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Omei Shan Liocichla Liocichla omeiensis
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
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This species has a small, declining population and range, which is also severely fragmented as a result of destruction of subtropical forest. 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.

20.5 cm. Grey-and-olive babbler with prominent red wing-patches. Male has extensive orange-red on undertail-coverts and tip of tail which is yellow on females. Mostly grey sides of head. Voice Song is slightly descending, musical, whistled w'yii-i w'yii-u w'yiiwi w'yii-u.

Distribution and population
Liocichla omeiensis is endemic to China, where it is known from mountain ranges in south-central Sichuan, and has more recently been found in extreme north-east Yunnan. It has been found to be locally common at some localities (e.g. Laojunshan and Wawushan) in the Liaoliangshan and Daxiangling ranges. However, the latest research shows that its geographic range is probably declining (Fu Yiqiang in litt. 2012).

Population justification
This species occurs at high densities at some sites (mean 60 individuals/km2 at two localities), but it is 'very local', and the detailed analysis of records in BirdLife International (2001) concludes that 'its total population may be rather small' i.e. 2,500-9,999 individuals. This equates to 1,667-6,666 mature individuals, rounded here to 1,500-7,000 mature individuals.

Trend justification
The population is suspected to be declining at a moderate rate, in line with rates of habitat loss and degradation within the species's range.

It is found in pairs or small groups in the undergrowth of subtropical and temperate montane broadleaved forest and in secondary forest, scrub and bamboo, mainly from 1,400-2,400 m in summer, but generally from 500-1,400 m in winter (Fu Yiqiang in litt. 2012). Its diet includes fruit and invertebrates.

The main threat is the loss and fragmentation of forest within its range, much of which has already been cleared or degraded, through logging and conversion to agriculture. Remaining areas of forest are under some pressure from localised wood cutting and logging, although there has been a recent ban on large scale commercial logging in this part of China, and the species is tolerant of logged forest habitats, surviving in secondary growth and bamboo. Disturbance from people collecting bamboo shoots and other forest products, and from grazing livestock and trapping for export as cage-birds may be minor threats (Jie Wang in litt. 2007).

Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix II. It is a protected species in Sichuan. Since 1999, the export of wild birds from China has been banned, but this legislation may be difficult to enforce. It occurs in or near several protected areas, including the Emei Shan Protected Scenic Site, and Mabian Dafengding, Mamize, Heizhugou and Laojun Shan nature reserves. Emei Shan is a sacred mountain and has therefore only been subject to limited forest clearance. Laojunshan, Mamize and Heizhugou nature reserves have received support to train and equip staff and to encourage alternative livelihoods and sustainable management practices amongst local communities through the Sichuan Forest Biodiversity Project, a collaboration between the Sichuan Forest Department, Chester Zoo and Liverpool John Moores University (S. Dowell in litt. 2007, Jie Wang in litt. 2007). Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct further surveys and ecological studies of this and other threatened species in its habitat, to clarify its population, distribution and habitat requirements, with the aim of producing management recommendations for forests where it occurs. Support recommendations to establish a network of at least four protected areas for the Sichuan Partridge Arborophila rufipectus, including an extension to Mabian Dafengding Nature Reserve, as this will also protect habitat for this species. Support proposals to upgrade Laojunshan and Mamize nature reserves to national status. Jointly manage Mabian Dafengding Nature Reserve with Meigu Dafengding Reserve. Gazette Emei Shan Protected Scenic Site as a nature reserve, control tourism and strengthen research work. List it as a protected species in China.

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

IUCN. 2015. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015-4. Available at: (Accessed: 19 November 2015).

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., Derhé, M., Gilroy, J. & Khwaja, N.

Dowell, S., Wang, J. & Yiqiang, F.

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

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Liocichla omeiensis. Downloaded from on 21/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 21/10/2016.

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 - Emei Shan liocichla (Liocichla omeiensis) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Vulnerable
Family Timaliidae (Babblers and parrotbills)
Species name author Riley, 1926
Population size 1500-7000 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 6,800 km2
Country endemic? Yes
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species