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Snowy-cheeked Laughingthrush Garrulax sukatschewi
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
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This poorly known laughingthrush has a small and severely fragmented population which is declining through the destruction and conversion of its temperate forest habitat. It is therefore listed 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.

27-31 cm. Relatively plain laughingthrush with snowy-white cheeks and ear-coverts. Large white markings on tertial tips and outer tail feathers, grey fringing on remiges and rectrices and rich buff uppertail-coverts and vent. Similar spp. Plain Laughingthrush G. davidi mainly ashy-grey and lacks white cheeks and ear-coverts. Voice Song is repeated, shrill hwii-u hwii-u or h'wi-i h'wi-i etc. Also utters grating, scratchy, shrike-like chattering.

Distribution and population
Garrulax sukatschewi occupies a restricted range in the Min Shan mountains in southern Gansu province and adjacent parts of north-central Sichuan province, south-west China (BirdLife International 2001). Records indicate that it may occur at moderate densities in suitable habitat, but its localised distribution and the small number of localities from which it is known suggest that it could have a small population, which is likely to be declining given the threats to its habitat.

Population justification
The population is estimated to number 2,500-9,999 mature individuals, based on a detailed analysis in BirdLife International (2001) who concluded that this species may have a small total population, i.e. fewer than 10,000 individuals. This estimate equates to 3,750-14,999 individuals, rounded here to 3,500-15,000 individuals.

Trend justification
Despite a lack of recent data on the status of the population, moderate and on-going declines are suspected, owing to the rate of degradation of habitats across the species's range.

Its habitats and altitudinal range are poorly known. It has been recorded from a variety of temperate zone forest-types, including mixed, evergreen and broadleaved, usually where there is undergrowth of bamboo and scrub. Most records are from c.2,000-3,500 m. It feeds on the ground where it forages amongst moss and leaf-litter for invertebrates, seeds and berries.

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 exploitation for timber and clearance for cultivation and pasture, and it is assumed that substantial areas of temperate forest have been lost.

Conservation Actions Underway
A number of protected areas established for giant panda Ailuropoda melanoleuca contain suitable habitat, but the species's distribution and abundance in these is poorly known. It has been recorded from Jiuzhaigou, Wanglang and Baihe Nature Reserves (Sichuan). Conservation Actions Proposed
Survey protected areas in or near to its known range. Research its habitat requirements, altitudinal range and population status. Ensure protection of occupied areas and link these, where possible, to any newly discovered populations. 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 nationally 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).

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.

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

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Garrulax sukatschewi. 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.

Additional resources for this species

ARKive species - Snowy-cheeked laughingthrush (Garrulax sukatschewi) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Vulnerable
Family Timaliidae (Babblers and parrotbills)
Species name author (Berezowski & Bianchi, 1891)
Population size 2500-9999 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 28,500 km2
Country endemic? Yes
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species