Leiothrix lutea ssp. astleyi Delacour

Astley’s Red-billed Leiothrix (Leiothrix lutea ssp. astleyi)

Astley’s Red-billed Leiothrix, described in 1921, is apparently known from two specimens, a male and a female that were found in an aviary somewhere in China.

This form differs from the other subspecies by its forehead and crown being strongly tinged with orange-scarlet instead of being olive green; by the eyebrows and ear coverts being likewise strongly tinged with orange-scarlet instead of being greyish or greenish white; the breast is said to be strongly scarlet instead of yellow and orange; the female is paler and has the ear coverts are yellowish orange. 

According to this description these birds were superficially obviously quite similar to the one depicted below.

Astley’s Red-billed Leiothrix, whose taxonomical status is disputed, has never been recorded since its description and, if indeed it is a distinct taxon, is now extinct. [1]


syn. Leiothrix astleyi Delacour


Red-billed Leiothrix (Leiothrix lutea ssp.) unspecified subspecies, photographed in Japan where it has been introduced and is now feral

Photo: Alpsdake



[1] Julian P. Hume: Extinct Birds. 2. Edition. Bloomsbury Natural History 2017


edited: 22.01.2024