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Rufous-rumped Grassbird Graminicola bengalensis
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
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This species is classified as Near Threatened because, although it is known to be declining moderately rapidly owing to degradation of its tall grass wetland habitat, it is notoriously difficult to detect and significant populations have been found in areas where there were formerly few records, indicating that it is much overlooked and it probably more abundant than records suggest.

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

Distribution and population
Graminicola bengalensis is known from the terai of northern India (highly localised but common at a few sites from Uttar Pradesh eastwards to the Brahmaputra lowlands), southern Nepal (c.2,000 pairs), Bangladesh (rare and highly local in the north), mainland China (rare resident in Guangxi, north Guangdong and Hainan), Hong Kong (China), Myanmar (formerly resident in Tenasserim, current status unknown), Thailand (former resident in the central region, last record in 1923, probably extinct) and Vietnam, where it was a former resident in east Tonkin (P. Leader in litt. 2007). Although still common at a few sites, including Chitwan National Park, Nepal, it has apparently disappeared from many previous localities although it is easily overlooked when not singing and maybe under-recorded in much of its range (Sagar Baral et al. 2006).

Population justification
M. J. Crosby (in litt. undated) estimated that, although known populations total just a few thousand birds, the global population probably exceeds 10,000 individuals, given the limited survey effort in northern India, Myanmar and south-east China. It is placed in the band 10,000-19,999 individuals here, equating to 6,667-13,333 mature individuals, rounded here to 6,000-15,000 mature individuals.

Trend justification
The species is suspected to be in moderately rapid decline, owing to drainage, burning and degradation by cattle and people of its tall grass wetland habitat.

It occurs in tall (taller than 1 m) lowland wet grassland, reed-swamp and other emergent vegetation in or bordering freshwater swamps or along banks of rivers in lowlands (Sagar Baral et al. 2006). In China it also occurs in areas dominated by dwarf bamboo (P. Leader in litt. 2007).

It is restricted to undisturbed grassland and is therefore susceptible to modification of grassland and wetland habitat. Drainage, burning, over-grazing and conversion to agriculture are the most pertinent threats.

Conservation Actions Underway
It occurs in a number of protected areas, including Kaziranga, Chitwan, Sukila Phanta, Tappu and Bardia national parks. Conservation Actions Proposed
Survey extensively in its former range, particularly in south-east China, to determine current status. Research the effects of different threatening processes and grassland management regimes. Increase the effectiveness of protected areas where it is known to occur. Protect additional areas of suitable habitat at key sites, in both strictly protected areas and community-led multiple use areas. Clarify the taxonomic status of the species in light of a suggested recent split between the Chinese and Indian population (Leader et al. 2010).

Baral, H. S.; Wattel, J.; Ormerod, S. J. 2006. Status, distribution, ecology and behaviour of Rufous-rumped Grass-warbler Graminicola bengalensis Jerdon with reference to Nepal. Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 103(1): 44-48.

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

Leader, P. J.; Carey, G. J.; Olsson, U.; Baral, H. S.; Alström, P. 2010. The taxonomic status of Rufous-rumped Grassbird Graminicola bengalensis, with comments on its distribution and status. Forktail: 121-126.

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

View photos and videos and hear sounds of this species from the Internet Bird Collection

Text account compilers
Benstead, P., Khwaja, N., Mahood, S.

Crosby, M., Kilburn, M., Leader, P., Thompson, P.

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

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Graminicola bengalensis. Downloaded from on 26/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 26/10/2016.

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 Sylviidae (Old World warblers)
Species name author Jerdon, 1863
Population size 6000-15000 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 755,000 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species