Family Old World Flycatchers and Chats (Muscicapidae)

Least Concern

White-crowned Forktail (Enicurus leschenaulti)


French: Énicure de Leschenault German: Weißscheitel-Scherenschwanz Spanish: Torrentero coroniblanco

Turdus Leschenaulti


, 1818,



Race borneensis of some taxonomic interest, although morphologically not very distinct; molecular evidence#R suggests long isolation from lowland populations of frontalis, but full genetic, vocal#R and morphological analysis of all taxa, along with clarification of geographical relationship of borneensis to frontalis (parapatric or allopatric?) needed. Six subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • E. l. indicus E. J. O. Hartert, 1910 – #RE Himalayas (from Sikkim and N West Bengal) E to Myanmar, S China (Yunnan), W, N & E Thailand and Indochina.
  • E. l. sinensis Gould, 1866 – S & E China (E from extreme E Qinghai, S Gansu and Sichuan to Zhejiang and Guangdong), including Hainan.
  • E. l. frontalis Blyth, 1847 – C & S Malay Peninsula, Sumatra, Nias I, and lowland Borneo.
  • E. l. chaseni Meyer de Schauensee, 1940 – Batu Is, off W Sumatra.
  • E. l. leschenaulti (Vieillot, 1818) – White-crowned Forktail – Java and Bali.
  • E. l. borneensis Sharpe, 1889 – Bornean Forktail – upland Borneo.
  • Descriptive notes

    25–28 cm; 27–38 g (up to 53 g also reported). Long, deeply forked but evenly graduated tail with white tips, outer feathers white. Nominate race has white crown,... read more


    Song an elaborate series of sweet high-pitched whistles, “tsswi’i’i’-lli... read more


    Fast-flowing rocky rivers, streams, brooks and rivulets through dense dark evergreen forest, even... read more

    Food and feeding

    Insects, including black beetles, water crickets, springtails and caterpillars. Forages in water, along water’s edge, on rocks and... read more


    Apr–Jun in Himalayas, to Jul in S China; Apr in Myanmar; Apr and Aug in Peninsular Malaysia; Mar in Borneo, but breeding-condition... read more


    Sedentary in most of range, but probably some elevational shifts with season; seasonal movements in... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Scarce in Himalayas, but relatively common in hills in S Assam (NE India). Common in China. Fairly common throughout most of SE Asian range. In... read more

    Recommended citation

    Collar, N. (2020). White-crowned Forktail (Enicurus leschenaulti). 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).