Family Old World Flycatchers and Chats (Muscicapidae)

Least Concern

Slaty-backed Forktail (Enicurus schistaceus)


French: Énicure ardoisé German: Graurücken-Scherenschwanz Spanish: Torrentero dorsigrís

Motacilla (Enicurus) schistaceus


, 1836,





C & E Himalayas from N India (Uttarakhand) E to Myanmar, SC & E China (N to C Sichuan and Zhejiang), Thailand, Indochina and Peninsular Malaysia; possibly also Hainan#R.

Descriptive notes

22–25 cm; 26–38 g. Very like E. immaculatus, including in size, but with slate-grey crown to mantle. Sexes similar. Juvenile is like juvenile E.... read more


Call a high, thin, sharp, metallic screech, “teenk”, like that of small kingfisher (... read more


As E. immaculatus, preferring larger rivers in valleys, often in open country. Breeds at... read more

Food and feeding

Small aquatic and water-associated invertebrates. In study in Nepal, 56% of observations of foraging position involved marginal rocks, 21%... read more


Feb–Jun throughout range. Nest a cup or semi-dome (depending on site) built of compacted bryophytes, grasses, leaves and leaf... read more


Sedentary in SE Asia; subject to vertical movements in Himalayas.

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Locally fairly common in Nepal. Fairly common in most of SE Asian range, but only locally so in S Thailand. Common in China.

Recommended citation

Collar, N. (2020). Slaty-backed Forktail (Enicurus schistaceus). 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).