Family Old World Flycatchers and Chats (Muscicapidae)

Least Concern

Gould's Shortwing (Heteroxenicus stellatus)


French: Brachyptère étoilée German: Braunrücken-Kurzflügel Spanish: Alicorto estrellado

Brachypteryx (Drymochares) stellatus


, 1868,



Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • H. s. stellatus (Gould, 1868) – C & E Himalayas from N India (Uttarakhand) and C Nepal E, discontinuously, to NE Myanmar and S China (SE Xizang, W Yunnan); recently recorded in C & N Sichuan#R.
  • H. s. fuscus (Delacour & Jabouille, 1930) – NW Vietnam (W Tonkin); possibly also adjacent S China (Jinping area, SE Yunnan)#R, but no specimens or recent records#R.
  • Descriptive notes

    12–13 cm; 19–23 g. Small and dark, with long legs, narrow tail. Nominate race is chestnut above, slaty below (very fine grey-and-black scaling), with... read more


    Song a series of phrases consisting of very high-pitched notes, gradually increasing in volume and... read more


    Breeds above tree-line in screes often far from bushes, at 3300–4200 m in Himalayas (2100... read more

    Food and feeding

    Insects and seeds. Largely terrestrial.


    Reported May–Jul, with no details. No other information.


    Subject to vertical movements, descending to lower elevations in winter.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Scarce and local; rare in China; possibly under-recorded. Habitat relatively secure, so species unlikely to be in decline.

    Recommended citation

    Collar, N. (2020). Gould's Shortwing (Heteroxenicus stellatus). 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).