Family Old World Flycatchers and Chats (Muscicapidae)

Least Concern

Plumbeous Water-redstart (Phoenicurus fuliginosus)


French: Rougequeue fuligineux German: Wasserrotschwanz Spanish: Colirrojo fuliginoso
Other common names: Plumbeous Redstart

Phœnicura fuliginosa


, 1831,

Simla–Almora, Himalayas


Along with P. bicolor, commonly separated in Rhyacornis. Females and first-year males in China are browner above, and possibly warrant separation as race tenuirostris. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • P. f. fuliginosus (Vigors, 1831) – E Afghanistan and Himalayas E to NE & E China (N to NW Gansu and Inner Mongolia), S to NW Thailand, Indochina and Hainan; has bred in S Korea#R and W Tajikistan (where possibly regular#R); non-breeding at lower levels and also C & S Myanmar.
  • P. f. affinis (Ogilvie-Grant, 1906) – Taiwan.
  • Descriptive notes

    12–13 cm; 13–23 g. Male is slaty-blue, with rufous-chestnut tail and vent, black bill, flesh-coloured legs. Female is slaty-grey above, with two white-spotted... read more


    Song, from large rock in mid-stream or in short aerial parabola from rock to rock, a shrill creaky... read more


    Margins and boulders of clear rocky streams and rivers both inside and outside forest, typically... read more

    Food and feeding

    Insects, notably caddis flies and their larvae, mayflies and midges; occasionally berries (including Berberis) and seeds. In one... read more


    Mar–Jun in Afghanistan, May–Aug in Pakistan, Apr–Aug in Kashmir, Feb–Jun in Nepal and Apr–Jul in China; Mar... read more


    Resident, subject to altitudinal movements, in Pakistan and India; some migrate very short... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Common in N Pakistan and India; fairly common to common in China; scarce to locally common in SE Asia. On main rivers in Nepal, one bird (... read more

    Recommended citation

    Collar, N. & Christie, D.A. (2019). Plumbeous Water-redstart (Phoenicurus fuliginosus). 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 18 September 2019).