This poorly known species qualifies as Vulnerable because it has a small, declining population as a result of forest destruction and possibly dam construction. Should the population be found to be smaller than currently thought, or declining more rapidly, it would warrant uplisting to a higher threat category.
Sibley, C. G.; Monroe, B. L. 1990. Distribution and taxonomy of birds of the world. Yale University Press, New Haven, USA.
Erithacus ruficeps Collar and Andrew (1988), Erithacus ruficeps ruficeps Collar and Andrew (1988)
Distribution and populationLuscinia ruficeps
15 cm. Small robin with orange-rufous head, black face and black-bordered white throat. Grey upperparts, upper breast and flanks, white rest of underparts, blackish tail with rufous fringes and blackish tips to outer feathers. Similar spp. Female Siberian Blue Robin L. cyane has blue on rump to uppertail, lacks warmer brown edges to outer tail feathers, has more buff breast and flanks, and less heavily scaled throat. Voice Song with well-spaced, powerful, rich phrases ti CHO CHUK'UK'UK ti TCH-WR'RR'RR ti CHI-WRU-W'R'R'R'R ti CHR'R'R'R ti CHR'RIU'IU'IU. Call deepish tuc or toc and soft, thin si.
is known to breed at four sites in north-central Sichuan and southern Shaanxi, south-west China
. In Jiuzhaigou National Park, six singing males were heard along 3-4 km of the valley near Nuorilong in 1991, and four singing males and two females were seen along c.400 m of trail in the valley above "Pearl Shoal waterfall" in June 1995. It has been recorded once in winter in peninsular Malaysia
. The paucity of records suggests that it probably has a localised distribution and a small population. Population justification
The population is estimated to number 2,500-9,999 mature individuals, based on an analysis of records in BirdLife International (2001), who noted that it can occur at high densities in suitable habitat, but the paucity of records suggests that it is probably highly localised in distribution and could have a small total population, i.e. fewer than 10,000 individuals. This estimate equates to 3,750-14,999 individuals in total, rounded here to 3,500-15,000 individuals.Trend justification
A moderate and on-going population decline is suspected, owing to habitat loss and degradation within the species's range.Ecology
In its breeding range, it occurs in temperate mixed coniferous and deciduous forest and deciduous scrub, particularly associated with narrow river valleys between 2,400-2,800 m, where it may be specialised to areas of successional scrub in valley bottoms which develop following flash-floods. The single winter record is from ericaceous scrub at 2,030 m. Threats
The main threat is likely to be the loss and fragmentation of forest. Forest cover has declined rapidly in Sichuan since the late 1960s, through timber production and conversion to cultivation and pasture, and it is assumed that substantial areas of temperate forest have been lost. In one of the valleys where it was recently recorded in Jiuzhaigou Nature Reserve, limited cutting and lopping of wood had occurred, and in two valleys flood-control dams have been constructed. Dam construction is likely to be negatively affecting the wintering grounds, as well as habitat used on migration (J. Hornskov in litt.
2012), and possibly successional habitats utilised during the breeding season. If it winters in primary lowland forest in the Sundaic region, it is likely to experience intense pressures from habitat loss. Conservation actions underway
CMS Appendix II. A number of protected areas established for giant panda Ailuropoda melanoleuca
contain suitable habitat, but this species's distribution and abundance in these areas is poorly known. It has been recorded from Jiuzhaigou Nature Reserve and Wanglang Nature Reserve, Sichuan, and Taibai Shan National Nature Reserve in Shaanxi.Conservation actions proposed
Survey protected areas in or near to its known range, and seek to determine its winter range. Research its habitat requirements, altitudinal range and population status and in particular determine its utilisation of successional habitats and modified forest, as well as habitat requirements in wintering grounds. Strengthen protection and link, where possible, protected areas where it occurs and where new populations are discovered. Support recommendations to control logging and fire and restore damaged giant panda habitat where this would benefit this species and other endemic temperate forest bird species. Control tourism in Jiuzhaigou Nature Reserve. List it as a protected species in China.
BirdLife International. 2001. Threatened birds of Asia: the BirdLife International Red Data Book. BirdLife International, Cambridge, U.K.
Further web sources of information
Detailed species accounts from the Threatened birds of Asia: the BirdLife International Red Data Book (BirdLife International 2001).
Hear sounds for this species from xeno-canto, the community database of shared bird sounds from around the world.
View photos and videos, and hear sounds of this species from the Internet Bird Collection
Text account compilers
Benstead, P., Derhé, M., Gilroy, J.
IUCN Red List evaluators
Butchart, S., Symes, A.
BirdLife International (2013) Species factsheet: Luscinia ruficeps. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 24/05/2013.
Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2013) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 24/05/2013.
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.