Family Cupwings (Pnoepygidae)

Least Concern

Pygmy Cupwing (Pnoepyga pusilla)


French: Microure maillée German: Mooszwergpfeifer Spanish: Ratina pigmea
Other common names: Pygmy Wren-babbler

[Pnoepyga] pusillus

[sic] Hodgson

, 1845,



Has been placed in a monospecific genus, Microura. In past, sometimes treated as conspecific with P. formosana, but is more closely related to P. immaculata#R. Race timorensis was suggested to be vocally distinct and perhaps meriting species status, but this has been refuted recently#R. Seven subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • P. p. pusilla Hodgson, 1845 – N India (SE Uttarakhand) and Nepal E to all NE Indian hill states, N, W, E & SE Myanmar (including N Tenasserim), S & SE China (S Shaanxi S to SE Xizang and Yunnan, E to S Anhui and Zhejiang), NW Thailand, N & C Laos and N Vietnam (W Tonkin, N Annam); also (probably this race) Hainan.
  • P. p. annamensis Robinson & Kloss, 1919 – SW Cambodia, S Vietnam (S Annam) and, possibly this race, C Annam and S Laos.
  • P. p. harterti Robinson & Kloss, 1918 – S Thailand and Peninsular Malaysia.
  • P. p. lepida Salvadori, 1879 – Sumatra.
  • P. p. rufa Sharpe, 1882 – Java.
  • P. p. everetti Rothschild, 1897 – Flores.
  • P. p. timorensis Mayr, 1944 – W Timor.
  • Descriptive notes

    7·5–9 cm; 11–15 g. Tiny, almost tailless olive-backed babbler with pale scaling below; in two morphs. Nominate race pale morph (“white-scaled... read more


    Song an unmistakable, very high-pitched, well-spaced, piercing “ti—ti—tu” (... read more


    Floor and understorey of broadleaf evergreen forest, densely vegetated forest ravines, mossy... read more

    Food and feeding

    Ants (Formicidae) and other small insects, spiders (Araneae), snails and grubs. Forages on or close to ground among leaf litter, around... read more


    Season Mar–Sept in more N parts of range, with song period mainly mid-Mar to late Apr in Bhutan, but juveniles recorded late Jul and... read more


    Resident, or with some local altitudinal movements (less marked than those of P. albiventer... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Frequent in Nepal. Fairly widespread at low densities in Bhutan. Fairly common in India, where 0·3 birds/km² in semi-... read more

    Recommended citation

    Collar, N. & Robson, C. (2019). Pygmy Cupwing (Pnoepyga pusilla). 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 22 February 2019).