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Ashy Thrush Zoothera cinerea
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
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The continuing rapid reduction in the area of lowland forest throughout this species's range, coupled with more localised trapping pressure, is thought to be causing a rapid population decline. However, this species is known to be tolerant of secondary habitats, and may be more widespread than is currently thought. It is therefore listed as Vulnerable, pending better information on population size and distribution.

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

18 cm. Small, shy, ground-dwelling thrush. Ashy-grey head and upperparts. Usually shows pale lores and two blackish bars on face, one through eye, one on rear of ear-coverts. Darker grey wings with two prominent white wing-bars. Outer tail feathers tipped white. White underparts with blackish malar, heavy black spotting/streaking on upper breast and large black spots on belly and flanks. White undertail-coverts. Very pale legs. Similar spp. Pechora Pipit Anthus gustavi is smaller and streakier and lacks distinctive ashy upperparts. Voice Typical, melodious thrush-like warbling phrases. Hints Comes onto trails at first light.

Distribution and population
Zoothera cinerea is endemic to the Philippines, where it is known from north and central Luzon and northern Mindoro. It is considered uncommon overall and was found to be scarce in the Sierra Madre mountains during surveys in the early 1990s. A recent review mapped just 25 locations, of which only 15 involved post-1980 records. At Dalton Pass on Luzon, 130 birds were trapped between 1964 and 1970. It is tolerant of secondary habitats, and is known to be secretive and therefore probably under-recorded, so it could prove to be more abundant than previously thought.

Population justification
The population size is preliminarily estimated to fall into the band 10,000-19,999 individuals. This equates to 6,667-13,333 mature individuals, rounded here to 6,000-15,000 mature individuals.

Trend justification
A rapid population decline is suspected to be occurring as a result of continuing habitat clearance throughout the species's range. However, given the species's apparent tolerance of secondary habitats, declines may be less drastic than currently thought.

It inhabits the floor, in particularly open patches of primary, selectively logged and secondary forests, mainly in the lowlands (e.g. 90-360 m on Mindoro). It has been recorded up to 1,100 m in the Sierra Madre mountains on Luzon. The large numbers caught at the Dalton Pass (1,560 m) migration funnel suggest either post-breeding dispersal or regular movement between the Sierra Madre and Cordillera Central, in response to differences in the rainy season.

Deforestation is the chief threat. In 1988, an estimated 24% of Luzon remained forested. Forest cover in the Sierra Madre has declined by c.80% since the 1930s and most remaining areas are under logging concession. Major road building plans pose a further threat. Illegal logging is frequent at Angat Dam and Quezon National Park, two key sites for the species. In 1988, an estimated 8.5% (c.120 km2) of Mindoro remained forested, most at too high an altitude for the species. It may also suffer from hunting with snares in the Sierra Madre and illicit bird-trapping at Dalton Pass may exert a considerable pressure.

Conservation Actions Underway
It occurs in the Northern Sierra Madre Natural Park and nominal protection is afforded by the national park status of Mts Makiling and Quezon. On Mindoro, it is known from San Vicente, which is targeted for reforestation and rattan plantation by concession holders. Funding has been provided for faunal inventories and environmental education initiatives at Puerto Galera.Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct research into its seasonal movements. Propose key sites for designation as formal protected areas (e.g. Angat Watershed on Luzon and Puerto Galera on Mindoro). Extend the Sierra Madre Mountains Natural Park to include Mt Los Dos Cuernos. Introduce measures to restrict bird-trapping at Dalton Pass.

Collar, N. J.; Mallari, N. A. D.; Tabaranza, B. R. J. 1999. Threatened birds of the Philippines: the Haribon Foundation/BirdLife International Red Data Book. Bookmark, Makati City.

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., Derhé, M., Gilroy, J., Khwaja, N.

Allen, D., Heaney, L.

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

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Zoothera cinerea. Downloaded from on 27/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 27/10/2016.

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 - Ashy thrush (Zoothera cinerea) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Vulnerable
Family Turdidae (Thrushes)
Species name author (Bourns & Worcester, 1894)
Population size 6000-15000 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 115,000 km2
Country endemic? Yes
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species