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Bugun Liocichla Liocichla bugunorum

This recently described species is known from only a very small area, rendering it susceptible to human impacts. It is therefore classified as Vulnerable. Given the lack of previous records despite its spectacular appearance, it is not thought to be common or widespread, but further evidence may reveal a larger range and population. Should the population be found to be extremely small or undergoing a continuing decline, it would warrant uplisting to a higher threat category.

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 during May-June 2009, at least six breeding territories were recorded in a small area of Lama Camp in Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary (Grewal 2009, S. Dalvi and P. Alstrom in litt. 2012). There are only three known localities at present, although analysis of the distribution of apparently suitable habitat suggests it could range further east in central and eastern Arunachal Pradesh and also into neighbouring Bhutan and China (Peterson and Papes 2006). However, a survey of other suitable areas surrounding the type locality failed to record this species (R. Athreya in litt. 2007). 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
This is a poorly known species and no population estimates are available.

Trend justification
Little is known about the population status of this species, or how strongly it is affected by habitat degradation, but a slow decline is suspected to have occurred, owing to 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 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 two known localities for the species, as local Bugun people rely heavily on local timber for fuel and construction. A proposal for the development of a new road through the area has stalled, although improvements to the existing track are still planned (R. Athreya in litt. 2007). 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. Appraise potential threats to this species. Ensure that habitats within the Kameng protected area remain safe, particularly by opposing planned road developments that threaten to impact habitat integrity at the only known location.

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.

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.

Text account compilers
Bird, J., Butchart, S., Derhé, M., Gilroy, J.

Athreya, R., Bonpo, C., Dalvi, S., Praveen, J., Alstrom, P.

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

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2014) Species factsheet: Liocichla bugunorum. Downloaded from on 17/04/2014. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2014) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 17/04/2014.

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 Vulnerable
Family Timaliidae (Babblers and parrotbills)
Species name author Athreya, 2006
Population size Unknown mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 140 km2
Country endemic? Yes
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species