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Brown Parrotbill - BirdForum Opus

Photo by china guy
Chengdu, Sichuan, China

Alternative name: Brown Suthora; Himalayan Brown Crowtit

Cholornis unicolor


21cm. Similar to Three-toed Parrotbill:

  • Blackish lateral crown-stripe
  • Greyish-brown plumage, warmer brown above
  • Indistinctive white eyering
  • Long tail
  • Stubby yellowish bill

Sexes similar, juveniles have paler underparts.

Similar species

Differs from Three-toed Parrotbill by darker crown, lack of paler forehead, blacker supercilium and darker and warmer upperparts. Brown head, white eyering, black eyebrow, striped head, throat and chest, yellow bill.


From central Nepal east along the Himalayas over Bhutan to northeast India, north Burma, adjacent Tibet and south China (Yunnan, Sichuan).
Rather scarce, most common in parts of China.


This is a monotypic species[1].

Together with Three-toed Parrotbill this species is sometimes placed in the genus Hemirhynchus or Paradoxornis.


Bamboo in open broadleaf evergreen forest. Found at 2400 - 3400 in the Himalayas, 1850 - 3600 in China.


Often seen in noisy groups of 6 to 15 (or more) birds. Slow, weak and fluttering flight.
Resident species but some food-related movements likely.


Feeds on bamboo and bracken buds, moss and other vegetable matter.


Breeding season from June to August. No other information.


Around 20 birds, including young

Recording by china guy, Sichuan, China, August 2011


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, B.L. Sullivan, C. L. Wood, and D. Roberson. 2013. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: Version 6.8., with updates to August 2013. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Del Hoyo, J, A Elliott, and D Christie, eds. 2007. Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 12: Picathartes to Tits and Chickadees. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions. ISBN 978-8496553422
  3. Rasmussen, PC and JC Anderton. 2005. Birds of South Asia: The Ripley Guide. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions. ISBN 978-8487334672

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