BREEDS & their NEEDS
GENERAL INFORMATION :
- Common Name/s: PEKIN ROBIN, RED BILLED
- The Pekin Robin is not a "Robin".
- Origin / Distribution: From the Himalayas to China.
- Status In Wild:
Has CITES Appendix II listing.
- Age To Sexual Maturity: ?
- Sexing: (Similar but visual sexing is possible)
- Colour mutations: None
- Has a pleasant song,
- they are inquisitive birds and will become fairly tame and take food
from the breeders hand.
- The attractive plumage (see picture above) has made the Pekin
Robin a sought after bird both for the bird breeders as well as a pet.
- The yellow throat and yellow-orange chest are much brighter in males
- whilst females lack the red patch on the primaries.
- Tail coverts are red in males and orange-buff in females.
- Care needs to be taken when using primaries for sexing, as different sub-species
have varying amounts present.
- Likewise some races are brighter in overall body colouration than others.
- If choosing a pair of birds, pick the two extremes :
- – in theory, the brightest should be a male, likewise, the
dullest a female.
- Another theory indicates that males have a redder beak and pale
- while females have dark legs and a paler beak.
- The Pekin Robin loves to preen and be preened.
Pekins are renowned songsters and it is the vocalisation
of the male
So much so that one Breeder, who seemed to be able to
imitate the call of a female, states that he could sex young as early as two
or three weeks of age by this means.
It seems extremely early and I would welcome confirmation
of this from other breeders if possible?
The call of the female is a simple two-syllable whistle
repeated up to five times.
That of the male has been described variously as
According to the above Breeder, "calling-females"
will illicit a response from both sexes if they are separated, thus enabling
- The Pekin Robin prefers a well planted aviary.
- Only one pair per aviary.
- They do not like to be on their
- If more than one cock bird is in the same aviary, the cock birds can
become aggressive to each
other during the breeding season.
- Pekin Robins like to bathe.
- This helps these birds keep their plumage in top condition.
Diet / Feeding:
- The Pekin Robin is a "Softbill"
- The name "Softbill" refers to their diet not their beak.
- Softbills feed on soft foods such as insects and plant materials and rely
less on hard seeds.
- They eat foods like fruit, insects and nectars.
- If a variety of Softbills are housed in one aviary, care must be taken to
satisfy the needs of
each type of Softbill.
- Separate feed stations should be provided.
- They will keep the Aviary free of
ants, earwigs, flies, moths and even spiders. (They only tend to
eat the spiders' body tho' and leave the legs in a gruesome pile
on the floor.)
- The Pekin Robin requires a
good quality finch mix
- Basic Finch seed mix should include
: Canary seed, White French Millet,
Yellow and Red Panicum millet.
- Seeding grasses
- some fruits (e.g. apple, figs), some berries and some leafy green
vegetables can be offered.
- Sprouted or soaked seed if available.
- Live food is essential especially at breeding season.
- Mealworms, crickets, small commercially bred cockroaches and small
locusts are ideal.
- Insects form the majority of its food intake.
- In the Wild :
- They will build a nest in a shrub or dry brush.
- In Captivity :
- they will use a wooden nest box with the top half of the front
- The Pekin Robin will build a cup shaped nest out of grasses, twigs,
mosses, short pieces of teased hessian and other materials.
- Nest is lined with feathers, soft materials and soft fine grasses.
- May use a half open nest box.
- If a nest box is to be used, the box should be placed in a concealed
place preferably behind some shrubbery to provide some privacy for the
WHO INCUBATES THE
- Adequate spare nest receptacles must be available for pairs nesting in
artificial nests before the current clutch leave the nest.
- Adequate new nest material must be available for the birds to rebuild the
old nest or build a new nest for the next clutch.
- Cocks are highly territorial once
- Egg Colour
: White with orange /brown spots on the larger end.
- Clutches per year
: 2 - 3.
- Eggs per nest
: 3 - 4.
: approx. 12-14 days.
: approx. 12 - 14 days.
: approx. another 3 - 4 weeks.
- Pekin Robin breeding pairs can be offered soft-bill rearing foods.
- They usually moult in autumn.
- Young should be removed from the parent birds as soon as they are fully
independent so as to avoid possible aggression from a parent.
(If you are ever in the unfortunate position that you have to save a
chick by Handrearing)
- Dried fruit-rearing mix with
egg-food mixed with warm water to a runny consistency
on age feed: tiny babies every 2 hours thru the day and
poss less during the night
- Lessening frequency with age,
- Keep warm.
- See page on
hand-rearing for further Tips.
SEXING IMMATURE YOUNGSTERS :
Chicks can be sexed at about a week old, just as the tail
coverts begin to show
– males are rusty red,
while those of the female are buff.
young can be sexed around 6-8 weeks, presumably by
the same method.
Sexing presents no problem with this species, if this
method is used.
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