Family Vireos (Vireonidae)

Least Concern

Chestnut-fronted Shrike-babbler (Pteruthius aenobarbus)


French: Allotrie à front marron German: Rotstirn-Würgervireo Spanish: Vireo alcaudón frenticastaño

Allotrius ænobarbus


, 1836,



Nominate race suggested as being specifically distinct from others on basis of a unique trilling song#R, but limited available recorded evidence (Java and Vietnam only) indicates that populations have basically similar single-note and double-note songs, but with no very fast version so far documented for Vietnam; thus, taxonomic significance of vocal difference difficult to assess at present#R, while other characters unique to nominate are apparently few and none major; more research needed. Proposed race laotianus (Laos) inseparable from intermedius; recent review suggests that indochinensis and yaoshanensis might also be included in intermedius (as influence of sample size, and variation with age and season, apparently not taken into account in previous taxonomic assessments). Five subspecies provisionally recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • P. a. aenobarbulus Koelz, 1954 – Garo Hills (Meghalaya), in NE India.
  • P. a. intermedius (A. O. Hume, 1877) – Clicking Shrike-babbler – N, E & SE Myanmar (including N Tenasserim), N & W Thailand, Laos, N Vietnam and S China (W & S Yunnan, Hainan).
  • P. a. yaoshanensis Stresemann, 1929 – Yao Shan (Guangxi), in SE China.
  • P. a. indochinensis Delacour, 1927 – S Vietnam (S Annam); recently recorded, presumably this form, in E Cambodia#R.
  • P. a. aenobarbus (Temminck, 1836) – Trilling Shrike-babbler – Java.
  • Descriptive notes

    11·5 cm; 11–12·5 g. Small shrike-babbler resembling P. melanotis, but with no ear-covert mark, male replacing rufous with dark chestnut, female with peachy-... read more


    Sings with various notes, repeated monotonously, e.g. “chip-chip-chip-chip…”, “wheet-wheet-wheet... read more


    Broadleaf evergreen forest and edge; also in Fokienia-dominated forest in C Laos; at 700... read more

    Food and feeding

    Caterpillars, cockroaches (Blattodea) and other small insects; also fruit. Found singly and in pairs, or in small groups outside breeding... read more


    Jan–Apr in SE Asia and May–Jun in W Java. Nest a pretty, shallow cup, camouflaged with moss and spider webs, suspended from... read more



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Race aenobarbulus known from a single specimen in NE India (the only record for the subcontinent), and evidently rare and restricted in... read more

    Recommended citation

    Collar, N. & Robson, C. (2019). Chestnut-fronted Shrike-babbler (Pteruthius aenobarbus). 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 25 May 2019).