Family Old World Flycatchers and Chats (Muscicapidae)

Least Concern

Lesser Shortwing (Brachypteryx leucophris)


French: Petite Brachyptère German: Zwergkurzflügel Spanish: Alicorto chico

Myiothera leucophris


, 1828,



Race wrayi notably distinct, male being dark grey-blue above and on breast and flanks below, and langbianensis male also has darkish grey-blue on breast and flanks; but vocalizations strikingly uniform across all taxa, with no clear differences#R. Five subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • B. l. nipalensis F. Moore, 1854 – Nepal Lesser Shortwing – Himalayas from N India (Uttarakhand), W, N & E Myanmar (S to Tenasserim) and S China (SE Xizang, W Yunnan, Emei Shan in S Sichuan); scarce winter visitor or resident NE & SE Bangladesh#R.
  • B. l. carolinae La Touche, 1898 – Caroline's Shortwing – S & SE China (C Yunnan E to S Zhejiang and Fujian), W & NW Thailand and N Indochina (N & C Laos, N Vietnam).
  • B. l. langbianensis Delacour & Greenway, 1939 – Langbian Lesser Shortwing – S Laos, C Vietnam (C & S Annam) and W Cambodia (Cardamom Mts).
  • B. l. wrayi Ogilvie-Grant, 1906 – Malay Lesser Shortwing – extreme S Thailand and Malay Peninsula.
  • B. l. leucophris (Temminck, 1828) – Sunda Lesser Shortwing – Sumatra, Java and Lesser Sundas (Bali, Lombok, Sumbawa, Sumba#R, Alor, Wetar and Timor).
  • Descriptive notes

    11–13 cm; 12·5 g. Male nominate race is olive rufous-brown above, often concealed short white eyebrow, very short wings and tail; whitish below, with brownish-... read more


    Song, starting with a single note, then a split-second pause, is a short, loud, sweet high-pitched... read more


    Breeds in dense damp undergrowth in humid broadleaf forest and secondary growth, preferably near... read more

    Food and feeding

    Chiefly insects; in Indonesia snails, slugs, grubs and beetle pupae.


    Apr–Jul in Himalayas, Mar–Jun in Peninsular Malaysia and Oct–Apr in Java. Nest a compact dome with large side entrance,... read more


    Resident; altitudinal movements in Himalayas, descending to foothills in winter. Recent records in... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Rare in W Himalayas, becoming commoner to E, and very common in NE India; fairly common in Myanmar. Rare in China. Locally common in... read more

    Recommended citation

    Collar, N. (2020). Lesser Shortwing (Brachypteryx leucophris). 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 28 February 2020).