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Nilgiri Blue Robin Myiomela major
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This species has a naturally very small and severely fragmented range, which is further declining rapidly as a result of conversion of forest habitats to plantations, agriculture and settlements. It therefore qualifies as Endangered.

Taxonomic note
Brachypteryx major (Sibley and Monroe 1990, 1993) has been moved into the genus Myiomela and split into M. major and M. albiventris following Rasmussen and Anderton (2005).

Brachypteryx major

14 cm. Small, chat-like bird with uniform, dark slaty-blue head, breast and upperside. Whitish centre of abdomen with rufous flanks and undertail-coverts. Similar spp. White-bellied Blue Robin M. albiventris has dark slaty-blue flanks and white undertail coverts with white supercilium. Voice Song a short jumble of shrill whistles and harsh notes, combining whistled calls and twangy buzzes, sometimes with mimicry. Calls include a strained, indrawn whistle and harsher rattles.

Distribution and population
Myiomela major is restricted to the Nilgiri Hills and South Wayanad Hills, Kerala, and to three peaks in south-west Karnataka, including the Baba Budan Hills, in southern India (del Hoyo et al. 2005, J. Praveen in litt. 2010, V. V. Robin in litt. 2010, 2012). Although the species is described as moderately common, its range is highly restricted and declining due to habitat destruction (del Hoyo et al. 2005, del Hoyo et al. 2007).

Population justification
The global population size has not been quantified, but evidence suggests that it is moderately common within suitable habitat.

Trend justification
Although no quantitative data is available, suitable forest in the Western Ghats is being cleared (del Hoyo et al. 2007), hence the species is suspected to be declining.

This sedentary species can be found in the undergrowth of "shola" (sheltered woods) from 900-2,100 m, but more typically between 1,000 and 1,500 m (del Hoyo et al. 2005, R. Vijayan in litt. 2010). It breeds in April and May, laying a clutch of 2-3 eggs. It is secretive and shy, creeping through vegetation and around fallen timber, presumably foraging for small insects (del Hoyo et al. 2005).

As reported for other species in the Western Ghats, an increasing human population has led to increased illegal encroachment into forests. Harvesting of fuelwood and huge quantities of forest products is likely to have a negative impact on this species, and it suffers some effects of livestock grazing (V. V. Robin in litt. 2012). Furthermore, hydroelectric power development and road-building are causing reductions in forest cover in some areas. Between 1961 and 1988, 47% of evergreen/semi-evergreen forest was lost in the Kerala portion of the Western Ghats, as a result of clearance for plantations, cash-crops (e.g. tea), reservoirs and human settlements (del Hoyo et al. 2007). Furthermore, having a montane distribution that is close to the maximum altitude within its range, this species is potentially susceptible to climate change (BirdLife International unpubl. data).

Conservation Actions Underway
It occurs in Mukurti and Silent Valley national parks, Aralam and Brahmagiri wildlife sanctuaries and Bhadra Tiger Reserve (J. Praveen in litt. 2012).Conservation Actions Proposed
Regularly monitor populations at selected sites and develop a database of information for formulating conservation management strategies for different areas. Campaign for a moratorium on conversion of remaining natural forests to plantations in the Nilgiris. Promote community-based conservation initiatives focusing on restoration of natural habitats in the Nilgiris, including protection of undergrowth and shrubs in existing old plantations. Initiate conservation-awareness programmes in the Nilgiris.

del Hoyo, J.; Elliott, A.; Christie, D. 2005. Handbook of the Birds of the World, vol. 10: Cuckoo-shrikes to Thrushes. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.

del Hoyo, J.; Elliott, A.; Christie, D. 2007. Handbook of the Birds of the World, vol. 12: Picathartes to Tits and Chickadees. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.

Rasmussen, P.C.; Anderton, J.C. 2005. Birds of South Asia: the Ripley Guide. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.

Robin, V. V.; Sinha, A.; Ramakrishnan, U. 2010. Ancient geographical gaps and paleo-climate shape the phylogeography of an endemic bird in the sky islands of southern India. PLoS One 5(10): e13321.

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

Sibley, C. G.; Monroe, B. L. 1993. A supplement to 'Distribution and taxonomy of birds of the world'. Yale University Press, New Haven, USA.

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
Calvert, R., Derhé, M., Khwaja, N.

Praveen, J., Robin, V.

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

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Myiomela major. Downloaded from on 28/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 28/10/2016.

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 - Nilgiri blue robin (Myiomela major)

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Endangered
Family Muscicapidae (Chats and Old World flycatchers)
Species name author (Jerdon, 1844)
Population size Unknown mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 990 km2
Country endemic? Yes
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species