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Rufous-bellied Niltava - BirdForum Opus

Subspecies N. s. Whistleri, male
Photo © by Alok Tewari
Sattal Forest, Alt. 5500 ft., Dist. Nainital, Western Himalayas, India, 21 November 2019
Niltava sundara


15–18 cm (6-7 in)

  • Pale blue crown
  • Dark blue face, throat and upper back
  • Sandy-brown underparts


Nominate subspecies, male
Photo © by prabhatjee
Neora Valley, West Bengal, India, January-2018

Asia: found in China, Tibet, Nepal
South Asia: Pakistan, India, Eastern and Western Himalayas, Bhutan
Southeast Asia: Indochina, Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam, Thailand



There are 3 subspecies[1]:

  • N. s. sundara :
  • N. s. whistleri :
  • N. s. denotata:


Broad-leafed evergreen and mixed conifer and deciduous forests, where they spend their time in bushes and the undergrowth.


Subspecies N. s. Whistleri, female
Photo © by Alok Tewari
Sat Tal Forest, Alt. 5500 ft., Uttarakhand Himalayas, India, October-2018


Their diet consists of invertebrates and larvae; particularly ants, beetles and cockchafers.


The nest is built jointly by the pair and is constructed from moss, fern stems, leaves and fine roots.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2018. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2018. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Avibase
  3. Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive (retrieved July 2018)

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