Family Old World Warblers and Parrotbills (Sylviidae)

Least Concern

Black-throated Parrotbill (Suthora nipalensis)


French: Paradoxornis à menton noir German: Grauohr-Papageimeise Spanish: Picoloro gorjinegro

[Parus] Suthora Nipalensis


, 1837,

Kathmandu Valley, Nepal


Has in the past been considered conspecific with S. verreauxi, but is very distinct morphologically; race craddocki of that species has erroneously been listed for present species by some authors. Races distinctive, forming five groups: “nipalensis group”, “humii group”, “poliotis group”, “ripponi group” and “beaulieui group”; race crocotia here placed with humii group, but perhaps a semi-stable hybrid population. These groups treated as species by some authors#R and genetic evidence tends to support such an arrangement#R, but full presentation and evaluation of diagnostic (including vocal) characters lacking. Proposed race daflaensis (from Dafla Hills, in NE India) currently synonymized with poliotis, but specimens appear to show signs of intergradation towards latter, rather than being identical with it; further study required. Birds observed in NE Thailand (Phu Lang) and S Laos of uncertain racial identity; presumed to belong with, respectively, beaulieui and kamoli, but corroboration needed. Also, claimed sightings of race beaulieui at Ngoc Linh Kon Tum (within range of kamoli) merit investigation. Ten subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • S. n. garhwalensis (R. L. Fleming & Traylor, 1964) – Uttarakhand (NE Garhwal and Almora), in N India.
  • S. n. nipalensis Hodgson, 1837 – Black-throated Parrotbill – W & C Nepal.
  • S. n. humii Sharpe, 1883 – Orange-eared Parrotbill – E Nepal E to C Bhutan (E to Zhemgang).
  • S. n. crocotia Kinnear, 1954 – E Bhutan (Yonpu La, Deothang) and adjacent NE India (Shakti, in extreme W Arunachal Pradesh).
  • S. n. poliotis Blyth, 1851 – Grey-breasted Parrotbill – Arunachal Pradesh (E from R Dihang, at least) S in NE India to N Manipur, S Assam (Cachar) and Khasi Hills, E to W & N Myanmar and S China (NW Yunnan).
  • S. n. feae Salvadori, 1889 – E & S Myanmar and W & NW Thailand.
  • S. n. patriciae Koelz, 1954 – Mizoram, in NE India.
  • S. n. ripponi Sharpe, 1905 – Buff-breasted Parrotbill – W Myanmar on Mt Victoria (Chin Hills).
  • S. n. beaulieui (Ripley, 1953) – Black-eared Parrotbill – NE Thailand (Phu Luang), N & C Laos and Vietnam (N Annam).
  • S. n. kamoli (J. C. Eames, 2002) – C Vietnam (Ngoc Linh, in C Annam) and E part of S Laos.
  • Descriptive notes

    11·5 cm; 5–6·5 g (poliotis), male 6–7 g and female 5·5 g (humii). Nominate race has brownish mid-grey crown and nape,... read more


    Sings with strange, extended, high, wheezy, buzzy, nasal notes, “chu’írrr-d... read more


    Bamboo and undergrowth in broadleaf evergreen, oak (Quercus), rhododendron (... read more

    Food and feeding

    Small insects, bits of bamboo, bamboo buds, and grass seeds etc.; seen to feed on seeds of autumn-olive (Elaeagnus umbellata var.... read more


    Mar–Jul. Nest (of race poliotis) described as a tiny, neat and compact cup-shaped structure made of bamboo leaves and fine... read more


    Largely sedentary; some minor local altitudinal movements brought on by cold weather.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Common to locally common, and widespread. Generally commoner in Himalayan part of its range than it is farther E.

    Recommended citation

    Robson, C. & de Juana, E. (2020). Black-throated Parrotbill (Suthora nipalensis). 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 24 February 2020).