Family Old World Warblers and Parrotbills (Sylviidae)

Least Concern

Three-toed Parrotbill (Cholornis paradoxus)


French: Paradoxornis tridactyle German: Dreizehen-Papageimeise Spanish: Picoloro tridáctilo

Cholornis paradoxa

J. P. Verreaux

, 1871,

#R, “les montagnes du Thibet chinois”; type specimens from Baoxing, Sichuan, China


Although taipaiensis was first mooted as a distinct race in 1937, it was not formally described as such until 36 years later#R. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. p. paradoxus J. P. Verreaux, 1871 – S Gansu S to SC Sichuan, also Daba Mts (NE Sichuan–SE Shaanxi), in C China.
  • C. p. taipaiensis (Cheng Tsohsin et al., 1973) – Qinling Mts, in S Shaanxi (C China).
  • Descriptive notes

    c. 20 cm; 32–38 g. Adult has similar general coloration to Conostoma aemodium; outer toe vestigial. Nominate race has forehead pale ashy grey, crown and nape... read more


    Song a clear, rather high, plaintive even “uui u”, “uui uui” or simple “uui” repeated after clear... read more


    Bamboo in or close to mixed broadleaf and coniferous forests, at 1500–3660 m.

    Food and feeding

    No published information on diet. Forages in small flocks of up to 15 individuals during presumed non-breeding season. Can be very... read more


    No information.


    Sedentary, but possibly subject to minor local movements in winter. Apparent dependence on bamboo... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Restricted-range species: present in Central Sichuan Mountains EBA. Not well known; rather uncommon. Although this species has a very limited range... read more

    Recommended citation

    Robson, C. (2020). Three-toed Parrotbill (Cholornis paradoxus). 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 26 February 2020).