Family Laughingthrushes and allies (Leiotrichidae)

Least Concern

Silver-eared Mesia (Leiothrix argentauris)


French: Léiothrix à joues argent German: Silberohr-Sonnenvogel Spanish: Leiótrix cariblanco

[Mesia] Mesia Argentauris


, 1837,



Hitherto treated as conspecific with L. laurinae (which see). Described races vernayi (NW Assam, N Myanmar and W Yunnan) and aureigularis (S Assam, W Myanmar) provisionally included in nominate. Five subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • L. a. argentauris (Hodgson, 1837) – E Uttarakhand E to Bhutan, NE Indian hill states, N & W Myanmar and adjacent S China (SE Xizang, W & NW Yunnan).
  • L. a. galbana (Mayr & Greenway, 1938) – E & SE Myanmar (including Tenasserim) and N & W Thailand.
  • L. a. ricketti (La Touche, 1923) – S China (S & SE Yunnan, S Guizhou, SW Guangxi), N & C Laos and N Vietnam (Tonkin and N Annam).
  • L. a. cunhaci (Robinson & Kloss, 1919) – S Laos, Vietnam (C & S Annam) and adjacent E Cambodia.
  • L. a. tahanensis (Yen Kwokyung, 1934) – S Thailand and Peninsular Malaysia.
  • Introduced in Hong Kong.

    Descriptive notes

    15·5–17 cm; 22–29 g. Smallish babbler in bright, neat colours, black on head with glistening silver ear-coverts, yellow breast, and red wing patch and tail... read more


    Song a repeated, cheerful, loud, clearly spaced, descending “che tchu-tchu che-rit” or... read more


    Bushes, undergrowth, lower and middle storeys in more open broadleaf evergreen, pine and mixed... read more

    Food and feeding

    Insects and their larvae, including ants (Formicidae); also berries, fruits and seeds, including those of cultivated maize (Zea).... read more


    Season Nov–Aug (from Apr in N areas); song in Bhutan Apr–Aug, with peak late Apr. Nest, built by both sexes over c. 4 days, a... read more


    Resident. Reported status as common winter visitor in Nameri National Park, in Assam (India),... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). CITES II. Generally common in suitable habitat. Local in Nepal, rare in W to frequent in E. In Bhutan common but rather scattered... read more

    Recommended citation

    Collar, N., Robson, C. & Christie, D.A. (2020). Silver-eared Mesia (Leiothrix argentauris). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 24 February 2020).