The Ashy-throated Parrotbill, Paradoxornis alphonsianus, is a parrotbill. Formerly considered a distinct family, they are now placed with the typical warblers in the Sylviidae (Jønsson & Fjeldså 2006).
This is a medium-sized tawny coloured parrotbill with a large bill. The specific name commemorates the French ornithologist Alphonse Milne-Edwards.
The range of this species extends from south-west China to northern Vietnam. Here it inhabits bamboo stands and areas with tall grasses.
The naturalised population in Italy
A population of parrotbills was first discovered in northern Italy in 1995, at the Brabbia Swamp Nature Reserve, Varese. In March 1998, 21 individuals were captured and photographed, and this enabled the identification of the birds as Ashy-throated Parrotbills, through examination of photographs on the World Wide Web and by consultation with parrotbill experts. The birds here are found in areas with willow, tall wetland herbs and reeds.
By 1999, the population at this site had grown to at least a hundred individuals; in December 1998, the species was also observed in two localities on the Lake of Varese.
The presence of this population is believed to result from birds escaping from a nearby bird-trader. See Boto et al. (1999) for more detailed information.