Family Old World Flycatchers and Chats (Muscicapidae)

Least Concern

Himalayan Shortwing (Brachypteryx cruralis)


French: Brachyptère de l’Himalaya German: Himalaja-Bergkurzflügel Spanish: Alicorto del Himalaya

Calliope (?) cruralis


, 1843,



Hitherto treated as conspecific with B. montana (and with the other six species now separated from this “parent”), but differs from morphologically and geographically closest B. sinensis in its much darker underparts in male (2); strong rufous lores and frons in female (2); only vaguely paler brown belly than rest of underparts vs clear whitish central belly (2); song of male rather longer, more warbled (at least 1)#R. Seemingly no evidence of intergradation with B. sinensis, but situation where these two approach or meet merits study. Monotypic.


C & E Himalayas from Uttarakhand#R and C Nepal E to NE India, Myanmar, S & SC China (Sichuan S to SE Xizang and NW, W & SE Yunnan), NW Thailand, Laos and Vietnam (S to S Annam); no documented recent records in Himachal Pradesh#R.

Descriptive notes

13 cm; 20–23 g (two males). Male has striking white supercilium and blackish lores; otherwise almost uniformly dark blue above and below, belly a shade greyer; iris dark... read more


Song a complex squeaky verse of up to three thin indrawn flat “hweez” notes followed by varied... read more


Thickets and thick undergrowth in dense mossy forests of oak, fir and rhododendron; usually found... read more

Food and feeding

Chiefly small insects, notably beetles, caterpillars, chrysales, grubs and larvae; also snails, worms. Forages on ground and just above it... read more


Season May–Jul. Nest a relatively large but well-concealed dome of moss, bamboo leaves, grasses, epiphyte roots and ferns, lined with... read more


Resident; some vertical movements in Himalayas, descending lower in winter.

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Scarce in Himalayas in Himachal Pradesh (around the Great Himalayan National Park), Uttarakhand (Corbett National Park and Askot... read more

Recommended citation

del Hoyo, J., Collar, N. & Christie, D.A. (2020). Himalayan Shortwing (Brachypteryx cruralis). 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 27 February 2020).