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Timor Sparrow Padda fuscata
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
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This species is listed as Near Threatened because recent assessments suggest that the population may experience a moderately rapid decline as a result of habitat loss and increasing exploitation for the cagebird trade.

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

12-14 cm. Gregarious, open-country finch. Blackish cap and throat contrasting with conspicuous white cheeks. Chocolate-brown upperparts and chest, sharply demarcated from white belly to undertail-coverts. Steely-grey bill and legs. Similar spp. Escaped Java Sparrow P. oryzivora lacks chocolate-brown and has pink bill. Voice Dry chip call, given in rapid or jumbled series when singing, chip chip chip chip-chip-chip chip.

Distribution and population
This species is restricted to Timor-Leste, West Timor, and its outlying islands, Semau and Roti, Indonesia, where it is widespread, but generally sparsely and patchily distributed. It is locally moderately common, being described as uncommon to abundant in Timor-Leste (C. Trainor in litt. 2004) where recent surveys at two sites along the Laivai River located several groups of 30-50 birds within a few hectares in a short period at both sites, suggesting a likely population total in the thousands for the entire river region (C. Trainor in litt. 2004). Local reports have suggested that flocks of hundreds to thousands may form (Mauro 2003).

Population justification
The population size is preliminarily estimated to fall into the band 10,000-19,999 individuals. This equates to 6,667-13,333 mature individuals, rounded here to 6,000-15,000 mature individuals.

Trend justification
The species has probably declined in the past as monsoon forest has been cleared. Further declines, at a moderately rapid rate, are projected in the future, with the species commonly trapped for the cage-bird trade, and suffering continued forest loss.

It mainly frequents the extreme lowlands, sometimes ascending hills to around 700 m, where it regularly occurs as individuals or in small groups of three to five birds, occasionally mixed with other granivorous birds, and can form larger flocks with groups of 30-50 recently recorded (C. Trainor in litt. 2004). It forages on or near the ground in grassland, lightly wooded cattle-pasture, scrub, overgrown gardens, deciduous or degraded monsoon-forest and the margins of cultivation, and in Timor-Leste was found in Eucalyptus alba savanna, ricefields, severly degraded coastal shrublands and riparian woodland dominated by Casuarina (C. Trainor in litt. 2004). Considered a considerable rice predator in Timor-Leste (Trainor et al. 2004), it has undoubtedly benefitted from land conversion to ricefields, allowing access to grains and water over long periods (C. Trainor in litt. 2004).

Habitat destruction in West Timor and Timor-Leste has been extensive. Three recently identified IBAs contain much of the remaining tropical monsoon-forest in Timor-Leste (approximately 652 km2) (Trainor 2002). Monsoon-forests now only cover an estimated 4% of West Timor, scattered in and around seven unprotected patches that continue to decline in size due to intensive grazing and burning. Use of slingshots and throwing stones to disturb the species from ricefields is unlikely to cause serious mortality, although little is known of local hunting success (C. Trainor in litt. 2004). Large numbers of birds are captured for the international cage-bird trade (e.g. over 4,000 imported by EU countries since 1997 [UNEP-WCMC CITES Trade Database, January 2005]), and this may be the key threat in the future.

Conservation Actions Underway
The species is listed in Annex D of the EU Wildlife Trade Regulations and therefore EU import levels are monitored.  It has been bred, apparently widely, in captivity (BirdLife International 2001), and occurs in Kateri Wildlife Sanctuary, West Timor. Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct surveys to clarify its distribution and ecological requirements, and its population size and trends, so that effective conservation measures can be developed and implemented. Monitor and regulate trapping and trade, devising and enforcing effective legislation. Establish appropriate protected areas to support viable populations. Effectively protect significant areas of suitable habitat at key sites, in both strictly protected areas and community-led multiple use areas, and develop captive breeding programmes.

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

Mauro, I. 2003. New and significant ornithological records from Asia’s newest country: Timor LesteMauro, I..

Trainor, C. 2002. An expedition to Damar Island, south-west Maluku, Indonesia. Oriental Bird Club Bulletin 36: 18-23.

Trainor, C. R.; Santana, F.; Xavier, A.; dos Santos, L.; Xavier, F.; dos Lorenzo, J. 2004. Status of globally threatened, near threatened and restricted-range birds and internationally significant biodiversity sites in Timor-Leste (East Timor) based on participatory surveys.

Trainor, C. R.; Santana, F.; Xavier, A.; Xavier, F.; Da Silva, A. 2004. Status of globally threatened birds and internationally significant sites in East Timor based on rapid participatory biodiversity assessments - with particular reference to the Nino Conis Santana National Park (NCSNP).

UNEP-WCMC. 2005. CITES trade database.

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., Bird, J., Harding, M., Stattersfield, A., Taylor, J., Tobias, J.

Trainor, C.

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

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Padda fuscata. Downloaded from on 24/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 24/10/2016.

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 Estrildidae (Waxbills, grass finches, munias and allies)
Species name author (Vieillot, 1817)
Population size 6000-15000 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 24,600 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species