Unveiling the Secret World of the Taiwan Yuhina: A Charming Songbird Unique to Taiwan

The Taiwan yuhina, also known as the Formosan yuhina, is a small songbird that is endemic to the island of Taiwan. It belongs to the family Timaliidae and is closely related to white-eyes. Its closest living relative is the black-chinned yuhina, which occurs on the Asian mainland.

The Taiwan yuhina is a distinctive bird, measuring 12-13 cm in length. It has a chocolate brown crest and a black beard stripe descending from its beak. Its back, wings, and tail are dark ash brown, and its lower breast is lighter in color.

This species is typically found in hill forests at elevations of 1,000–3,200 m above sea level, although it is most common between 1,500–2,500 m. It is gregarious, active, and quite tame. It often joins other species, especially tits, in mixed flocks. The flocks, while feeding, make a constant soft chatter. The call of the Taiwan yuhina is a sound somewhat like twi-MI-chiu, which resembles the phrase “We MEET you”.

The Taiwan yuhina’s diet mainly consists of nectar, berries, flowers, and small insects. It may sometimes be observed hanging upside down on cherry trees. These songbirds are particularly fond of the flowers of the Chinese tulip tree and the fruits of trees of the family Elaeagnaceae and the genus Idesia (Salicaceae).

During the breeding season, which lasts from May to June, the Taiwan yuhina’s diet mostly consists of nectar and fruits of Taiwan cherry (Prunus campanulata), fruits of eastern debregeasia (Debregeasia orientalis), and the nectar of mistletoe Taxillus lonicerifolius.

The Taiwan yuhina is a beautiful and important bird species, and its habitat in Taiwan’s hill forests should be preserved for future generations to appreciate and enjoy.

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