Family Finches (Fringillidae)

Least Concern

Brown Bullfinch (Pyrrhula nipalensis)


French: Bouvreuil brun German: Schuppenkopfgimpel Spanish: Camachuelo pardo

Pyrrhula nipalensis


, 1836,

central and northern Nepal


Hitherto treated as conspecific with P. waterstradti. Race ricketti scarcely separable from nominate and perhaps better subsumed within it. Four subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • P. n. nipalensis Hodgson, 1836 – Himalayas from Himachal Pradesh E to NE India (to S Assam) and SW China (SE Xizang).
  • P. n. ricketti La Touche, 1905 – NE India (Arunachal Pradesh, SE Assam and Nagaland), S & SE China (E Xizang to W Sichuan, and NW Yunnan E to Fujian and Guangdong), N Myanmar and NW Vietnam (W Tonkin).
  • P. n. uchidai Nagamichi Kuroda, 1916 – Taiwan.
  • P. n. victoriae Rippon, 1906 – W Myanmar (Chin Hills) and adjacent India.
  • Present also in SC Vietnam (S Annam), race undescribed.

    Descriptive notes

    16–17 cm; 18–29 g. Medium-sized to large, blunt-billed bullfinch with long and slightly notched tail. Male nominate race has lower forehead, lores and line around base of... read more


    Song, usually from cover or within top of tree canopy, a repeated soft and mellow “pi-puee”, “u’iih... read more


    In most of range inhabits undergrowth in dense fir (Abies) and deciduous forests,... read more

    Food and feeding

    Mostly various seeds, blossom, buds and berries of trees (including conifers) and bushes; also nectar from rhododendron flowers. Forages in... read more


    Almost nothing known; in Nepal, a bird seen carrying nesting material in Jun.


    Resident and partial altitudinal migrant. Part of population moves short distances in non-breeding... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Locally common to uncommon in Himalayas. Locally fairly common in China. Scarce to uncommon in N & W Myanmar and N & SC... read more

    Recommended citation

    Clement, P. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Brown Bullfinch (Pyrrhula 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 16 December 2019).