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Japanese Paradise-flycatcher Terpsiphone atrocaudata
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
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This migratory species is suspected to be in moderately rapid decline as a result of habitat degradation and loss on its wintering grounds. It is therefore listed as Near Threatened as it almost qualifies for listing as threatened under criteria A2c+3c+4c, and should be carefully monitored.

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

Distribution and population
Terpsiphone atrocaudata breeds in the humid forests of southern Honshu, Shikoku, Kyushu and the Nansei Shoto islands in Japan, South Korea, North Korea, Taiwan (China) (including Lanyu Island) and the extreme northern Philippines. The population on Taiwan is largely resident, but all others are fully migratory. Migration route covers parts of mainland China, Hong Kong (China), northern Thailand, central and eastern Laos, Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia and Singapore. Main wintering areas are in Peninsular Malaysia, northern and western Philippines, and on Sumatra, Indonesia. A recent survey detected a steep decline in part of the Japanese breeding population, although it is still apparently a common breeder on Ryukyu and Batan islands.

Population justification
The global population size has not been quantified, but the species race illex is described as a common breeder on Ryuku island and race periophthalmica is described as common on Batan island (del Hoyo et al. 2006). National population estimates include: <1,000 individuals on migration in China; c.50-1,000 individuals on migration and <100 breeding pairs in Taiwan; c.100-10,000 breeding pairs and c.50-1,000 individuals on migration in Korea and c.100-10,000 breeding pairs and c.50-1,000 individuals on migration in Japan (Brazil 2009).

Trend justification
Declines have been noted in parts of the breeding range in Japan, which are presumed to be caused largely by habitat loss and degradation within the wintering grounds. Overall, a moderately rapid decline is suspected.

This species breeds in mature deciduous or mixed forest and plantations on low hills and mountains, up to 100 m. In central Japan, wooded valleys at lower elevations are preferred. On the wintering grounds, records are from various forest habitats up to 700 m, including mangroves. On migration, it is also recorded from open woodland, suburban parks and gardens in lowlands.

Declines have presumably occurred because of forest loss and degradation in its wintering range.

Conservation Actions Underway
CMS Appendix II. Breeding population is present in Kirishima-Yaku National Park (Japan). Forests for the Japanese Flycatcher initiative set up, involving conservation of a key breeding site in Japan, a passage site in Taiwan and a wintering site in Sumatra. So far results have been positive (Anon. 2008, Yu 2008).
Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct repeated surveys within both the breeding and wintering range to determine current distribution and abundance, as well as assess population trends and rates of habitat loss. Conduct ecological studies to improve understanding of its precise habitat requirements, tolerance of secondary habitats and response to fragmentation. Effectively protect significant areas of suitable wintering habitat.

Anon. 2008. Conservation of the Japanese Paradise Flycatcher - part 2. BirdLife International Asia 7(3): 6-7.

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

Brazil, M. 2009. Birds of East Asia: eastern China, Taiwan, Korea, Japan, eastern Russia. Christopher Helm, London.

del Hoyo, J.; Elliott, A.; Christie, D. 2006. Handbook of the Birds of the World, vol. 11: Old World Flycatchers to Old World Warblers. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.

IUCN. 2015. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015-4. Available at: (Accessed: 19 November 2015).

Yu, V. 2008. Japanese Flycatcher in Taiwan. BirdLife International Asia 7(2): 6-7.

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., Khwaja, N., Taylor, J. & Ashpole, J

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

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Terpsiphone atrocaudata. Downloaded from on 25/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 25/10/2016.

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 Monarchidae (Monarchs)
Species name author (Eyton, 1839)
Population size U mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 390,000 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species