Family Laughingthrushes and allies (Leiotrichidae)

Least Concern

Rufous Sibia (Heterophasia capistrata)


French: Garrulaxe casqué German: Schwarzkappensibia Spanish: Sibia rufa

Cinclosoma capistratum


, 1831,

Simla, Himachal Pradesh, India


Has been placed in genus Malacias. Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • H. c. capistrata (Vigors, 1831) – NE Pakistan (Murree Hills) E in W Himalayas to extreme W Nepal.
  • H. c. nigriceps (Hodgson, 1839) – Nepal (except extreme W & E) and adjacent SW China (S Xizang).
  • H. c. bayleyi (Kinnear, 1939) – E Nepal E to Bhutan and NE India (W Arunachal Pradesh) and S China (Chumbi Valley, in S Xizang).
  • Descriptive notes

    21–24 cm; 28–47 g. Slender buffy-rufous babbler with black head, blue-grey in wings and tail, slender decurved bill. Nominate race has crown and head side (lores... read more


    Song, heard all year but mostly Apr–Aug, a clear high-pitched, silvery, slightly descending,... read more


    Broadleaf evergreen forest, particularly oak; also mixed broadleaf-coniferous forest (oak, fir and... read more

    Food and feeding

    Insects and berries. Visits rhododendron and silk-cotton tree (Bombax ceiba) flowers in search of insects and nectar; pair in... read more


    Apr–Aug. Nest, built by both sexes, a neat cup of green moss, dry grasses and dry leaves, firmly interwoven and lined with rootlets,... read more


    Resident; minor altitudinal displacements by small proportion of population in winter.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Commonest and most widespread sibia in main Himalayan range. Locally frequent in Pakistan. Common in Nepal. Abundant throughout temperate zone in... read more

    Recommended citation

    Collar, N. & Robson, C. (2019). Rufous Sibia (Heterophasia capistrata). 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 23 May 2019).