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Sichuan Treecreeper Certhia tianquanensis
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
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This fairly recently described species is listed as Near Threatened as it has a moderately small range, within which habitat quality may be declining. However its distribution and abundance are still poorly known.

Taxonomic note
Described as new to science by Martens et al. (2002).

12 cm. A long-tailed, short-billed treecreeper. Underparts brownish apart from white chin and throat. Similar spp. Two other treecreepers occur within the range of this species, none show its combination of long tail, short bill, and underpart colouration. Voice Song consists of a brief, high frequency trill, which rises of falls in pitch.

Distribution and population
Certhia tianquanensis was previously thought to occupy a relatively small range in China, with records from just five clustered localities in the mountains west of Chengdu and Leshan: Labahe Natural Reserve, Tianquin County; Dayi County; Shuanghe town, Ebian County; Wawu Shan, Hongya County, and Wujipung, Wolong Biosphere Reserve (Anderson 2003, Martins et al. 2003). However, it was recently discovered at Jiuzhaigou Nature Reserve, some 200 km north of the previously known range (Rheindt 2004). Subsequently, the species was also confirmed to occur at nearby Taibaishan (B. Anderson in litt. 2005), and also in the Quinling Mountains, Shaanxi (M. Rank in litt. 2005). Within this small area, it is often regarded as uncommon and it may also be patchily distributed because it seems to be confined to stands of old conifers (Emei fir Abies fabri), but it has probably been much overlooked (Rheindt 2004). Still, the only certainly viable population exists at Wawu Shan (Yue-Hua Sun 2009).

Population justification
The global population is estimated to number fewer than 1,000 individuals, roughly equivalent to 700 mature individuals.

Trend justification
Habitat loss and degradation are likely to be causing a slow to moderate population decline in this species.

This poorly-known treecreeper appears to be a relict species breeding in open stands of old-growth Emei fir (Abies fabri) at high altitude (2,500-2,830 m). It forages for invertebrates in the upper storey of large trees by creeping along branches and trunks. Appears to undertake localised altitudinal migrations in the winter (dropping down to at least 1,600 m). It nests in May and June, using cracks in the stems of dead firs (Yue-Hua Sun 2009).

Intensive logging of primary coniferous forests in the last century, even at high altitudes in the mountains of western China, has seriously reduced the potential range of this species. The Wawu Shan table mountain has steep slopes which are inaccessible to lumberjacks in the absence of extensive road construction, but it is not yet formally protected, and there are plans to open up the regions for tourism by building a cable railway.

Conservation Actions Underway
Two of the known sites are within protected areas - Labahe Natural Reserve and Wolong Biosphere Reserve. Conservation Actions Proposed
* Conduct surveys to establish its true distribution and status, especially on the Wawu Shan. *Campaign for protected area designation for the Wawu Shan. *List it as a protected species in China.

Anderson, M.W. 2003. Birds in biology: a chronology. Scientist 17(22): 12.

del Hoyo, J.; Elliott, A.; Christie, D. 2008. Handbook of the Birds of the World, vol. 13: Penduline-tits to Shrikes. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.

Martens, J.; Eck, S.; Sun, Y. H. 2002. Certhia tianquanensis Li, a treecreeper with relict distribution in Sichuan, China. Journal für Ornithologie 143: 440-456.

Martins, J.; Eck, S.; Sun, Y. H. 2003. On the discovery of a new treecreeper in China - Certhia tianquanensis Li. Oriental Bird Club Bulletin 37: 65-70.

Rheindt, F.E. 2004. Notes on the range and ecology of Sichuan Treecreeper Certhia tianquanensis. Forktail 20: 141-142.

Yue-Hua Sun; Ying-Xin Jiang; Martens, J.; Zhong-Lin Bi. 2009. Notes on the breeding biology of the Sichuan Treecreeper (Certhia tianquanensis). Journal of Ornithology 150: 925-929.

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
Benstead, P., Khwaja, N., Mahood, S.

Anderson, B., Rheindt, F., Yang, L.

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

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Certhia tianquanensis. 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.

Additional resources for this species

ARKive species - Sichuan treecreeper (Certhia tianquanensis) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Near Threatened
Family Certhiidae (Treecreepers)
Species name author Li, 1995
Population size 700 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 32,000 km2
Country endemic? Yes
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species