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Blackish-breasted Babbler Sphenocichla humei
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
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This recently split species has been classified as Near Threatened because there are concerns that its potentially small population is in decline owing to the on-going clearance of forest for shifting agriculture.

Taxonomic note
Sphenocichla humei (Sibley and Monroe 1990, 1993) has been split into S. humei and S. roberti following Collar (2006).

Distribution and population
Spenocichla humei occurs in extreme eastern Nepal, where it is a rare winter visitor or possibly resident, Sikkim and north-west Bengal, India, east to Bhutan (two recent records) and north-east Arunachal Pradesh, India.

Population justification
The population is preliminarily suspected to number fewer than 10,000 mature individuals, although this requires study.

Trend justification
The species is suspected to be declining at a slow to moderate rate, owing to logging and habitat degradation due to shifting agriculture.

It inhabits the understorey of broadleaf evergreen forest and bamboo at 900-1,950 m, favouring westward facing slopes in Bhutan. It occupies lower elevations only during the winter. It occurs in small parties and feeds on insects, particularly woodlice and boring beetles.

While the high altitudes favoured by this species are relatively free from habitat loss, shifting cultivation and logging are nevertheless reducing forest cover, at least in Bhutan and north-east India.

Conservation Actions Underway
None are known. Conservation Actions Proposed
Study its ecological requirements and its tolerance of habitat degradation. Monitor trends in habitat loss. Protect large areas of suitable habitat at key sites, in both strictly protected areas and community-managed multiple use areas.

Collar, N. J.; Robson, C. 2007. Family Timaliidae (Babblers). In: del Hoyo, J.; Elliott, A.; Christie, D. A. (ed.), Handbook of birds of the world, vol. 12: Picathartes to Tits and Chickadees, pp. 70-291. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.

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

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
Mahood, S., Taylor, J.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Sphenocichla humei. 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 Near Threatened
Family Timaliidae (Babblers and parrotbills)
Species name author (Mandelli, 1873)
Population size 2500-9999 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 87,100 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species