Family Old World Flycatchers and Chats (Muscicapidae)

Least Concern

Himalayan Bush-robin (Tarsiger rufilatus)


French: Robin de l’Himalaya German: Himalajablauschwanz Spanish: Ruiseñor del Himalaya
Other common names: Himalayan Bluetail

N[emura]. rufilatus


, 1845,

central and northern hill regions of Nepal


Until recently considered conspecific with T. cyanurus, but various analyses indicate considerable morphological and genetic divergence#R#R#R; differs in its bluish vs white preocular supercilium in male (1); darker, richer blue upperparts including cobalt-blue vs deep turquoise-blue rump and outer tail in male (2); purer white (less buffy) underparts with more extensively maculated breast in male (2); longer tail (effect size 6; score 3); different song (fewer notes, other technical details) (at least 1). Proposed race pallidior (NW Himalayas) is a synonym. Monotypic.

What do (1) and (2) mean? Learn more about the scoring system.

NE Afghanistan and N Pakistan E through Himalayas to NE India (Arunachal Pradesh), N to C & S China (from E & N Qinghai, SW Gansu and S Shaanxi, S to W & N Yunnan), probably also N Myanmar and N Vietnam (W Tonkin); non-breeding at lower altitudes S of breeding range and N of SE Asia.

Descriptive notes

15 cm; 11–14 g. Male is rich dark blue on head and upperparts, with distinctly paler blue supercilium and shoulder patch, and rich cobalt-blue rump, uppertail-coverts and... read more


Song, by male from near top of bush or low branch, a series of short, pleasant, and vibrant and... read more


In Himalayas breeds in bush layer (dwarf rhododendron in wetter areas, deciduous bushes in drier)... read more

Food and feeding

Little studied. Invertebrates, mainly insects; also fruits and seeds when not breeding. In one study in China (apparently summer), 81% of... read more


Season May–Aug. Nest a cup made from grass, moss, ferns, twigs and roots, lined with hair, feathers, fine grass and sometimes wool, placed... read more


An altitudinal migrant in Himalayas, with post-breeding descent to 1500–2500 m; further N... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Common in Himalayas; perhaps less so in E part of range. This species has a very large global range within which its population,... read more

Recommended citation

del Hoyo, J., Collar, N. & Christie, D.A. (2019). Himalayan Bush-robin (Tarsiger rufilatus). 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 8 December 2019).