The fire-breasted flowerpecker is one of the most distinctive of all the flowerpeckers, being unusually strongly sexually dimorphic for the flowerpecker family. They play an important role in the dispersal of fruiting plants, feeding primarily on berries. Of the bird, John George Wood wrote in 1862:
… the Fire-breasted Myzanthe (Myzanthe ignipectus), a bird which is remarkable as being the smallest bird of India. So very small is this beautiful little bird, that an adult specimen is hardly two and a half inches in total length, and weighs only three and a half drachms. In its habits it is very like the Dicaeum, frequenting the tops of trees, and keeping itself well out of sight…The Illustrated Natural History (1862)
Keeping itself “well out of sight” is indeed something true of this bird, as I have never seen it before in Hong Kong, and many fellow birders have not been able to record it. On its size, it is indeed very small, although I am not sure if it is actually the smallest bird in HK. Pallas’ leaf warbler and the fork-tailed sunbirds would be contenders for that title, I think.
This one was found at Lung Fu Shan on the morning of 4 January.