Family Old World Warblers and Parrotbills (Sylviidae)

Least Concern

Rufous-headed Parrotbill (Psittiparus bakeri)


French: Paradoxornis de Baker German: Rotkopf-Papageimeise Spanish: Picoloro cabecirrufo oriental

Scaeorhynchus ruficeps bakeri

E. J. O. Hartert

, 1900,

Hungrum, North Cachar [Dima Hasao], Assam


Until recently#R considered conspecific with P. ruficeps, but differs in its slightly darker upperparts (1); bright buff vs buff-stained white underparts (2); overall larger size (effect size for bill on published data#R 1.68, score 1); and song a rhythmic phrase ending with long drawn-out whistles at about 2–3 kHz vs a series of 4–6 descending whistles each about the same length and shape, typically in range 3–4.5 kHz, thus main differences being presence of long notes (3) and greater variety of notes (1). Birds from N Laos and N Vietnam (E Tonkin) have been separated under name magnirostris, but differences (perhaps very slightly darker above, very marginally thicker bill) appear too slight to merit taxonomic recognition. Monotypic.

What do (1) and (2) mean? Learn more about the scoring system.

SE Arunachal Pradesh, NE Indian states S of R Brahmaputra, and extreme NE Bangladesh, E to N Myanmar and adjacent S China (NW Yunnan). Also in SE & S Myanmar, NW Thailand (Mae Moei National Park), and N Laos and N Vietnam (E Tonkin).

Descriptive notes

19–19·5 cm; male 35–38 g, female 33–36 g. Rather large parrotbill with relatively long bill. Adult has entire head to hindneck deep bright rufous (slightly buffier on lores... read more


Song a few irregular plodding notes followed by a rhythmic phrase ending with long drawn-out... read more


Bamboo in or near broadleaf evergreen forest, forest edge; also tall grass and along riverbanks.... read more

Food and feeding

Insects, including small beetles (Coleoptera); also seeds, including those of cultivated crops, and berries. Clambers among small twigs and... read more


Season Apr–Oct in India. Nest a very neat, deep cup made from various grasses and some spider web, lined with fibrous threads of bamboo... read more


Resident. Some movements possible following periodic post-flowering die-off of bamboo, with which... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Scarce to uncommon throughout its large range. Few details available, but this species is suspected to be in decline as a result of... read more

Recommended citation

del Hoyo, J., Collar, N. & Christie, D.A. (2020). Rufous-headed Parrotbill (Psittiparus bakeri). 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 21 February 2020).