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Philippine Spinetail Mearnsia picina
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
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This species is considered Near Threatened, as it is thought to have a small or moderately small population, which is inferred to be in decline owing to habitat loss, with the rate of population decline suspected to be moderately rapid. Further studies are urgently required to clarify the magnitude of the decline.

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.

Distribution and population
Mearnsia picina is endemic to the Philippines where it has been described as fairly common on Mindanao, Samar, Leyte, Biliran, Cebu and Negros, with a recent record from Tawitawi, but it appears to be scarce and local even at the best sites (Collar et al. 1999).

Population justification
The global population size has not been quantified, but the species is described as uncommon throughout its range (del Hoyo et al. 1999).

Trend justification
Data on population trends are lacking for this poorly known species, but a moderately rapid decline is suspected to be occurring, owing to the rapid destruction of lowland forest habitats within the range.

This species is apparently restricted to lowland forest, although little is known of its breeding habits or life history. It feeds high above forest, either alone or in small groups.

The close association with lowland forests suggests that this species may be highly susceptible to habitat loss through commercial logging, conversion for agriculture and plantation forestry, as well as urban developments and mining.

Conservation Actions Underway
No targeted conservation actions are known for this species.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct ecological studies to improve understanding of this species's breeding ecology and habitat requirements. Conduct surveys across its range to estimate population size and locate important breeding sites. Once identified, monitor populations at breeding sites in order to determine population trends. Protect areas of suitable habitat.

Collar, N. J.; Mallari, N. A. D.; Tabaranza, B. R. J. 1999. Threatened birds of the Philippines: the Haribon Foundation/BirdLife International Red Data Book. Bookmark, Makati City.

del Hoyo, J.; Elliott, A.; Sargatal, J. 1999. Handbook of the Birds of the World, vol. 5: Barn-owls to Hummingbirds. 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).

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.

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

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Mearnsia picina. 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 Apodidae (Swifts)
Species name author (Tweeddale, 1879)
Population size Unknown mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 113,000 km2
Country endemic? Yes
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species