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White-eyed River-martin Eurochelidon sirintarae
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This species has not been recorded with certainty since 1978, despite some recent surveys. It is likely to have declined as a result of habitat degradation and destruction at the (unknown) breeding areas and on wintering grounds, exacerbated by hunting and trapping at roost-sites. However, it may well remain extant, and surveys are required in putative breeding areas, particularly in Myanmar. Any remaining population is likely to be tiny, and for these reasons it is treated as Critically Endangered.

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

Taxonomic note
Use of the genus Eurochelidon follows BirdLife International (2001).

Pseudochelidon sirintarae Sibley and Monroe (1990, 1993), Pseudochelidon sirintarae Collar et al. (1994), Pseudochelidon sirintarae Collar and Andrew (1988)

15 cm. Large-headed martin. Stout yellow bill and white eye and eye-ring. Distinctive white rump-band, all-dark underparts and long, narrow streamers extending from central tail feathers. Juvenile has browner head and underparts, paler throat and no tail-streamers. Hints At dawn and dusk, check reedbeds, rivers and perhaps cave systems.

Distribution and population
Eurochelidon sirintarae is only known as a probable non-breeding visitor to one area of central Thailand (BirdLife International 2001). It was discovered in 1968, at or near Beung Boraphet lake, near the town of Nakhon Sawan. It is known from 12 specimens collected amongst roosts of wintering hirundines, with rumours of many more sold in local markets, one field observation at Beung Boraphet in 1978, and two unconfirmed reports, the last of which was in 1986. Its population must be tiny and the lack of reliable records for over 20 years strongly suggests that it has undergone a decline. The species may be extant within South-East Asia, where survey effort has increased in recent years. There have been unconfirmed reports from Cambodia recently where potentially suitable habitat remains (Anon 2006), but searches in the Sre Ambel area in March-April 2008 failed to find the species, and the habitat was degraded and apparently unsuitable (Seng Kim Hout 2008). Myanmar may be a more likely refuge of any remaining population.

Population justification
Any remaining population is assumed to be tiny (numbering fewer than 50 individuals and mature individuals), based on the lack of confirmed records at the only known site since 1978.

Trend justification
The species declined at the type locality following its discovery, probably owing to extensive trapping of hirundines and habitat conversion. It is suspected to have continued to decline following the last confirmed report in 1978.

Its ecology is almost totally unknown. It has only been recorded between December and February roosting in reedbeds. By inference from behaviour of the related African River-martin Pseudochelidon eurystomina, it may breed on sand-bars of large rivers and feed over forested country. It has been speculated that, if it nests in Thailand, it would do so from February-April, after which monsoon rains raise water-levels above its postulated nesting habitat. However, there is some evidence that it might breed earlier than this, be partially nocturnal and perhaps not be associated with rivers.

There has been a massive decline in the number of swallows roosting at Beung Boraphet as a result of intensive trapping for food and roost habitat destruction, primarily through burning of reeds for conversion to lotus cultivation. A number of threats could have contributed to its overall decline, including disturbance of riverine sand-bars, flooding upstream and the alteration of downstream hydrology caused by dams, extensive deforestation, and agricultural intensification. Following its discovery, its decline may have been exacerbated by demand for birds as zoo exhibits or for private collections.

Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix I. Beung Boraphet has been declared as a Non-Hunting Area. Several unsuccessful searches have been made for it at this site since its discovery. In 1969, a survey, based on village interviews, of the Nan Yom and Wang rivers in northern Thailand did not reveal any further information. Similarly, a brief survey in 1996 of rivers in northern Laos was unsuccessful, and in 2008 a BirdLife/RSPB funded project consisting of speedboat surveys and village interviews at the site of the 2004 claim in Cambodia also proved fruitless (Seng Kim Hout 2008). Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct a poster campaign to trace potential sightings by local people to focus survey efforts. Conduct surveys for the species along all major rivers within its putative range (particularly northern Thailand and Myanmar, but also potentially southern China, Laos, and Cambodia) and search alternative habitats such as forests and limestone cave systems. If a population is rediscovered, immediately implement appropriate conservation measures.

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

Seng Kim Hout. 2008. Searching for the critically endangered White-eyed River-martin in Cambodia. The Babbler: BirdLife in Indochina: 41-42.

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., Bird, J., Butchart, S., Davidson, P., Mahood, S., Peet, N., Symes, A., Taylor, J., Tobias, J.

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

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Eurochelidon sirintarae. Downloaded from on 22/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 22/10/2016.

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 Critically Endangered
Family Hirundinidae (Swallows and martins)
Species name author Kitti, 1968
Population size 1-49 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 1 km2
Country endemic? Yes
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species