Grey-hooded Fulvetta Fulvetta cinereiceps was formerly considered conspecific with Manipur fulvetta and Taiwan fulvetta. Species as currently described is endemic to China, with fessa resident in southern Ningxia, Gansu, Shaanxi, and northern Sichuan; nominate from central Sichuan east to western Guizhou; fucata in western Hubei and parts of Guizhou, Guangxi, and Hunan; and guttaticollis in Fujian and Guangdong. Forages actively in undergrowth in mountainous broadleaf and coniferous forests and bamboo thickets, to 3400 m in summer, to 1100 m in winter. Feeds primarily on insects, but also takes seeds. Usually found in small flocks. Grey hood on large head extends to throat and breast. Mantle, rump, belly, vent, and wings mostly rufous-brown, with white edging to black primaries; longish tail brown. Crown and mantle brown in guttaticollis. Lateral crown stripe and streaking on throat faint or missing. Manipur fulvetta has distinct lateral crown stripe. Spectacled fulvetta has dark irides and contrasting rufous-brown crown. Sooty bushtit has distinct, dark breast band and dark-brown crown. Irides pale; bill black; feet pinkish-brown. Grating, busy chattering and clearly enunciated whistles.
Daniel Bengtsson served as chief ornithological consultant for Craig Brelsford’s Photographic Field Guide to the Birds of China, from which this species description is drawn.