Gold-fronted fulvetta (Alcippe variegaticeps)

Also known as: golden-fronted fulvetta, yellow-fronted fulvetta
GenusAlcippe (1)
SizeLength: 10 - 11.5 cm (2)

The gold-fronted fulvetta is classified as Vulnerable (VU) on the IUCN Red List (1).

Although only small, the gold-fronted fulvetta (Alcippe variegaticeps) is a bird with a striking appearance. This tiny, grey babbler has a yellow forehead, a crown streaked with black and white and a chestnut nape. Its face and chin are white, and it has a yellow throat and black cheek patches. It is distinguishable from other species by the bright yellow wing-panels along its otherwise dull greyish-olive body (2) (3). The tail of the gold-fronted fulvetta is black with yellow and orange fringing (4).

The gold-fronted fulvetta is native to China, where it is found in the south-central area of Sichuan, and in the northern mountains of Guangxi (4).

Found largely in broadleaf, evergreen forest (2), the gold-fronted fulvetta usually favours areas with dense undergrowth. It is often found in valleys surrounding streams (4).

The gold-fronted fulvetta forages for food among the undergrowth and bamboo, searching the moss for insects and spiders (4). As only one nest has ever been reported, little is known about its reproductive behaviour, other than that the nest contained four eggs (2).

Other babbler species have quite diverse breeding habits, although clutch size typically varies between two and five eggs. Babbler nests vary from dome shaped to cup-like, and can be found from just above the forest floor, to higher up in trees, depending on the species (3).

The loss and fragmentation of the gold-fronted fulvetta’s habitat is considered to be the most significant threat to this species. Large areas of forest have been already been degraded, and in some cases cleared completely, through logging, fires, and conversion of the land to agriculture (4).

The remaining forest is also under threat; with large areas of broadleaved forest in southern Sichuan earmarked for logging over the coming years. During the breeding season, grazing livestock and the collection of bamboo shoots are also thought to have a negative impact on the gold-fronted fulvetta (4).

The gold-fronted fulvetta occurs within several protected areas, including Mabian Dafengding Nature Reserve, Labahe Nature Reserve, Emei Shan Protected Scenic Site in Sichuan, Laojunshan Nature Reserve, Mamize Nature Reserve and Dayao Shan Nature Reserve in Guangxi. It is also believed to benefit from the practice of leaving strips of primary forest along ridge-tops in logged areas, and the replanting of native broadleaved trees (4).

Proposed conservation actions for the future include creating additional protected areas of habitat where appropriate, and creating or reconstructing forest corridors to reconnect habitat fragments (4).

Find out more about the gold-fronted fulvetta and its conservation:

This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact:

  1. IUCN Red List (December, 2011)
  2. del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A. and Sargatal, J. (2007) Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 12: Picathartes to Tits and Chickadees. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.
  3. Marshall Cavendish Corporation (2001) Endangered Wildlife and Plants of the World. Marshall Cavendish Corporation, New York.
  4. BirdLife International - Gold fronted fulvetta (December, 2011)