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Chestnut-breasted Partridge Arborophila mandellii
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The limited available data suggest that this partridge has a small population which is declining and becoming increasingly fragmented. It is therefore classified as Vulnerable. Results of more extensive surveys may require a reassessment, and possible downgrading, of its threat status.

Taxonomic source(s)
del Hoyo, J.; Collar, N. J.; Christie, D. A.; Elliott, A.; Fishpool, L. D. C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International.

28 cm. Distinctive partridge with chestnut breast-band and grey belly. Similar spp. Distinguished from similar Rufous-throated Partridge A. rufogularis by more rufescent crown and head-sides, white gorget and entirely chestnut upper breast. Voice Repeated loud prrreet, followed by series of prr prr-er-it phrases, ascending to climax.

Distribution and population
Arborophila mandellii is endemic to the eastern Himalayas north of the Brahmaputra, and is known from Bhutan, West Bengal (Darjeeling only), Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh in north-eastern India, and south-eastern Tibet, China. There are recent records from several sites in the central and eastern valleys of Bhutan (Spierenberg 2005), including the Thrumshing La National Park and Shemgang Dzongkhag, but it may also be found in western Bhutan, which has barely been surveyed (P. Spierenberg in litt. 2004). It is locally common in the remaining forests of Arunachal Pradesh and perhaps also in parts of West Bengal, suggesting it may be evenly distributed right across its range, wherever suitable habitat occurs.

Population justification
The population is estimated to number 2,500-9,999 mature individuals based on an assessment of known records, descriptions of abundance and range size. This is consistent with recorded population density estimates for congeners or close relatives with a similar body size, and the fact that only a proportion of the estimated Extent of Occurrence is likely to be occupied. This estimate is equivalent to 3,750-14,999 individuals, rounded here to 3,500-15,000 individuals.

Trend justification
The species is suspected to be declining at a moderate rate, owing to on-going forest conversion driven by a slowly expanding human population within its range. However, significant measures have been taken to safeguard forests in Arunachal Pradesh and Bhutan, lending hope that suitable habitat can be conserved.

It is resident in the undergrowth of evergreen forest, including bamboo, often close to streams, from perhaps as low as 350 m up to 2,500 m, but invariably at 1,700-2,000 m based on recent records (Spierenberg 2005). In Bhutan, its known distribution is almost entirely confined to areas with extensive old-growth forest suggesting that the species may be sensitive to habitat degradation (P. Spierenberg in litt. 2004). Calling birds are heard from mid-March to June (Spierenberg 2005).

Forest degradation and fragmentation as a result of shifting cultivation, timber harvesting and clearance for tea plantations is an increasing problem in north-eastern India. Hunting in the Mishmi Hills (including within protected areas) is apparently severe. Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim have large hydroelectric development projects underway that are expected to directly impact suitable habitat and have brought secondary impacts such as influxes of workers (with an expected increase in trapping and hunting pressure), road construction, residential development and facilitation of timber smuggling (A. Rahmani in litt. 2012). Snares set for mammals are also responsible for the deaths of many galliformes. Singalila National Park suffers high incursion rates from visitors coming to hunt, collect forest products and graze livestock. Extensive grazing across much of its range is a further threat. As Bhutan's population increases, shifting agriculture and grazing are likely to become problems within the species's altitudinal range, despite the country's admirable forestry policy (P. Spierenberg in litt. 2004).

Conservation Actions Underway
It is known from at least three protected areas, Singalila National Park (West Bengal), Thrumshing La National Park (Bhutan) and Bumdeling Wildlife Sanctuary (Bhutan), and has been reported recently from Mehao and Dibang Valley Wildlife Sanctuaries (Arunachal Pradesh). A recent ban has been placed on timber export from forests in Arunachal Pradesh. Bhutan's national policy to maintain forests over 60% of the country potentially goes a long way to ensuring a safe long-term future for this species there, and c. 35% of the country is designated as a Protected Area (26%) or Biological Corridor (9%) (P. Spierenberg in litt. 2004). Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct extensive surveys in promising forested areas throughout its range to determine distribution. Conduct intensive studies at key sites to provide detailed information on habitat use, population sizes and threats. Identify key areas and develop conservation management recommendations for them. Assess the threat posed by trapping and hunting pressure (A. Rahmani in litt. 2012). Conduct awareness programmes to reduce trapping and hunting pressure (A. Rahmani in litt. 2012).

BirdLife International. 2001. Threatened birds of Asia: the BirdLife International Red Data Book. BirdLife International, Cambridge, U.K.

Keane, A.M.; Carroll, J. P.; Fuller, R. A.; McGowan, P.J. K. in press. Partridges, quails, francolins, snowcocks, guineafowl and turkeys: status survey and conservation action plan 2005-2009. IUCN and WPA, Gland, Switzerland.

Spierenburg, P. 2005. Birds in Bhutan: status and distribution. Oriental Bird Club, Bedford, U.K.

Further web sources of information
Detailed species accounts from the Threatened birds of Asia: the BirdLife International Red Data Book (BirdLife International 2001).

Explore HBW Alive for further information on this species

Search for photos and videos, and hear sounds of this species from the Internet Bird Collection

Text account compilers
Benstead, P., Bird, J., Davidson, P., Keane, A., Taylor, J.

Ghose, D., Inskipp, C., Rahmani, A., Spierenburg, P.

IUCN Red List evaluators
Butchart, S., Symes, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Arborophila mandellii. Downloaded from on 23/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 23/10/2016.

This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife

To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Vulnerable
Family Phasianidae (Pheasants, Partridges, Turkeys, Grouse)
Species name author Hume, 1874
Population size 2500-9999 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 67,100 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species