Family Laughingthrushes and allies (Leiotrichidae)

Least Concern

Brown-cheeked Fulvetta (Alcippe poioicephala)


French: Alcippe à joues brunes German: Graukopfalcippe Spanish: Fulveta cariparda
Other common names: Brown-cheeked Nun-babbler

Thimalia [sic] poioicephala


, 1841,

Coonoor Ghat, Nilgiri Hills, India


Has sometimes been considered conspecific with A. pyrrhoptera. Races in peninsular India (nominate and brucei), with somewhat different songs from those of other races#R, considered possibly to represent a separate species, but plumage distinctions weak. Eight subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • A. p. brucei A. O. Hume, 1870 – C & S India.
  • A. p. poioicephala (Jerdon, 1841) – Indian Brown-cheeked Fulvetta – Western Ghats, in W India.
  • A. p. fusca Godwin-Austen, 1877 – E Bangladesh and NE India (S Assam) E to N, NW & NC Myanmar.
  • A. p. phayrei Blyth, 1845 – SW Myanmar (E to R Irrawaddy).
  • A. p. haringtoniae E. J. O. Hartert, 1909 – E Myanmar and NW Thailand.
  • A. p. alearis (Bangs & Van Tyne, 1930) – S China (S Yunnan), N & C Laos, N Vietnam (W Tonkin) and N Thailand.
  • A. p. karenni Robinson & Kloss, 1923 – Oriental Brown-cheeked Fulvetta – SE & S Myanmar (S to N Tenasserim) and adjacent W Thailand.
  • A. p. davisoni Harington, 1915 – extreme S Myanmar (S Tenasserim) and N peninsular Thailand.
  • Descriptive notes

    16·5 cm; 17–23 g. Relatively large “nun-babbler” with greyish-buff head side, distinctly buff underparts; lacks white eyering. Nominate race has... read more


    Sings with repeated pleasant phrases of spaced, fairly even notes, which usually rise at end,... read more


    Bushes and small trees in evergreen and mixed moist deciduous forest, teak, secondary growth,... read more

    Food and feeding

    Ants and other insects; also nectar, particularly of Erythrina. Usually found in parties of 6–10 individuals, sometimes up... read more


    Jan–Nov in India, Mar–Sept in Bangladesh and Jan–Sept in SE Asia. Nest a roughly built compact deep cup, sometimes almost... read more


    Resident; described as a local migrant in Kaziranga National Park, in India, but this not... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. In India, common in W Mysore S to W Tamil Nadu; locally very common in hills of peninsular India; uncommon in Kaziranga and Nameri National Parks (... read more

    Recommended citation

    Collar, N. & Robson, C. (2020). Brown-cheeked Fulvetta (Alcippe poioicephala). 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).