produce a rattling mei, mei, mei-type alarm call.


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