Sooty Bushtit

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 the Daba Mountains of southern Shaanxi and western Hubei. There is a record from Dongzhai in Dabie Mountains in Henan. Resident. Often in the 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. Monotypic. Distinctive; only local bushtit 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. Tiny, conical bill black; feet black; iris pale yellow. Continuous, rattling chirrs and thin, high whistles. — Craig Brelsford


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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