email a friend
printable version
Yellow-rumped Honeyguide Indicator xanthonotus
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
Please email us with any relevant information

This scarce and poorly known species is thought to have a moderately small global population size as a result of its narrow habitat requirements and strong association with giant honey bee Apis dorsata colonies. It is likely to be declining as a result of habitat loss and honey extraction by humans, and is therefore considered Near Threatened.

Taxonomic source(s)
del Hoyo, J.; Collar, N. J.; Christie, D. A.; Elliott, A.; Fishpool, L. D. C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International.

Distribution and population
Indicator xanthonotus occurs in Pakistan (possibly a seasonal or nomadic visitor; there are no recent records), Nepal (local and uncommon), India (very rare and local), Bhutan (local and uncommon), China (rare in south-east Tibet) and Myanmar (rare resident in the north) (BirdLife International 2001). It is generally assumed to be a rare species, although easily overlooked due to its inconspicuous behaviour and it may be more common than the paucity of records suggest.

Population justification
The population size of this species has not been quantified; it is considered very rare to uncommon throughout its range.

Trend justification
Little is known of the population trends of this scarce species, but slow declines are suspected to be occurring as a result of the human exploitation of giant honey bee colonies, as well as habitat loss and degradation within the range.

This species occurs in rocky gorges and valleys with broadleaved or coniferous forest, usually between 1,450 and 3,500 m. Males defend giant honey bee Apis dorsata nests that are usually attached to vertical cliffs. It may be an obligate brood parasite, although hosts are unknown.

It has been suggested that over-exploitation of bees' nests for honey by human populations in the Himalayas might have a deleterious impact on its populations. Similarly, the loss of floral diversity as a result of agricultural expansion could affect bee populations. Forest loss could also influence this species.

Conservation Actions Underway
No targeted conservation actions are known for this species.

Conservation Actions Proposed

Conduct repeated surveys across the species's range to determine the magnitude of declines and rates of range contraction. Conduct ecological studies to determine precise habitat requirements and breeding biology, as well as tolerance of secondary habitats and response to fragmentation. Campaign for the protection of giant honey bee colonies, as well as flower-rich habitats within the species's range.

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

del Hoyo, J.; Elliott, A.; Sargatal, J. 2002. Handbook of the Birds of the World, vol. 7: Jacamars to Woodpeckers. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.

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., Gilroy, J., Taylor, J.

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

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Indicator xanthonotus. 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 Indicatoridae (Honeyguides)
Species name author Blyth, 1842
Population size Unknown mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 146,000 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species