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Ashy Tailorbird - BirdForum Opus

Photo by SeeToh
Garden by the Bay, Singapore, August 2017
Orthotomus ruficeps


Photo by creaturesnapper
Singapore, September, 2017

12cm (4¾ in).

  • Dark ashy-grey
  • Whitish abdomen
  • Rufous face, crown and throat


  • Paler and duller than the male
  • Pale chest and white belly

Juvenile: Paler with whitish throat


Southeast Asia (endemic): found in Indochina, Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, Malay Peninsula, Brunei, Singapore, Philippines, Island of Borneo, Indonesia, Greater Sundas, Sumatra, Java, Lesser Sundas, Bali


Olive-backed Tailorbird was considered conspecific with this species, but the split is widely accepted now.


Photo by SeeToh
Chinese Garden, Singapore, August 2017

Clements recognises 8 subspecies[1]:

  • O. r. cineraceus:
  • O. r. baeus:
  • Nias and Pagai islands (off western Sumatra)
  • O. r. concinnus:
  • Siberut and Sipoura islands (off western Sumatra)
  • O. r. ruficeps:
  • Coastal mangroves of Java
  • O. r. palliolatus:
  • Kangean and Karimunjawa islands (Java Sea)
  • O. r. baweanus:
  • Bawean Island (Java Sea)
  • O. r. borneoensis:
  • O. r. cagayanensis:


Mainly mangroves but also swampy forest and coastal scrub, forest edges, open country, lowland plantations, wooded gardens and secondary jungle.



They are often seen feeding on small insects in pairs or small family group.


The females sew a pouch from a large living leaf for their nest; the leaf is curled together by twisting spider web strands around it, the edges are joined together by making tiny holes on the edges of leaf with their pointed bills and finally through the holes, they lace through fibres from bark or cottony seed fibres. 2-6 pale blue eggs are laid and both parents incubate and raise the young. Chicks fledge in about 2 weeks. [1]


Recording by wavethree
Pulau Ubin, Singapore


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2017. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2017, with updates to August 2017. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Avibase
  3. BirdForum Member observations

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