email a friend
printable version
Chinese Grouse Bonasa sewerzowi
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
Please email us with any relevant information

This species occurs in a relatively small area of China where it has suffered intensive habitat loss in parts of its range and is subject to egg collecting and hunting. Although it appears to be able to withstand quite high levels of exploitation it is probably undergoing a moderately rapid population reduction, and is consequently classified as Near Threatened.

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
Bonasa sewerzowi is found in the mountains of south-west China, in eastern Tibet, Qinghai, Gansu and western Sichuan (BirdLife International 2001). Its known range was recently extended to the western edge of the forest zone in Tibet (at c.93°30'E), suggesting that it may occur much more widely in the vast and continuous forests of south-east Tibet than was previously documented. It is common in suitable forest, and recent studies in Gansu found extraordinarily high densities of up to 15 occupied territories per km2. However, it is believed to have disappeared from eastern Qinghai and central Gansu because of deforestation, and it has also suffered intensive habitat loss in south-west Gansu.

Population justification
The global population size has not been quantified, but the species is described as common in suitable forest (del Hoyo et al. 1994).

Trend justification
There are no data on population trends; however, the species is suspected to be undergoing a moderately rapid decline owing to habitat degradation, hunting and egg collecting.

It occurs in birch and coniferous forest, generally above 1,000 m (BirdLife International 2001), and up to 4,200 m (Klaus et al. 2009b). Its typical habitat is characterised as sparse coniferous forest with a pronounced herbaceous layer and broken glades rich in shrubbery and/or bamboo (Klaus et al. 2009b). In winter, flocks of this otherwise territorial species form in valley bottoms, typically numbering 4-20 individuals (BirdLife International 2001, Klaus et al. 2009b). The species feeds mainly on buds, leaves and shoots taken from willow Salix shrubs throughout the year (Klaus et al. 2009b). They also feed on mosses, herbs and tree seeds collected from the forest floor, and take berries in autumn. Males establish territories in mid-April, although a second peak in territorial activity in the autumn, before winter flocks are formed, may provide advantages when territories are re-established in the spring (Klaus et al. 2009a). The nest is placed at the foot of a tree or rarely in a rotten stump, and egg-laying begins in mid- to late May. Clutches, rarely numbering more than six eggs, are incubated for 25-29 days, and hatching in early to mid-July coincides with the intense rainfall of the monsoon season (Klaus et al. 2009b).

Its habitat has been greatly reduced and fragmented by large-scale forest clearance and intensive livestock grazing (BirdLife International 2001, Klaus et al. 2009b). Illegal hunting and egg-collecting may also be problems in parts of its range (BirdLife International 2001). A population studied in Lianhuashan Natural Reserve (Gansu Province) between 1995 and 2000 was stable despite egg-collecting by local people at 10-29% of nests each year (Sun et al. 2003). Although large-scale forest clearance is thought to be detrimental, limited evidence suggests that lower levels of timber extraction that result in a lush shrub layer with an abundance of Salix spp. allow the species to exist at higher densities (Klaus et al. 2009b).

Conservation Actions Underway
None is known. Conservation Actions Proposed
Quantify the impact of hunting and the taking of eggs in different parts of its range. Regulate egg collecting through local networks. Regularly monitor the population at selected sites. Research its seasonal habitat requirements and the impact of habitat fragmentation.

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

del Hoyo, J.; Elliott, A.; Sargatal, J. 1994. Handbook of the Birds of the World, vol. 2: New World Vultures to Guineafowl. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.

Klaus, S.; Scherzinger, W.; Yue-Hua Sun; Swenson, J. E.; Jie Wang; Yun Fang. 2009. Das Chinahaselhuhn Tetrastes sewerzowi - Akrobat im Weidengebüsch. Limicola 23(1): 1-57.

Klaus, S.; Sun, Y.-H.; Fang, Y.; Scherzinger, W. 2009. Autumn territoriality of Chinese Grouse Bonasa sewerzowi at Lianhuashan Natural Reserve, Gansu, China. International Journal of Galliformes Conservation 1: 44-48.

Sun Yue-Hua; Swenson, J. E.; Fang Yun; Klaus, S.; Scherzinger, W. 2003. Population ecology of the Chinese grouse, Bonasa sewerzowi in a fragmented landscape. Biological Conservation 110: 177-184.

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., Mahood, S., Taylor, J.

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

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Bonasa sewerzowi. Downloaded from on 21/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 21/10/2016.

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 - Chinese grouse (Bonasa sewerzowi) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Near Threatened
Family Phasianidae (Pheasants, Partridges, Turkeys, Grouse)
Species name author (Przewalski, 1876)
Population size Unknown mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 394,000 km2
Country endemic? Yes
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species