Family Old World Flycatchers and Chats (Muscicapidae)

Least Concern

White-capped Water-redstart (Phoenicurus leucocephalus)


French: Rougequeue à calotte blanche German: Weißscheitel-Rotschwanz Spanish: Colirrojo acuático
Other common names: White-capped Redstart

Phœnicura leucocephala


, 1831,

Simla–Almora district, Himalaya


Commonly separated in monospecific Chaimarrornis. Monotypic.


E Uzbekistan, SW Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and N Afghanistan E through Himalayas to C & NE China (N to N Qinghai and Hebei, E to Anhui), N Myanmar and N Vietnam#R; non-breeding at lower levels S to C Myanmar, N Thailand, N & C Laos and SE China (including Hainan).

Descriptive notes

18–19 cm; 24–42 g. Bobs body after landing, and wags part-fanned tail while drooping wings. Has white cap, black rest of head to back and wings and down to breast... read more


Song a protracted melodious, undulating, but rather weak and melancholy whistling, “tieu-yieu... read more


Breeds along larger rapid mountain streams, frequenting boulders among rushing water but visiting... read more

Food and feeding

Insects, including ephemeropterans, dipteran flies, notably craneflies, beetles and ants, also spiders and molluscs; occasionally berries (... read more


Season May–Jul/Aug; commonly double-brooded. Territory can be small in optimal habitat, pairs every 100–200 m of river. Nest a... read more


Altitudinal and short-distance migrant. In China reported to move to S in winter. In Afghanistan... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Uncommon in mountains of C Asia. Locally common in Pakistan; in Kagan Valley one bird seen every 300 m over 96 km, with estimated 300 pairs on this... read more

Recommended citation

Collar, N. (2019). White-capped Water-redstart (Phoenicurus leucocephalus). 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 13 December 2019).