The last of the passerines currently on show at Bristol Zoo is the Chesnut-backed thrush, Geocichla dohertyi. A native of the Lesser Sunda islands, Lombok, and Timor in Indonesia, it is already extinct on Lombok and is declining, mainly as a result of deforestation and local bird trapping, in the rest of its range. As a result it is classed by the IUCN as Near Threatened, and the wild population is estimated at around 25,000 individuals. The captive population, both in zoos worldwide and in private hands, is probably under 200.
Officially with the English name of Red-billed Leiothrix, I still prefer the original name Pekin Robin for Leiothrix lutea. Belonging to the same family (Leiothicidae) as last weeks’ Sumatran Laughingthrush, it is a much smaller bird, about the same size as a European Robin (15cm beak to tail length) and with a very sweet song. As a result, it featured heavily in the cage bird trade for many years, although imports to Europe are now banned under EU rules.