Thai National Parks

Species of Thailand

Chestnut-naped forktail

Enicurus ruficapillus, Coenraad Jacob Temminck, 1823

(In Thai: นกกางเขนน้ำหลังแดง)

The chestnut-naped forktail (Enicurus ruficapillus) is a species of bird in the flycatcher and chat family Muscicapidae. The species is monotypic, having no subspecies. It is found in Sundaland, in southern Burma and Thailand to Peninsular Malaysia, as well as Sumatra and Borneo. The species is not migratory.

Habitat and distribution

The species is found along clear rivers and streams in lowland and hill rainforest. It can also be found in secondary scrub, dry ridges, and along logging roads. It is found from sea-level to 1300 m, except in southern Thailand, where it only reaches 900 m.


The chestnut-naped forktail is 18 to(-) 20 cm long and weighs 27 g. The head of the male is chestnut-coloured, with a white forehead and black mask in front of the eye. The wings are black with a white wing-bar. The breast is white with black barring, fading towards the white belly. The rump is white and the tail is black with white stripes and a white tip. The female is the same as the male except the back and is chestnut. The chestnut-naped forktail calls in flight, either a single of three whistles.


Chestnut-naped forktails forage near water, eating a range of insects including earwigs, beetles, ants and caterpillars. They have also been recorded eating snakes. The nest is a cup of plant fibres, lined with leaf skeletons and decorated on the outside with moss. The nest is fixed with mud to a boulder or bank. The clutch size is 2 eggs, which are white or pale pink and marked with reddish-brown speckles and purple undermarkings. This species is a host to brush cuckoos.


It is threatened by habitat loss, as lowland forest is rapidly being cleared across its range. It is expected to remain in hill habitat, and is classed as near threatened.

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Category / Seasonal Status

BCST Category: Recorded in an apparently wild state within the last 50 years

BCST Seasonal status: Resident or presumed resident

Scientific classification

Enicurus ruficapillus

Common names

  • Thai: นกกางเขนน้ำหลังแดง

Conservation status

Near Threatened (IUCN3.1)

Near Threatened (IUCN3.1)

Near Threatened (IUCN3.1)

Near Threatened (BirdLife)

Near Threatened (IUCN3.1)

Near Threatened (ONEP)

Near Threatened (IUCN3.1)

Near Threatened (BCST)


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Chestnut-naped forktail (female)
Chestnut-naped forktail
Chestnut-naped forktail

Range Map

Distribution map of Chestnut-naped forktail, Enicurus ruficapillus in Thailand
  • Bang Lang National Park
  • Hala-Bala Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Huai Yang Waterfall National Park
  • Kaeng Krachan National Park
  • Khao Banthat Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Khao Chong
  • Khao Luang National Park
  • Khao Nam Khang National Park
  • Khao Nan National Park
  • Khao Phanom Bencha National Park
  • Khao Phra - Bang Khram Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Khao Pu - Khao Ya National Park
  • Khao Sok National Park
  • Khlong Bang Yai Forest Park
  • Khlong Saeng Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Kui Buri National Park
  • Lam Nam Kra Buri National Park
  • Mueang Phang Nga District, Phang Nga
  • Sri Phang-nga National Park
  • Thale Ban National Park
  • Ton Nga-Chang Wildlife Sanctuary
Range map of Enicurus ruficapillus in Thailand