Family Laughingthrushes and allies (Leiotrichidae)

Least Concern

Grey-cheeked Fulvetta (Alcippe morrisonia)


French: Alcippe à joues grises German: Grauwangenalcippe Spanish: Fulveta carigrís
Other common names: Grey-cheeked Nun-babbler

Alcippe morrisonia


, 1863,



Geographical variation slight, despite number of named races. Species subject to several molecular analyses in recent years#R#R#R, the first resulting in suggestions for possible new species limits, but an error in the identity of a sample rendered the exercise uncertain#R; rearrangement made in partial response to molecular findings#R rendered untenable by subsequent groupings of clades#R; moreover, vocal differences among all subspecies slight, with fratercula and yunnanensis emerging as a unit marginally more distinctive than others#R. Eight subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • A. m. yunnanensis Harington, 1913 – N Myanmar and S China (NW Yunnan, SW Sichuan).
  • A. m. fratercula Rippon, 1900 – Yunnan Fulvetta – C, E & S Myanmar, S China (SW Yunnan), N & W Thailand and NW Laos.
  • A. m. laotiana Delacour, 1926 – NC & C Laos and adjacent Vietnam (N Annam).
  • A. m. schaefferi La Touche, 1923 – S China (SE Yunnan E to S Guizhou and N Guangxi) and N Vietnam (Tonkin).
  • A. m. davidi Styan, 1896 – David’s Fulvetta – EC China from S Gansu and S Shaanxi S to C & E Sichuan, SW Hubei, N & E Guizhou, SW Hunan, extreme NE Guangxi and NW Jiangxi.
  • A. m. hueti David, 1874 – Fujian Fulvetta – SE China (SE Anhui and Zhejiang S to NE Guangdong).
  • A. m. rufescentior (E. J. O. Hartert, 1910) – Hainan.
  • A. m. morrisonia Swinhoe, 1863 – Grey-cheeked Fulvetta – Taiwan.
  • Descriptive notes

    12·5–14 cm; 12–19 g. Small, soft-coloured nondescript “nun-babbler” with dull grey head, olive-grey upperparts and buffy-white underparts.... read more


    Song a repeated series of high-noted phrases, in NW Thailand “it-chi wi-wi”, “ii... read more


    Montane broadleaf evergreen forest, secondary forest, scrub, bamboo; in Taiwan prefers trees of the... read more

    Food and feeding

    Small insects, seeds and berries. In 626 gut samples from Taiwan, invertebrates (arthropods) formed 85–90% and plant matter 10–... read more


    Mar–Jul in mainland China, Apr–Aug (peak May–Jun) in Taiwan, and Feb–Jul in SE Asia; multi-brooded. Nest, built by... read more


    Resident; some possible movement, as recorded only in winter in Hong Kong.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Common in C & S China, and in S China recently recorded at 45 (83%) of 54 sites surveyed, including Shiwandashan National Nature ­Reserve and... read more

    Recommended citation

    Collar, N., Robson, C. & Christie, D.A. (2020). Grey-cheeked Fulvetta (Alcippe morrisonia). 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).