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Silver-eared Mesia Leiothrix argentauris tahanensis   - Nest building
Silver-eared Mesia
Photographer : © Amar-Singh HSS
Location :1,600-1,700m ASL, Cameron Highlands, Pahang, Malaysia
Date : 29 May 2018
English synonyms:Silver eared Leiothrix, Silver eared Mesia, Silver-eared Leiothrix, Sumatran Mesia (laurinae, rookmakeri)
Bird Family :Timaliidae - Babblers, Babaxes, Mesia, Leiothrix, Cutias, Barwings, Minlas, Fulvettas, Crociases, Sibias, Yuhinas, Myzornis, Parrotbills & Rhabdornises
Bird Group :PASSERIFORMES
Red Data Status :Least Concern
Remarks :My wife and I were fortunate to come across some Silver-eared Mesias building a nest. There were at the finishing end of nest building and were at the stage where the nest hollow was being lined with dried leaves. The nest was located ~ 3 to 3.5 meters up in a small tree that was growing on a slope. It was well ‘camouflaged’ by the foliage. The nest consisted of dried leaves from a variety of plants including long Pandanus and fern (bracken) species as well as many other ‘common’ leaf types. Trailing bryophytes and roots of possible epiphytes were also used to wrap the nest. No nest measurements were made as we did not approach the nest. Leaves and nesting material were not collected not near the nest but some distance away (out of sight). Of interest is that at least 3 birds were involved in nest building. All looked equally active and involved. Two were adult males and one an adult female. This strongly suggests that this species uses nest helpers. There could be more birds involved in the nest building, coming and going, but we can only be sure of 3 birds present at the same time.
Disclosure: We saw this nest and nest building birds while on a trail. We used only handheld photography with a long lens (600mm x 1.5 DX format), with no flash, and were about 6-7 meters from the nest (restricted by logistics). They were generally comfortable with our presence and continued building. We sat on the ground and watched 7 nest building episodes over ~ 8 minutes, took a few images and then left.
-Amar
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