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Falcated Wren-babbler Ptilocichla falcata
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
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This lowland forest specialist qualifies as Vulnerable because it has a small, fragmented range, and is believed to be declining rapidly as a result of habitat loss.

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. Medium-sized, shy, ground-dwelling babbler. Pale orange-rufous forehead, rufous-chestnut crown and hindneck. Blackish lores and area around eye. Bright rufous-chestnut wings and tail. Elongated feathers of back and rump black with broad white shaft-streaks. White throat with narrow black malar, rest of underparts blackish with prominent white shaft streaks. Dark bill and legs. Voice Loud whistled phrases such as tuu-wee tu-uu regularly repeated, interspersed with quieter warbling phrases. Hints Shy, inhabits damp areas, best located by song.

Distribution and population
Ptilocichla falcata is endemic to Palawan in the Philippines, where it is known from 11 localities spread across the island and was formerly locally common (Collar et al. 1999). There are post-1990 records from five sites, Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park, Iwahig penal colony, the Ilog river, Mt Mantalinghan (in 2005 [R. Hutchinson in litt. 2012]) and Mt Victoria (in 2011 [R. Hutchinson in litt. 2012]). Although this distribution probably reflects observer site-bias, reports indicate that it has become generally rare at these sites. Given that it appears to be reliant upon primary lowland forest, it is likely to have declined substantially. However, undiscovered populations may exist in the largely unsurveyed north of the island.

Population justification
The population size is preliminarily estimated to fall into the band 10,000-19,999 mature individuals. This equates to 15,000-29,999 individuals in total, rounded here to 15,000-30,000 individuals.

Trend justification
Rapid and on-going declines are suspected to be taking place owing to this species's apparent susceptibility to habitat modification, and the high rates of deforestation occurring within its range.

It inhabits the floor and undergrowth of primary lowland forest, particularly near to streams, gullies and ridge-tops. It has been recorded up to 1,350 m on Mt Victoria (R. Hutchinson in litt. 2012). Recent observations suggest that it may be very sensitive to habitat modification, although it reportedly frequents thickets, which is likely to mean dense secondary undergrowth and bamboo forest.

Lowland forest loss, degradation and fragmentation are the major threats. Deforestation in lowland Palawan has been extensive and logging and mining concessions have been granted for almost all remaining forests on the island. Illegal logging is thought to persist in the remaining extensive forest of the south. Forest at Iwahig penal colony, a key site, may be threatened by plans to mine chromite.

Conservation Actions Underway
The whole of Palawan was designated as a Biosphere Reserve in 1990, although the legislation controlling habitat alteration is extremely difficult to enforce effectively. It occurs in one protected area, St Paul's Subterranean River National Park, which may soon be significantly extended to the east, where it is also likely to occur.Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct surveys in remaining lowland forest tracts to establish its true distribution and population status, with a view to proposing further key sites for establishment as protected areas. Assess its ecological requirements, particularly its sensitivity to habitat modification. Support the proposed extension of St Paul's Subterranean River National Park, and afford formal protection to forests at Iwahig.

Collar, N. J.; Mallari, N. A. D.; Tabaranza, B. R. J. 1999. Threatened birds of the Philippines: the Haribon Foundation/BirdLife International Red Data Book. Bookmark, Makati City.

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.

Allen, D., Hutchinson, R.

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

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Ptilocichla falcata. 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 Vulnerable
Family Timaliidae (Babblers and parrotbills)
Species name author Sharpe, 1877
Population size 10000-19999 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 6,000 km2
Country endemic? Yes
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species