The red-billed leiothrix, belonging to the Leiothrichidae family, is a colourful and plump bird that stands out with its vibrant appearance. Its yellow-orange neck and chin complement its bright wing feathers, which are also coloured in shades of yellow, orange, red, and black. With a scarlet bill and dull yellow rings around its eyes, adult male red-billed leiothrix can grow up to six inches long. Along with having an olive-green hue, they also exhibit an orange breast colouring and bluish-gray cheeks and neck. Their forked olive-brown tail with a black tip enhances their unique appearance.
When it comes to appearance, female birds have a less vibrant color than their male counterparts and lack the red spot on their wings. Additionally, young birds share more similarities with the female, despite having black bills instead of red ones.
Red-billed leiothrix is usually found in India, Bhutan, Nepal, Burma, and specific areas of Tibet. It prefers to reside in shrubs and pine trees, thriving in the highland forests of these countries. Red-billed leiothrix lives in altitudes ranging from sea level to approximately 7,500 feet, and it only takes flight when it’s out in the open.
The Red-billed Leiothrix can usually be seen searching for sustenance in decaying wood and the lower portions of plants. It feeds on fully ripened papayas, guavas, and strawberries.
During the mating season, which spans from April to September, these feathered creatures form pairs and establish their territories. They construct open nests made up mainly of leaves, moss, and lichen in dense vegetation. The female lays two to four eggs with pale blue color and red dots on the bigger end. Upon hatching, the chicks display a vibrant red hue and a deep orange gape.
The introduction of this certain species in different locations has brought concerns about its impact on other bird species. Although it is not considered an imminent threat, the disappearance of several native species in Hawaii is attributed partly to the presence of L. lutea.