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Bristled Grassbird Chaetornis striata
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
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This grassland specialist has a small, rapidly declining population owing to the loss and degradation of its grassland habitat, primarily through drainage and conversion to agriculture. It therefore qualifies as Vulnerable.

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
Gender agreement of species name follows David and Gosselin (2002b).

Chaetornis striatus Sibley and Monroe (1990, 1993), Chaetornis striatus Collar and Andrew (1988), Chaetornis striatus Collar et al. (1994), Chaetornis striatus BirdLife International (2004), Chaetornis striatus BirdLife International (2000)

20 cm. Large, dark-streaked, buffy-brown warbler with relatively short, thick bill. Similar spp. Striated Grassbird M. palustris has longer, narrow bill, more pronounced supercilium and somewhat longer, narrower tail. Voice Song is monotonously repeated trew-treuw usually given in circling display above territory. Hints Look for males song-flighting in breeding season.

Distribution and population
Chaetornis striata is endemic to the Indian Subcontinent, where it is patchily and locally distributed in India, Nepal, and Pakistan (BirdLife International 2001). Formerly described as common in at least Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal (India), and parts of Bangladesh, it has evidently declined. Recent records come from Pakistan, the terai of Nepal, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Gujarat and Assam, as well as Delhi, Punjab, Maharashtra and Kerala, India. The species was recorded in Gujarat in August 2010, apparently for the first time since 1876 ( Recent photographs from Katampally and Kole Wetlands in February-March indicate that the species winters as far south as Kerala, and has evaded detection owing to its secretive behaviour (per Praveen J. in litt. 2012). It is now usually found in small numbers.

Population justification
The population size of this species is difficult to estimate because it is easily overlooked outside of the breeding season. An analysis of detailed accounts in BirdLife International (2001) tentatively suggests that total population may number fewer than 10,000 individuals, and so it is placed in the band 2,500-9,999 mature individuals. This equates to 3,750-14,999 individuals, rounded here to 3,500-15,000 individuals.

Trend justification
A rapid and on-going decline is suspected, owing to the many active and continuing threats impacting the population.

It inhabits tall grassland (often dominated by Imperata and Saccharum species) and reed Phragmites, particularly in riverine and swampy areas, and intermixed with low thorny scrub or standing crops of rice. In Nepal, it occurs in relatively open, short grasslands, mostly on dry soils, but also in moist areas with tall reeds and scattered bushes. It is generally encountered singly or in pairs and is difficult to observe, except when song-flighting or breeding in May-September. In Corbett National Park, Uttarakhand, pairs have been observed in courtship in May, with the presence of juvenile birds recorded in July (M. Sharma in litt. 2012). The species has been recorded breeding in Uttar Pradesh during August-October, and observations suggest that some males may be polygamous (Arya 2010). It nests on the ground in dense vegetation (Arya 2010). It makes some nomadic local movements in response to rainfall patterns, often appearing at sites for only a few months then disappearing again.

Large tracts of natural swamp and wet grassland have been destroyed or degraded across its range, as a result of drainage and conversion for agriculture, and most remaining habitat is subject to intense pressure from human encroachment, fire, grass harvesting, grazing by domestic livestock, commercial forestry plantations, dam projects and irrigation schemes.

Conservation Actions Underway
There are recent records from several protected areas, including Sultanpur National Park, Haryana, Manas, Rajiv Gandhi Orang and Kaziranga National Parks, Assam, Okhla Bird Sanctuary, Uttar Pradesh, Corbett National Park, Uttarakhand, and Chitwan National Park, Sukla Phanta and Kosi Tappu Wildlife Reserves, Nepal. Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct further surveys to establish its current distribution and population status relative to its historical range. Investigate its ecology and seasonal movements, both inside and outside protected areas, to clarify how changes in land-use patterns may affect survival. Identify the most important sites for the species and make management recommendations for these localities and, where appropriate, campaign for their gazetting as protected areas. Regulate harvesting of grass, overgrazing and encroachment at key sites.

Related state of the world's birds case studies

Arya, A. 2010. Bristled Grassbird Chaetornis striatus - a breeding record in Uttar Pradesh. BirdingASIA 14: 95-98.

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

Search for photos and videos, and hear sounds of this species from the Internet Bird Collection

Text account compilers
Benstead, P., Gilroy, J., Taylor, J.

Choudhury, A., Jayadevan, P., Sharma, M.

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

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Chaetornis striata. 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.

Additional resources for this species

ARKive species - Bristled grassbird (Chaetornis striata) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Vulnerable
Family Sylviidae (Old World warblers)
Species name author (Jerdon, 1841)
Population size 2500-9999 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 593,000 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species