Pekin Robin.jpg (36888 bytes)

Leiothrix lutea  

Pekin_Robin._front.jpg (12784 bytes)
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    • 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
  • Temperament:
    • 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 legs
    • 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

    • (or lack of it in the female) which is the most reliable method of identifying the sexes.

  • 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 tee-tee-tee-tee-tee-tee…

  • According to the above Breeder, "calling-females" will illicit a response from both sexes if they are separated, thus enabling sexing.



  • The Pekin Robin prefers a well planted aviary. 
  • Only one pair per aviary. 
  • They do not like to be on their own
  • 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, Japanese 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.



Nesting receptacles:
  • 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 removed.


  • 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 birds.



  • Both Hen & cock share
  • 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 nesting begins.



  • Egg Colour  : White with orange /brown spots on the larger end. 
  • Clutches per year :  2 - 3. 
  • Eggs per nest   : 3 - 4.
  • Incubation   :  approx. 12-14 days. 
  • Fledge   :  approx. 12 - 14 days. 
  • Independent  :  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
  • Depending on age feed: tiny babies every 2 hours thru the day and poss less during the night
  • Lessening frequency with age, growth etc.,
  • Keep warm.
  • See page on hand-rearing for further Tips.


  • 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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