Family Old World Flycatchers and Chats (Muscicapidae)

Least Concern

Rufous-bellied Niltava (Niltava sundara)


French: Gobemouche sundara German: Rotbauch-Blauschnäpper Spanish: Papamoscas sundara

Niltava Sundara


, 1837,



Has previously been considered conspecific with one or both N. davidi and N. sumatrana. Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • N. s. whistleri Ticehurst, 1926 – NW Himalayas of N Pakistan and N India (E to Uttarakhand).
  • N. s. sundara Hodgson, 1837 – C & E Himalayas (E from Nepal) and S China (SE Xizang, W Yunnan) S to Myanmar (except E & SE); non-breeding S to NE Bangladesh.
  • N. s. denotata Bangs & J. C. Phillips, 1914 – E Myanmar and S China (Shaanxi and W Hubei S to E Yunnan, Sichuan and Guizhou), probably also NW Vietnam#R; non-breeding S to N Thailand and N Indochina.
  • Descriptive notes

    15–18 cm; 19–24 g. Large, stocky and brightly coloured flycatcher with rounded head shape, fairly short tail and broad-based bill. Male nominate race has upper... read more


    Song “sweeee-eh tri-tri-tr-tih”, occasionally as a short and soft “cha cha... read more


    Undergrowth and bushes in broadleaf evergreen and mixed conifer and deciduous forests, also locally... read more

    Food and feeding

    Food includes small invertebrates and larvae, particularly ants (Hymenoptera), beetles (Coleoptera) e.g. cockchafers (Scarabaeidae), and... read more


    Season Apr–Aug. Nest built by both sexes, mostly of moss, Adiantum fern stems, leaves and fine roots, placed low down in... read more


    Resident and altitudinal migrant. Those breeding in Himalayas move to lower levels in foothills and... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Scarce and local in N Pakistan, common in Nepal, and fairly common in N India and Bhutan. Uncommon in S China. Fairly common in Myanmar (except C... read more

    Recommended citation

    Clement, P. (2020). Rufous-bellied Niltava (Niltava sundara). 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).