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Jerdon's Babbler Chrysomma altirostre
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
Please email us with any relevant information

This species is likely to be in rapid decline as a result of the extensive loss of tall, wet grassland habitat, primarily owing to drainage, conversion to cultivation and grazing by domestic stock. It therefore qualifies as Vulnerable.

Taxonomic source(s)
Sibley, C. G.; Monroe, B. L. 1990. Distribution and taxonomy of birds of the world. Yale University Press, New Haven, USA.

Moupinia altirostris Collar and Andrew (1988)

16-17 cm. Rather nondescript, thick-billed and long-tailed babbler. Grey lores, throat and breast. Paler lower mandible. Brown to golden-brown eye, greenish-yellow eye-ring. Subspecies griseigularis is darker and more rufous-chestnut above, has blacker lores, greyer throat and upper breast and deeper buff lower breast to vent. Juvenile is warmer overall and has pinkish lower mandible. Similar spp. Yellow-eyed Babbler C. sinense has yellow iris, orange eye-ring, white lores and supercilium, throat and breast. Voice Sings with rather weak chi-chi-chi-chew-chew-chew or ih-ih-ih-ih chew chitit chew i'wwiuu, sometimes introduced by uneven rapid itch, itit and tchew notes. Calls include short tic notes.

Distribution and population
Chrysomma altirostre occurs in three disjunct populations, along the River Indus and its tributaries in Pakistan, in the terai of Nepal (where it has only recently been discovered), and the Brahmaputra floodplain in north-east India (BirdLife International 2001). It is known historically from the Irrawaddy-Sittang plains of Myanmar, and possibly Bangladesh. Recent records from Assam, its stronghold in India, suggest it has declined and in Pakistan it is uncommon and local. There are no recent records from Myanmar or Bangladesh.

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 in total, rounded here to 3,500-15,000 individuals.

Trend justification
Despite a lack of recent data on population trends, a rapid decline is suspected to be continuing, consistent with rates of habitat loss throughout the species's range.

It is a presumed resident, inhabiting river floodplain tall grassland and reedbeds (2-4 m high), often seasonally inundated or in close proximity to rivers and pools, and predominantly comprising species of Imperata, Saccharum, Phragmites and Typha. It prefers dense, contiguous, undisturbed stands of grass and generally avoids drier, semi-open, short grassland habitat with scattered bushes. It is unobtrusive and usually encountered in pairs or small groups.

Large tracts of natural swamps and wet grassland have been destroyed or degraded throughout its range as a result of drainage, conversion for agriculture and grazing by domestic stock. This has been exacerbated in Pakistan by the construction of large barrages on the Indus, accelerating rates of land reclamation and conversion to cultivation. Most remaining habitat is subject to intense pressure from further drainage for agriculture, human encroachment, excessive burning and cutting, domestic livestock-grazing, and, more locally, commercial forestry plantations. The political situation in Myanmar has largely precluded intensive surveys for the species.

Conservation Actions Underway
It occurs in several protected areas, including Kaziranga, Manas and Dibru-Saikowa National Parks, India, Sukla Phanta Wildlife Reserve and Chitwan National Park, Nepal. Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct further surveys to establish the species's current distribution and status, particularly in Myanmar and Bangladesh. Campaign for increased representation of swamps and wet grasslands within protected-area systems throughout its range. Identify the most important conservation sites for the species and conduct research into grass burning/harvesting regimes in order to develop optimum management strategies. Regulate harvesting of grass, overgrazing and encroachment at key sites, particularly within protected areas. Conduct education programmes throughout its range to promote grassland conservation and regeneration.

BirdLife International. 2001. Threatened birds of Asia: the BirdLife International Red Data Book. BirdLife International, Cambridge, 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., Gilroy, J., Taylor, J., Allinson, T

Baral, H., Choudhury, A., Khan, A.

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

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Chrysomma altirostre. 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.

Additional resources for this species

ARKive species - Jerdon's babbler (Chrysomma altirostre) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Vulnerable
Family Timaliidae (Babblers and parrotbills)
Species name author (Jerdon, 1862)
Population size 2500-9999 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 39,000 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species