Suthora webbiana Gould, 1852, Shanghai. Seven subspecies. OTHER COMMON NAMES
English: Rufous-headed crowtit; French: Paradoxornis de Webb; German: Papageischnabel.
5 in (12 cm). Tiny, long-tailed, brownish bird with rufous accents, finch-like yellow bill, and dark eyes. Sexes similar.
Greater portion of eastern China, north to southeastern Siberia, south to northeastern Myanmar and northwestern Vietnam, as well as Korean Peninsula and Taiwan.
Summer: undergrowth of mixed conifer and broad-leafed secondary forest. Winter: grassy hillsides, reed beds, thickets, farmlands.
Some populations migrate south, most only change habitat in winter. Flocks usually contain about 10 birds, may include up to 80. Continuous contact calls. Noted for great agility among dense vegetation.
FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET
Continuously forages through vegetation in flocks for seeds, insects, spiders, and occasionally cultivated grain.
Monogamous. Male constructs outer framework of deep bowl-shaped nest of grass and various fibers, in small trees, bamboo, dense grass, or thickets. Female assists in lining with moss, cobwebs, hair, etc. Thirteen-day incubation of 3-5 blue-green or white eggs shared by parents.
Not threatened. Habitat may have expanded through recent human activity. Recent massive commercial exportation from China ended by ban in 2001, though shipments may arrive from Siberia.
May pose minor threat to millet, sorghum, wheat, and rice. Continuous acrobatic activity has made it a popular traditional cagebird in China and Japan. Before the 1949 Chinese Revolution, males popular for wagered bird fights. ♦
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