Sooty Bushtit

Sooty Bushtit
Sooty Bushtit Aegithalos fuliginosus, Jiuzhaigou, Sichuan, China, August. (Craig Brelsford)
Sooty Bushtit
Sooty Bushtit subduing caterpillar, Foping National Nature Reserve (33.687758, 107.853705), Shaanxi, China, elev. 2220 m (7,280 ft.), May. (Craig Brelsford)
Sooty Bushtit
Sooty Bushtit, Tangjiahe National Nature Reserve (32.638397, 104.811967), Sichuan, elev. 2320 m (7,610 ft.), May. (Craig Brelsford)
Sooty Bushtit
Foping (33.687758, 107.853705), Shaanxi, elev. 2220 m (7,280 ft.), May. (Craig Brelsford)

Endemic to central China, Sooty Bushtit Aegithalos fuliginosus occurs in Qionglai Mountains in Sichuan, Minshan in northern Sichuan and southern Gansu, Qinling Mountains of Shaanxi, and Daba Mountains of southern Shaanxi and western Hubei. There is a record from Dongzhai in Dabie Mountains in Henan. HABITAT & BEHAVIOR Shrub layer of mixed forests. Outside breeding season, busy parties of up to 40 birds forage for insects and berries among rhododendrons and bamboo. Sometimes in mixed flocks with Black-browed Bushtit A. bonvaloti. ID & COMPARISON Distinctive; only bushtit in region without black patterning on head. Median crown-stripe, rear cheeks, mantle, and wings brown. Tail slightly darker brown with white sides. Face sides and throat grey and separated by brown moustachial line. White half-collar separates throat from brown breast band. Belly greyish-white, with pinkish flanks. Juvenile has white median crown-stripe and throat and blackish lateral crown-stripe and breast band. Grey-hooded Fulvetta lacks breast band and has completely grey hood. BARE PARTS Tiny conical bill black; feet black; iris pale yellow. VOICE Continuous, rattling chirrs and thin, high whistles. — Craig Brelsford

THE BUSHTITS OF CHINA covers all 8 species of long-tailed tit in China. Click any link below:

Long-tailed Tit Aegithalos caudatus
Silver-throated Bushtit A. glaucogularis
Black-throated Bushtit A. concinnus
Rufous-fronted Bushtit A. iouschistos
Black-browed Bushtit A. bonvaloti
Sooty Bushtit A. fuliginosus
White-browed Tit-warbler Leptopoecile sophiae
Crested Tit-warbler L. elegans


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.

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