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Bugun Liocichla Liocichla bugunorum
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This species, first described only in the 1990s, has been uplisted to Critically Endangered on the basis that its apparently extremely small population is inferred to be in decline owing to habitat loss and degradation. It is recognised, however, that further fieldwork may lead to the discovery of new localities and populations.

Taxonomic source(s)
Athreya, R. 2006. A new species of Liocichla (Aves: Timaliidae) from Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary, Arunchal Pradesh, India. Indian Birds 2(4): 82-94.

Taxonomic note
Described as new to science by Athreya (2006).

22 cm. Overall, an olive-grey bird with a black cap, black uppertail. It has a striking gold streak either side of a black eye, gold in the wing as a broad panel and extending as gold fringes to the primaries. Otherwise dark remiges and rectrices are tipped with vibrant red. The closed underside of the tail appears as a solid sheet of orange-red flame in the male. The female is a duller version of the male with the red areas smaller in size or replaced by yellow (under the tail). Similar spp. none within the range. Voice distinctive fluty notes with a terminal inflection.

Distribution and population
Liocichla bugunorum was described from Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary, Arunachal Pradesh, India. Since the original sighting, the species has also been sighted near Bomdila (C. Bonpo in litt. 2011) and since 2009, at least six breeding territories have been recorded in a small area of Lama Camp in Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary (Grewal 2009, S. Dalvi and P. Alstrom in litt. 2012, J. Eaton in litt. 2014). There are only three known localities at present, although analysis of the distribution of apparently suitable habitat suggests it could range more widely in Arunachal Pradesh and also into neighbouring Bhutan and China (Peterson and Papes 2006, S. Dalvi in litt. 2012). However, a survey of other suitable areas surrounding the type locality failed to record this species (R. Athreya in litt. 2007), and fieldwork in May 2007 found very few additional suitable areas in western Kameng district (S. Dalvi in litt. 2012). Given its striking plumage and distinctive vocalisations it is unlikely that the species could have escaped detection for so long if it were relatively common and widespread.

Population justification
The species's population is estimated to number 50-249 mature individuals, based on a known population of c.14 individuals. This is assumed to be equivalent to c.70-380 individuals in total.

Trend justification
Little is known about the population status of this species, or how it is affected by habitat degradation, but it is suspected to be undergoing an unquantified decline, owing to habitat loss to road construction and wildfires and other human pressures within its range.

Little is known about this species, although all sightings have occurred on heavily disturbed hillsides over 2,000 m and among dense scrub, small trees (Anon 2006) and bamboo (C. Bonpo in litt. 2011). Other Liocichla spp. occur in evergreen primary forest and some secondary habitats, typically singly or in pairs. They tend to be unobtrusive. The area where this species has been recorded is part of a wider area of contiguous closed canopy forest.

Little is known, but the species has been recorded from logged forest which may well be sub-optimal habitat, as surveys of similar habitat surrounding known localities were fruitless (Anon 2006). Logging for fuel-wood and timber continues at one of the known localities for the species, as local Bugun people rely heavily on local timber for fuel and construction. In 2012-2013, habitat at Lama Camp was further fragmented by the construction of a new road, which is expected to lead to more habitat degradation in the immediate vicinity (J. Eaton in litt. 2014). Uncontrolled fires also pose a risk to the species's habitat. At Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary, fire affected a large area from Lama Camp to Sunderview in February 2013, reducing the area of suitable habitat (A. P. Singh in litt. 2014). Increasing tourism could pose a long term threat if it remains unregulated.

Conservation Actions Underway
The species has been described from within the Bugun community forest area adjacent to Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary. Between them, Eaglenest and Sessa sanctuaries protect a microcosm of the wider Kameng protected area. The type locality and surrounding areas have been proposed as a community reserve, which is a new category of protected area in India in which local communities play a significant role in partnership with the forest department (R. Athreya in litt. 2007).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct further surveys to improve understanding of the species's range, population and ecology, including intensive surveys in adjoining areas of Arunachal Pradesh, and also in adjacent areas of Bhutan (P. Singh in litt. 2014). Appraise potential threats to this species. Ensure that habitats within the Kameng protected area remain safe by opposing further road developments.

Related state of the world's birds case studies

Athreya, R. 2006. A new species of liocichla (Aves: Timaliidae) from Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary, Arunachal Pradesh, India. Indian Birds 2(4): 82-94.

Grewal, B. 2009. In search of the Bugun Liocichla and other parables from Eaglenest: 28 February - 8 March 2009. Indian Birds 5(3): 65-69.

IUCN. 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2012.1). Available at: (Accessed: 19 June 2012).

Peterson, A. T.; Papes, M. 2006. Potential geographic distribution of the Bugun Liocichla Liocichla bugunorum, a poorly-known species from north-eastern India. Indian Birds 2(6): 146-149.

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
Bird, J., Butchart, S., Derhé, M., Gilroy, J., Symes, A. & Taylor, J.

Alstrom, P., Athreya, R., Bonpo, C., Dalvi, S., Eaton, J., Praveen, J., Singh, A. & Singh, P.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Liocichla bugunorum. 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 - Bugun liocichla (Liocichla bugunorum) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Critically Endangered
Family Timaliidae (Babblers and parrotbills)
Species name author Athreya, 2006
Population size 50-249 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 2 km2
Country endemic? Yes
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species