Family Old World Flycatchers and Chats (Muscicapidae)

Least Concern

Blue Whistling-thrush (Myophonus caeruleus)


French: Arrenga siffleur German: Purpurpfeifdrossel Spanish: Arrenga común

Gracula (caerulea

) Scopoli

, 1786,

Canton, China


Race flavirostris has been considered possibly to merit full species status, but basis for such a separation unclear. Birds from Tien Shan S to Pamirs described as race turcestanicus, but considered inseparable from temminckii. Six subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • M. c. caeruleus (Scopoli, 1786) – Black-billed Whistling-thrush – C & E China (from SE Gansu and E Sichuan, E to N Hebei and Zhejiang, S to Guangdong and Guangxi); non-breeding also S to E Myanmar, N Thailand, Laos and N Vietnam.
  • M. c. temminckii Vigors, 1831 – #RW Tien Shan S to Afghanistan, and E through Himalayas and NE India to S China (E to N, W & SW Sichuan) and N & NE Myanmar; non-breeding at lower altitudes below breeding range.
  • M. c. eugenei A. O. Hume, 1873 – C, E & SE Myanmar, W, N & E Thailand, S China (C & S Yunnan and SW Guangxi)#R and N & C Indochina.
  • M. c. crassirostris Robinson, 1910 – SE Thailand, Cambodia and Malay Peninsula (S to Kedah on W coast and Haadyai on E).
  • M. c. dichrorhynchus Salvadori, 1879 – Malay Peninsula (S of Kedah and Pattani) and Sumatra.
  • M. c. flavirostris (Horsfield, 1821) – Yellow-billed Whistling-thrush – Java.
  • Descriptive notes

    29–35 cm; 136–231 g. Male nominate race is bluish-black, upper body to rump covered with metallic violet-blue spots, with concentration from forehead to crown... read more


    Song, given all year, generally from tree or cliff, sometimes briefly in flight, is a long... read more


    Broadleaf evergreen and mixed deciduous forests and more open bush with scattered larger trees,... read more

    Food and feeding

    Invertebrates such as water beetles, ants and other hymenopterans, cockchafer larvae, dung beetles, slugs, snails, crabs, froglets,... read more


    Apr–Aug in N & W of range; Apr–Jul in Nepal; Feb–Apr in extreme S Myanmar, later in rest of country, with second... read more


    Resident, but subject to vertical movements. In Himalayas winters mostly down to foothills, but in... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Common in most of range wherever watercourses present. In Afghanistan, one of commonest species along rivers and side-streams in Nuristan; familiar... read more

    Recommended citation

    Collar, N. (2020). Blue Whistling-thrush (Myophonus caeruleus). 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 28 February 2020).