Family Fairy Flycatcher and allies (Stenostiridae)

Least Concern

Grey-headed Canary-flycatcher (Culicicapa ceylonensis)


French: Gobemoustique à tête grise German: Graukopfschnäpper Spanish: Papamoscas cabecigrís

Platyrhynchus Ceylonensis


, 1820,

Sri Lanka


Five subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. c. calochrysea Oberholser, 1923 – Himalayas from N Pakistan (Murree Hills) and Kashmir E to NE, C & CE India, Bangladesh, C & S China, Myanmar (except S Tenasserim), Thailand (except SW & S) and N & C Indochina; non-breeding from C & S Pakistan (Indus Valley) through plains of N & C India to S China and Indochina.
  • C. c. ceylonensis (Swainson, 1820) – SW India and Sri Lanka.
  • C. c. antioxantha Oberholser, 1923 – S Myanmar (S Tenasserim), SW & S Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia, Sumatra, Borneo, Java and Bali.
  • C. c. sejuncta E. J. O. Hartert, 1897 – Sumbawa, Flores and Lembata, in Lesser Sundas.
  • C. c. connectens Rensch, 1931 – Sumba, in Lesser Sundas.
  • Descriptive notes

    12–13 cm; 6–9 g. Small to medium-sized, slender, upright forest flycatcher with crested head shape. Nominate race has head to nape, side of neck and upper breast... read more


    Noisy and vocal throughout year. Song (given all year) a loud and squeaky, high-pitched five-note... read more


    Mature and secondary dry broadleaf forests and woodlands, favouring wooded gorges and ravines with... read more

    Food and feeding

    Diet includes gnats and mosquitoes (Culicidae), other dipteran flies, also beetles (Coleoptera), wasps (Hymenoptera), moths (Lepidoptera)... read more


    Season late Feb to Jul; often two broods. Monogamous; pair-bond long-lasting. Displaying male performs short circling flights of up to 30 m... read more


    Resident and migratory. Short-distance altitudinal migrant; descends from Himalayas to plains of N... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Common to locally abundant. Considered partly near-threatened in some lowland areas owing to continuing depletion of lowland forests; at study sites... read more

    Recommended citation

    Clement, P. (2020). Grey-headed Canary-flycatcher (Culicicapa ceylonensis). 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 26 February 2020).