Family Laughingthrushes and allies (Leiotrichidae)

Least Concern

Rufous-backed Sibia (Leioptila annectens)


French: Léioptile à dos marron German: Rotrückensibia Spanish: Sibia dorsirrufa

L[eioptila]. annectans

[sic] Blyth

, 1847,

Darjeeling, West Bengal, India


Until recently, race davisoni was thought to be a black-backed morph of saturata, but their geographical ranges are discrete; davisoni distinctive by its black scapulars (3); black upper back (1); and deeper chestnut lower back and rump (1). Birds in SE Laos of undetermined race, presumed to belong with roundi of adjacent part of Vietnam. Six subspecies recognized.

What do (1) and (2) mean? Learn more about the scoring system.
Subspecies and Distribution
  • L. a. annectens Blyth, 1847 – Rufous-backed Sibia – extreme E Nepal E to Bhutan, NE Indian hill states, N & W Myanmar and S China (W Yunnan).
  • L. a. saturata Walden, 1875 – E Myanmar (W of R Salween) and NW Thailand.
  • L. a. mixta (Deignan, 1948) – E Myanmar (E of R Salween), N Thailand, N & C Laos, N Vietnam (N Tonkin, N Annam) and S China (SE Yunnan and SW Guangxi)#R.
  • L. a. roundi (J. C. Eames, 2002) – Vietnam (S part of C Annam) and adjacent SE Laos.
  • L. a. eximia Riley, 1940 – S Annam, in S Vietnam.
  • L. a. davisoni A. O. Hume, 1877 – Black-mantled Sibia – S Myanmar (N Tenasserim) and W Thailand.
  • Descriptive notes

    18·5–20 cm; 22–29 g. Distinctive sibia, black, white and rufous-chestnut above, white below with rufescent lower flanks. Nominate race has crown and head... read more


    Sings with loud, clear, pretty, descending warble, “wip’i-iu-iu-ju” (nominate... read more


    Broadleaf evergreen forest, sometimes semi-deciduous forest, at 1000–2650 m, locally down to... read more

    Food and feeding

    Insects, including beetles (Coleoptera), and seeds. Found singly, in pairs, or in small parties of 3–6 individuals, often in bird... read more


    Apr–Jun. Nest a neat and compact cup, externally of moss, moss roots, leaves and fine grasses, inwardly of grass shreds, roots,... read more


    Resident; some displacement to lower levels may occur in winter.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Rare and local in Nepal. Uncommon and local in Bhutan. Generally scarce but locally frequent in India, where present in Buxa Tiger Reserve (West... read more

    Recommended citation

    Collar, N. & Robson, C. (2020). Rufous-backed Sibia (Leioptila annectens). 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 26 February 2020).