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Nicobar Bulbul Hypsipetes nicobariensis
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
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This species has a small population which is suspected to be declining as a result of clearance and degradation of forests for plantation agriculture and infrastructure projects. More rigorous application of the critieria means this species has been downlisted to Near Threatened as the population declines are suspected based on habitat loss and degradation, and are not currently supported by quantitative data.

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

20 cm. Non-descript bulbul. Sooty-brown crown and whitish to pale yellow underparts. Similar spp. Juvenile Red-whiskered Bulbul Pycnonotus jocosus has short crest, white ear-coverts and underparts, blackish moustachial line and lateral breast-bar, dull reddish undertail-coverts and white-tipped outer tail feathers. Voice Chattering notes, recalling Black Bulbul H. leucocephalus.

Distribution and population
Hypsipetes nicobariensis is endemic to the Nancowry island group, part of the Nicobar Islands in the Bay of Bengal, India. It occurs on Camorta, Trinkat, Nancowry, Katchall, Teressa, Bompoka and Tillanchong. It is declining locally, although it remains common in some areas of Katchall.

Population justification
The population is estimated to number 2,500-9,999 individuals based on an assessment of known records, descriptions of abundance and range size. This is consistent with recorded population density estimates for congeners or close relatives with a similar body size, and the fact that only a proportion of the estimated Extent of Occurrence is likely to be occupied. This estimate is equivalent to 1,667-6,666 mature individuals, rounded here to 1,500-7,000 mature individuals.

Trend justification
Habitat change continues within the range, and although the impact on populations is unclear, it is suspected that declines are likely to be occurring.

It is a sedentary resident, inhabiting primary and secondary forests and forest edge. It also occurs in gardens, coconut and rubber plantations, around human habitation and occasionally grasslands, suggesting it is tolerant of some habitat degradation. It is usually found singly or in pairs, but one recent observation concerned a loose flock of over 100 individuals.

Clearance and conversion of forests for plantation agriculture (particularly rubber, coconut and cashew cultivation) and infrastructure development (including roads, human settlements and defence establishments) are the most serious long-term threats. Over 6 km2 of forest have been lost on Katchall to rubber plantations. Competition with the introduced Red-whiskered Bulbul Pycnonotus jocosus may have contributed to its decline, but as yet there is no evidence to confirm this. There is no evidence that it was significantly affected by the 2004 tsunami (R. Sankaran in litt. 2008).

Conservation Actions Underway
The whole of Tillanchong island is uninhabited and protected as a wildlife sanctuary. All the islands in the Nancowry group are designated tribal reserves, which legally prohibits commercial exploitation of natural resources, along with settlement or ownership of land by non-tribal people. Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct regular surveys to monitor population size and trends on each island of occurrence. Conduct research into its ecological requirements, and its interactions with Red-whiskered Bulbul. Support proposals to designate the entire Nancowry island group a Biosphere Reserve and establish strict protected areas on the islands of Camorta and Katchall. Control the population of Red-whiskered Bulbul if competition with that species is proven to constitute a threat.

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).

Explore HBW Alive for further information on this species

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Text account compilers
Benstead, P., Davidson, P., Gilroy, J., Khwaja, N., Mahood, S., Peet, N., Symes, A., Tobias, J.

Davidar, P., Sankaran, R., Sivakumar, K.

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

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Hypsipetes nicobariensis. Downloaded from on 23/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 23/10/2016.

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 Pycnonotidae (Bulbuls)
Species name author Moore, 1854
Population size 1500-7000 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 465 km2
Country endemic? Yes
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species