email a friend
printable version
Black-throated Shrikebill Clytorhynchus nigrogularis

This species is listed as Vulnerable because it has a small and declining population owing to losses of mature old-growth forest through continuing logging and forest conversion. Updated estimates of habitat loss are needed and should these reveal the species is declining at a less rapid rate, the species would warrant downlisting.

Taxonomic source(s)
Dutson, G. 2006. The Pacific shrikebills (Clytorhynchus) and the case for species status for the form sanctaecrucis. Bulletin of the British Ornithologists' Club 126(4): 299-308.

Taxonomic note
Clytorhynchus nigrogularis (Sibley and Monroe 1990, 1993) has been split into C. nigrogularis and C. sanctaecrucis following Dutson (2006).

21 cm. A heavy greyish-brown forest bird. Bllack head and throat of adult male contrasts strongly with grey-white ear-coverts, otherwise, uniform grey-brown plumage. Female and immature more consistently brownish and lack head pattern. Heavy, black bill with horn edgings and tip. Similar spp. Female only safely distinguished from slightly smaller Fiji Shrikebill C. vitiensis by bill size and shape or by presence of male. Females can also be confused with Wattled Honeyeater Foulehaio carunculata (which should be readily distinguished by voice, curved beak and yellow wattle) and female Golden Whistler Pachycephala pectoralis (which has rounder head and flatter bill). Voice Both species of shrikebill have drawn-out, wavering, whistling call with several variations. These are not distinguishable except with considerable experience.

Distribution and population
Clytorhynchus nigrogularis is found on Viti Levu, Vanua Levu, Taveuni, Kadavu and Ovalau in Fiji (Pratt et al. 1987). It has been described as fairly common in suitable habitat, but is likely to be rarer than commonly reported because it is usually misidentified and occurs at low population densities (G. Dutson pers. obs. 2000, Watling 2000). Recent surveys have generated much more data on this species, showing it to be widespread but at low population densities: c.1 bird/km2 on average and it is fairly common at the Garrick and Tomaniivi reserves; one or two can be heard most days in the central hills from Nausori Highlands to Nadrau and Monosavu. The species was recorded at 55% of the sites surveyed (19/34 sites) which were pre-selected to be the densest, wettest old-growth forest. Very few were recorded in logged or degraded forest. The total population is likely to be in the range of 2,500-9,999 birds (G. Dutson in litt. 2005). The species is likely to be declining at the same rate as forest loss and degradation, which is estimated to be about 0.5-0.8 % per year (Claasen 1991). There are very few recent records from Vanua Levu, Taveuni, Kadavu or Ovalau.

Population justification
Recent surveys on Fiji recorded an average of 0.1 birds/hour (a total of 49 birds) equating to 1 bird/km2, mostly calling males. There are a number of likely errors in this estimate, especially the number of silent birds overlooked. The species was recorded at 55% of the sites surveyed (19/34 sites) which were pre-selected to be the densest wettest old-growth forest. Very few were recorded in logged or degraded forest. If it assumed to occur in 50% of the forest, which covers about 40% of the species's Fijian EOO (c.17,500 km2), the total population is likely to be in the range of 2,500-9,999 birds (G. Dutson in litt. 2005). This equates to 3,750-14,999 individuals, rounded here to 3,500-15,000 individuals.

Trend justification
Given the species's intolerance of habitat degradation, it is likely to be declining at the same rate as forest loss and degradation, which is estimated to be about 0.5-0.8% per year (Claasen 1991), equating to 6-10% over 12 years (three generations).

It occurs up to 1,200 m in dense, mature, wet forests (Pratt et al. 1987). It has also been reported from mangroves and dense bush (Clunie 1984), however, it appears to be absent from extensive areas of degraded forest without scattered remnants of old-growth forest, and has a patchy distribution, probably being more common in mountains (G. Dutson pers. obs. 2000, D. Watling verbally 2000, G. Dutson in litt. 2005).

The main threat is the continuing habitat loss and deterioration from logging and mahogany plantations, with only c.50% of Viti Levu and Vanua Levu remaining forested (Watling 2000). However, according to the Department of Forestry, the logging rate is slowing, and there is only one active logging operation on Vanua Levu (V. Masibalavu in litt. 2007). Government priorities regarding Protected Areas in Fiji are undefined and so these areas are under threat, for example in the Sovi Basin Protected Area where the possibility of mining in the area is being explored (V. Masibalavu in litt. 2012).

Conservation Actions Underway
It is protected by law and is recorded from several protected areas including Tomaniivi and Ravilevu Nature Reserves, the Sovi Basin and the Garrick Memorial Park (D. Watling in litt. 2000, V. Masibalavu in litt. 2007). BirdLife Fiji is working towards establishing three new PAs (Natewa Peninsula and two sites in Kadavu) with an effective monitoring framework (V. Masibalavu in litt. 2007). Conservation Actions Proposed
Develop a monitoring programme for forest birds as declines in population and the initiation of threat processes could well be going unnoticed (SPREP 2000). Develop in-country training in survey techniques (SPREP 2000). Survey populations on all five islands. Determine population densities in various forest habitats and altitudes. Monitor populations at well-known sites, e.g. Nausori Highlands. Advocate creation of community-based forest conservation reserves. Initiate management in gazetted nature reserves (D. Watling in litt. 2000).

Claasen, D. R. 1991. Deforestation in Fiji: National environment management plan report 2.

Clunie, F. 1984. Birds of the Fiji bush. Fiji Museum, Suva.

Pratt, H. D.; Bruner, P. L.; Berrett, D. G. 1987. A field guide to the birds of Hawaii and the tropical Pacific. Princeton University Press, Princeton.

SPREP. 2000. Proceedings of the Melanesian Avifauna Conservation Workshop, Nadi, Fiji, 5-10 March, 2000.

Watling, D. 2000. Conservation status of Fijian birds. Technical Group 2 Report - Fiji Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan.

Further web sources of information
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
Derhé, M., Dutson, G., Mahood, S., O'Brien, A., Shutes, S., Stattersfield, A., Temple, H.

Dutson, G., Leary, T., Masibalavu, V., Watling, D.

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

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2015) Species factsheet: Clytorhynchus nigrogularis. Downloaded from on 09/10/2015. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2015) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 09/10/2015.

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 Monarchidae (Monarchs)
Species name author (Layard, 1875)
Population size 2500-9999 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 16,900 km2
Country endemic? Yes
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species