We studied the breeding biology of the Fire-tailed Myzornis (Myzornis pyrrhoura) in an alpine environment (3000–3800 m) of the Gaoligong Mountains in southwestern China during its breeding seasons in 2013 and 2014. Nests were built by both sexes and mainly contained moss and rhododendron flakes. They were located on vertical banks or rock faces, about 20–152 cm above the ground. This species was socially monogamous and sexually dimorphic both in plumage pattern and body size. Egg-laying was mainly initiated in mid-April and ended in early July, and the mean date of clutch initiation was 25 April in 2013 (n = 4) and 27 April in 2014 (n =5), respectively. The clutch size averaged 3.00 ± 0.15 (n = 10), and fresh eggs weighed 1.84 ± 0.19 g (n = 11). Males and females made virtually equal contributions in breeding activities, including incubation, provisioning, brooding, and nest sanitation. Incubation lasted for 15 days (n = 2) with a notably high nest attendance (eggs were incubated 99.48% of the time). The total provisioning rates were 6.52 ± 1.82 (range = 3.29–10.29) trips per hour, a rate that did not change significantly throughout the nestling period. Nestlings fledged at 19.67 ± 0.33 (n = 3 nests) days after hatching, when they were 19% heavier than adults. Growth of nestlings met logistic expectations except for tail length. Overall, the reproductive success rate was 42.86%. Compared with other lower-elevation breeding babblers, Myzornis had larger and heavier nests, fewer but larger eggs, and a longer nestling period. These life-history traits may facilitate its reproduction in the cold alpine areas of the Gaoligong Mountains.
alpine breeding bird
life history traits