Family Old World Warblers and Parrotbills (Sylviidae)

Least Concern

Ashy-throated Parrotbill (Sinosuthora alphonsiana)


French: Paradoxornis à gorge cendrée German: Graukehl-Papageimeise Spanish: Picoloro gorjigrís

Suthora Alphonsiana

J. P. Verreaux

, 1871,

#R, “les montagnes du Thibet chinois”; type from Chengdu, Sichuan, China


Considered conspecific with S. webbiana and S. brunnea by some authors. Where range overlaps with that of former, the two sometimes form mixed flocks in which occasional hybrids reported, e.g. in Vietnam (near Sa Pa, in W Tonkin), and hybrids seen also in NW Italy (where both species introduced); in China, interbreeding reported in 1938 in C Sichuan, and a number of earlier specimens from that region were considered to exhibit a range of features intermediate between the two species, but insufficient details available; has been suggested that race ganluoensis is one such intermediate form, but this highly unlikely, as its range is not in overlap zone but closer to that of S. brunnea. Race stresemanni sometimes merged with nominate, but much closer to, and possibly synonymous with, yunnanensis. Introduced birds of present species in Europe may represent an undescribed race; further study required. Four subspecies ­recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • S. a. alphonsiana (J. P. Verreaux, 1871) – C & SC Sichuan, in C China.
  • S. a. ganluoensis (Li Guiyuan & Zhang Qingmao, 1980) – Ganluo region of SC Sichuan (China).
  • S. a. stresemanni (Yen Kwokyung, 1934) – Guizhou and adjacent SE Sichuan, in SC China.
  • S. a. yunnanensis (La Touche, 1921) – extreme S China (SE Yunnan and NW Guangxi)#R and extreme N Vietnam (NW Tonkin).
  • Introduced in Europe#R (Lombardy, in NW Italy).

    Descriptive notes

    12·5–13 cm; 8–13 g. Nominate race has chestnut crown to nape sharply demarcated from cold dark brown upperparts; upperwing and tail dark brown, flight-feathers... read more


    Sings with loud, high-pitched series of 3–4 notes (usually 4 notes), delivered with varying... read more


    Scrub, grass, thickets, tea plantations, forest edge. Recorded at 1100–1500 m in Vietnam; 320... read more

    Food and feeding

    Seeds. Except when breeding, found in fast-moving parties of 10–40 or more individuals; sometimes associates with S. webbiana... read more


    Apr–Aug in China. Nest a cup-shaped structure made of bamboo or other leaves, grass, bits of fern, moss, cobwebs, bark, ears of wheat... read more


    Sedentary. Although the feral numbers of the species have built up very quickly in NW Italy, the... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Considered to be fairly common throughout its rather restricted natural range in China and N Vietnam. In Europe, this species has recently become... read more

    Recommended citation

    Robson, C. (2020). Ashy-throated Parrotbill (Sinosuthora alphonsiana). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 26 February 2020).