Family Cuckooshrikes (Campephagidae)

Least Concern

Scarlet Minivet (Pericrocotus flammeus)


French: Grand Minivet German: Scharlachmennigvogel Spanish: Minivet escarlata

Muscicapa flammea

J. R. Forster

, 1781,

no locality = Sri Lanka


Geographical variation complex and inadequately described, with many intermediate populations in SE Asia; review needed. Morphological and plumage analyses suggest races may represent four or five species, but precise boundaries unclear. Nominate race sometimes separated as a monotypic species, differing in several characters from other Indian races, but almost all of these characters shared with subspecies farther E. Taxa siebersi and exul very distinct in plumage and may constitute a separate species#R. Race speciosus suggested, on basis of its deep scarlet colour, to merit species-level treatment (perhaps also involving fraterculus, andamanensis and semiruber)#R, but this appears untenable. Philippine taxa may represent one or more additional species, but further work required; nigroluteus originally named neglectus, but latter name preoccupied; birds on Bohol (SC Philippines) of unconfirmed racial identity, presumed to belong with leytensis. Populations placed in fraterculus were previously listed as race elegans; but type locality of elegans (Sadiya, in NE Assam) subsequently reckoned to fall within range of speciosus, the two names being synonyms, and leaving fraterculus as name for populations from S Assam to Hainan. Birds on Hainan (type locality of fraterculus) possibly indistinguishable from fohkiensis; if so, name bakeri is available for mainland populations currently included in fraterculus. Proposed race suchitrae (W & SW Myanmar E to C & S Indochina) indistinguishable from semiruber. Nineteen subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • P. f. flammeus (J. R. Forster, 1781) – Orange Minivet – W & S India and Sri Lanka.
  • P. f. speciosus (Latham, 1790) – Scarlet Minivet – Himalayas from Jammu and Kashmir E to S China (SE Xizang).
  • P. f. fraterculus Swinhoe, 1870 – NE India (hills of Assam S of R Brahmaputra), N Myanmar, S China (Yunnan, Hainan) and N Indochina.
  • P. f. semiruber Whistler & Kinnear, 1933 – EC India, S Myanmar and Thailand (except C & S) E to C & S Indochina.
  • P. f. andamanensis Beavan, 1867 – Andaman Is.
  • P. f. fohkiensis Buturlin, 1910 – SE China (Guizhou E to Fujian, S to Guangxi and Guangdong).
  • P. f. flammifer A. O. Hume, 1875 – SE Myanmar, SW & S Thailand and N & E Peninsular Malaysia.
  • P. f. xanthogaster (Raffles, 1822) – W & S Peninsular Malaysia and Sumatra (including E coast islands).
  • P. f. minythomelas Oberholser, 1912 – Simeulue I, off NW Sumatra.
  • P. f. modiglianii Salvadori, 1892 – Enggano I, off SW Sumatra.
  • P. f. insulanus Deignan, 1946 – Borneo.
  • P. f. novus McGregor, 1904 – N & C Philippines (Luzon, Negros).
  • P. f. leytensis Steere, 1890 – EC Philippines (Samar, Leyte, Bohol).
  • P. f. gonzalesi Ripley & Rabor, 1961 – S Philippines (N & E Mindanao).
  • P. f. nigroluteus Parkes, 1981 – SC Mindanao.
  • P. f. johnstoniae Ogilvie-Grant, 1905 – Mt Apo, in SE Mindanao.
  • P. f. marchesae Guillemard, 1885 – Sulu Archipelago (Jolo).
  • P. f. siebersi Rensch, 1928 – Java and Bali.
  • P. f. exul Wallace, 1864 – Javan Minivet – Lombok (E of Bali).
  • Descriptive notes

    17–22 cm; 19–24·5 g. A robust minivet with heavy bill, relatively broad tail. Male nominate race has head, chin, throat and mantle to upper back glossy... read more


    Loud, piercing whistles, “sweep-sweep-sweep-sweep”, “weep-weep-weep-wit-wip... read more


    Broadleaf evergreen, semi-evergreen and deciduous forests, and peatswamp-forest; occurs also in... read more

    Food and feeding

    Eats mainly insects, including caterpillars (Lepidoptera), grasshoppers and green crickets (Orthoptera) and cicadas (Cicadidae); also... read more


    Breeds in Apr–Jun in Himalayas and Feb and Jun–Oct in peninsular India; Feb–May and (second brood) Aug–Sept in Sri... read more


    Mostly resident. Some altitudinal movements; in Himalayan region, descends from breeding areas (up... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Widespread and common in Nepal; locally common in India, Bangladesh and China; common in Bhutan and Sri Lanka; common in SE Asia (except C Thailand)... read more

    Recommended citation

    Taylor, B. (2020). Scarlet Minivet (Pericrocotus flammeus). 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 27 February 2020).