Firetailed myzornis

Myzornis pyrrhoura

SUBFAMILY

Timaliinae

TAXONOMY

Myzornis pyrrhoura Blyth, 1843, Nepal. Monotypic and only member of genus. Position within family remains unclear.

OTHER COMMON NAMES

French: Myzorne queue-de-feu; German: Feuerschwanzchen. PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

5 in (12.5 cm). Startling bright green bird with brilliant green, red, and black tail, reddish undertail coverts, black and orange pattern on wings, red wash on chest, scaly crown, red eyes, and slender, black, slightly down-turned bill.

DISTRIBUTION

Himalayas, east from Nepal, and south, along the Salween Divide, into western Sichuan, Yunan, and northeastern Myanmar.

HABITAT

Rhododendron, bamboo, juniper, and other montane forests, as well as tree farms.

BEHAVIOR

May be seen singly, in groups of three to four, and in parties of sunbirds, warblers, and other small babblers. Altitudinal migrant; from 9,800-12,000 ft (3,000-3,660 m) in summer, to 6,600 ft (2,000 m) in winter.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Remarkably similar to unrelated sunbirds (Nectariniidae), with whom it often associates. Continuously probes flowers, especially rhododendrons, becoming covered with pollen, while extracting nectar and insects. Observed by Salim Ali to hover at

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Mystacornis crossleyi

Resident

flowers like a sunbird, also to run up moss-covered trunks, creeper-like, in search of insects and spiders. Also eats berries.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Eggs undescribed. Observed feeding chicks at nest in May.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Not threatened.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS

The "Living Emerald" of the Himalayas, a major draw for eco-tourists trekking in Nepal and Bhutan. ♦

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