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Rufous Sibia - BirdForum Opus

(Redirected from Heterophasia capistrata)

Alternative names: Black-capped Sibia; Black-headed Sibia

Nominate subspecies
Photo by Alok Tewari
Mahavatar Babaji Cave, Alt. 7500 ft., Dist. Almora, Uttarakhand Himalayas, India, April-2018
Heterophasia capistrata


With 21 - 24cm (8¼-9½ in); a slender, buffy-rufous Babbler1:

  • Rufous with black cap
  • Shaggy crest
  • Black-and-grey wings
  • Black subterminal band and grey tip on tail

Juveniles have a brownish-black cap.


Nigriceps is much darker and brighter rufous-brown, bayleyi has a cold greyish-brown saddle.

subspecies H. c. bayleyi
Photo by Yeshey Dorji
Dechenphu, Western Bhutan, November 2004


Found in the Himalayas. From NE Pakistan (Muree Hills) over Kashmir to Nepal, Sikkim, Bhutan and NE India. Also found in some parts of adjacent Tibet.
Commonest Sibia in the Himalayas and abundant in some parts of its range.1


May form a superspecies with Grey Sibia.
Some authorities have placed this species in the genus Malacias. The scientific names is spelled then Malacias capistratus1


Three subspecies are usually recognized1, 2:

  • H. c. capistrata:
  • H. c. nigriceps:
  • H. c. bayleyi:


Mainly evergreen oak forest, also mixed broadleaf-coniferous forest, secondary growth, scrub, near cultivations or gardens. Found between 1200m to 3410m, in harsh winters locally down to 100m.1



Feeds on insects and berries, also nectar (particulary rhododenron). Hunts mainly in the canopy.
Usually in single-species groups of up to 20 birds outside breeding season. Occasionally in bird waves with other Babblers.


Breeding season from April to August. The nest is a cup, made of green moss, dry grasses and dry leaves, placed in a tree or bush, some 7 - 8m above ground. Lays 2 - 3 eggs.


Resident species with some altitudinal movement.14


Has a wonderful song; this was recorded in breeding season.
Occasional calls of Eurasian Jay and Ashy Drongo are also heard in the recording.

Recording © by Alok Tewari
Dalhousie Hill Station, forest-edge, altitude 6900 feet above MSL, Himachal Pradesh, Himalayas, India, 30 May 2023, 6.15 pm.


Click on photo for larger image


  1. Del Hoyo, J, A Elliott, and D Christie, eds. 2007. Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 12: Picathartes to Tits and Chickadees. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions. ISBN 978-8496553422
  2. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2016. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2016, with updates to August 2016. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/

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