Family Finches (Fringillidae)

Least Concern

Grey-headed Bullfinch (Pyrrhula erythaca)


French: Bouvreuil à tête grise German: Maskengimpel Spanish: Camachuelo cabecigrís
Other common names: Beavan's Bullfinch, Owston's Bullfinch (race owstoni)

Pyrrhula erythaca


, 1862,



Genetic data suggest that present species is not monophyletic with respect to P. erythrocephala#R. Race owstoni distinctive, but chiefly for the male’s loss of an orange lower breast to belly (3); recorded material suggests little if any divergence in voice#R, but detailed evaluation of all differences required. Race wilderi weakly differentiated, sometimes subsumed into nominate. Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • P. e. erythaca Blyth, 1862 – Grey-headed Bullfinch – C & S China (SW Shanxi and Qinghai S to E & SE Xizang and NW Yunnan) and E Himalayas from NE India (N West Bengal) E to N Myanmar; recorded in Nepal and Vietnam (Tonkin).
  • P. e. wilderi Riley, 1918 – NE China (W Beijing and N Hebei).
  • P. e. owstoni Rothschild#R & E. J. O. Hartert, 1907 – Taiwan Bullfinch – Taiwan.
  • Descriptive notes

    15–17 cm; 18–21 g. Medium-large bullfinch with curved bill and slightly notched tail. Male nominate race has lower forehead and lores to behind eye and across... read more


    Song a soft, mellow, whistled warble, including some long slurred notes and shorter creaky notes,... read more


    Lower montane and submontane conifer forest and mixed forest with juniper (Juniperus) or... read more

    Food and feeding

    Mostly various seeds, buds, and catkins, mainly of willow (Salix) also birch (Betula), sea-buckthorn (Hippophae... read more


    Little known. Details based on Jun–Jul 2003 field study in Gansu (Lianhuashan Natural Reserve), in C China, when nine nests found:... read more


    Resident and partial altitudinal migrant. In non-breeding season moves to lower levels within... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Locally common to scarce or rare. Uncommon in Myanmar. In NE Indian Subcontinent very poorly known; apparently rare in Sikkim and... read more

    Recommended citation

    Clement, P. (2020). Grey-headed Bullfinch (Pyrrhula erythaca). 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 23 January 2020).