The Timaliidae family is a large group of songbirds close to thrush and common in the tropics and subtropics of Africa and Asia.
Outwardly, they resemble blackbirds, but by family ties they are close to thick-billed tits. The family includes up to 280 species of birds, grouped in 52-57 genera. They inhabit forest and shrub biotopes of tropical and subtropical zones of Asia, Australia, Oceania and Africa. The center of origin of the family is considered to be South Asia, where 139 species live, that is, half of the entire family.
On the territory of the CIS, the only species nests - the striped thymelia (Gatrulax lineatus), which lives in the south of Central Asia. The genus to which our thymelia belongs is central, that is, the largest, since there are up to 32 species in it.
Thymelia, or as they are also called, shrubs, have a collapsed or stepped tail, short wings, a straight beak with a slight bend along the ridge. Strong legs have tenacious toes that allow birds to quickly climb in dense thickets of bushes or forests. The plumage of birds is rather dense and loose. The color is dominated by brown colors, occasionally it is bright and multicolored. Khokhols and other feather ornaments and areas of bare skin are also common.
Thymelia - sedentary birds nest in dense thickets of bushes. Nests are arranged low above the ground or on its surface. These are bowl-shaped sloppy constructions that the thymelia build from plant material - stems, leaves, thin roots, pieces of moss, etc. They are somewhat reminiscent of warbler nests, but less durable. In clutch there are 2-4, less often 5-6 eggs of white, blue or variegated color. Both parents incubate eggs and feed chicks. Like thick-billed tits, thymelia are very contact birds. Mating partners constantly correct and clean each other's plumage with their beaks. In flocks, in which thymelia gather after the nesting period, the birds are also very friendly. Periodically, when feeding the chicks, the nesting pair is helped by other thymelia, the so-called "helpers". In this they are similar to mockingbirds and some other passerines.
Thymelia feed in crowns, but more often on the ground, eating various invertebrates, seeds, small fruits. This circumstance, that is, the omnivorousness of birds, attracts lovers to them. But this is not the main reason for the attractiveness of birds. Thymelia are smart, mobile birds that easily get used to humans and become tame, they are wonderful mockingbirds, and include the voices of various forest dwellers in their flute songs.
You never get tired of being amazed at their onomatopoeic abilities. Especially cleverly, the thymelia imitated chicken clucking. Chickens, after laying the next egg, begin to loudly notify others about this. This is done not only by domestic chickens, but also by their wild relatives. In a dense multi-tiered forest or in secondary low-growing forests, you can hear such clucking very often. So, most of these sounds are made not by chickens, but by thymelia.
Thymelia have long been caged by bird lovers in China, Southeast Asia and India. Usually they are placed in small cages, one bird at a time. In Vietnam, favorite pets are white-crested (Garrulax leucolophus), Chinese, or white-eared (Garrulax chinensis) thymelia, hvamei (Garrulax canorus) and some others. They are fairly large birds, about the size of a starling or larger.
White-crested thymelia is often found in European zoos. A couple of these birds have lived in the Moscow Zoo for many years. Their head and lower body are snow-white. On the head is a large crest of long feathers, reminiscent of the crest of a jay, for which this type of thymelia received another name - jay. The back is brown. A black stripe extends from the beak through the eye. This thimelia has a very loud voice. The song combines the sounds of a flute and rough laughter. In captivity, they sometimes breed. Mixed food - berries, various fruits, cereals, wet mash and insects.
Blue gold-backed surgeon (glaucopareius)
Gold-Rimmed Surgeon, Black (Whitecheek) Surgeonfish
Up to 15 centimeters.
This species is sometimes called A. glaucopareius. A small surgeon, similar in color to a closely related Japanese surgeon (Acanthurus japonicus). The body is dark gray with a bluish tint. The bases of the dorsal and anal fins, as well as the caudal spine, are yellow; in some individuals, the entire hind part of the body turns yellow. The tail is white with a bluish tint and a yellow stripe closer to the edge. White or bluish edges are visible along the edges of the fins. Elongated white spots are located under the eye and on the sides of the lips. Juveniles are colored similarly, but less contrasting. Sexual dimorphism is not pronounced.
It differs from the Japanese surgeon by the absence of an orange stripe on the dorsal fin, the location of the yellow stripe on the tail, and a small white spot under the eye.
Widespread in the Indo-Pacific. It is found from the Indo-Malay archipelago to Japan in the north and the Mexican coast in the east.
Inhabits reef habitats with clean, transparent water. It predominantly prefers to swim in shallow waters above reef plateaus or in lagoons, and occurs at depths of up to 70 meters. A territorial species, it usually lives alone, only occasionally forming flocks. Young people often use large corals as shelters. In nature, it feeds almost exclusively on algae, preferring long-stemmed species.
Keeping in the aquarium
This species is more capricious than the very popular Japanese surgeon. It is rarely imported, and does not always take root in aquariums, as it is susceptible to many diseases. However, one of its indisputable advantages is the ease with which it switches to unusual food; in the aquarium, representatives of this species become almost omnivorous. To keep one individual, an aquarium of 300 liters or more is required, in which there is a lot of free space for swimming. Good lighting is necessary. Temperature 22 - 26 degrees, pH 8.1 - 8.4.
The basis of the diet is vegetable food: algae, lettuce, dry food for herbivorous fish. It is also necessary to add animal food: shrimp, mussels, squid meat. Feed three times a day.
This surgeon is perfect for a reef aquarium without disturbing or damaging invertebrates. It tends to show aggression towards representatives of its own species and other surgeons, reacts calmly to other fish. He can live with other surgeons only in a very spacious aquarium with a large number of shelters, subject to simultaneous settlement.