Family Whistlers (Pachycephalidae)

Least Concern

Mangrove Whistler (Pachycephala cinerea)


French: Siffleur cendré German: Schnäpperdickkopf Spanish: Silbador de manglar
Other common names: Palawan Whistler (plateni)

M[uscitrea]. cinerea


, 1847,

Island of Ramree, Arakan, west Myanmar


In recent past, sometimes referred to as P. grisola, but type of grisola apparently lost, and this name is best treated as unidentifiable#R (HBW 12: 375). Often considered conspecific with P. albiventris and P. homeyeri, but differs significantly from both in plumage and habitat#R. Race plateni sometimes accorded species rank but plumage differences slight, and song falls well within range of variation of cinerea in terms of both basic parameters and song-phrase structure (despite differences perhaps implied in HBW). Proposed races vandepolli (Batu Is, off W Sumatra), butaloides (W Java) and secedens (S Natuna Is) merged with nominate. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • P. c. cinerea (Blyth, 1847) – coasts from NE India (Bay of Bengal) E, including Andaman Is, Mergui Archipelago (W Myanmar) and Langkawi I (W Malaysia), to S Vietnam (S Annam), extending inland in Cambodia (Tonle Sap area) and SW Laos, also Riau Archipelago, Sumatra and satellites (Simeulue, Nias, Batu Is, Siberut, South Pagai, Bangka, Belitung), Borneo (including Maratua I), Natuna Is, Karimata I, Java, Kangean Is, Bali and Lombok.
  • P. c. plateni (A. W. H. Blasius, 1888) – Palawan, in W Philippines.
  • Descriptive notes

    15·5–17 cm; 19–25 g. Nominate race has forehead light grey, top and side of head dull ashy brown, lores light grey; upperparts ashy grey, remiges and... read more


    Song has general pattern of series of loud, musical notes with 1–2 louder concluding ones. In... read more


    Mangroves and adjacent coastal vegetation, including casuarina (Casuarina) forest, locally... read more

    Food and feeding

    Insects. Captures prey by sallying, and by gleaning and snatching from branches and trunks of trees. Joins mixed-species foraging flocks. read more


    Season Apr–Jul in India Mar–Jun in SE Asia, Apr in Java; on Palawan, birds with enlarged testes in May, variable, enlarged... read more


    Resident throughout range.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Widespread, but nowhere very numerous. Fairly common in India and Andaman Is; uncommon to locally common in SE Asia, scarce in... read more

    Recommended citation

    Boles, W. (2019). Mangrove Whistler (Pachycephala cinerea). 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 19 February 2019).