email a friend
printable version
Rufous-throated Wren-babbler Spelaeornis caudatus
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
Please email us with any relevant information

This species has a restricted global range and may have a moderately small population, which is likely to be declining as a result of habitat loss. However, it is a highly unobtrusive species, and future surveys may reveal that it is more common and widespread than previous records suggest. Based on current evidence, it is considered Near Threatened.

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
Spelaeornis caudatus occurs in Nepal (very rare in the east), Bhutan (uncommon) and India (where it is locally common in Sikkim, northern West Bengal and Arunachal Pradesh). As it is a highly skulking species and easily overlooked, further research may reveal it to be more widespread and abundant than current records imply.

Population justification
The global population size has not been quantified, but the species is described as very rare in Nepal, frequently recorded in Bhutan, and locally common in India (del Hoyo et al. 2007).

Trend justification
This species is suspected to be declining slowly, as a result of habitat loss within parts of its range, although precise data on trends are lacking.

This species inhabits dense undergrowth of moist evergreen forest, often in steep gullies, especially where ferns, mossy rocks and fallen trees abound, from 1,500 m to 2,500 m, perhaps occasionally to 3,100 m.

Within its limited range, this species is threatened by the destruction and fragmentation of forest, chiefly through logging and shifting cultivation.

Conservation Actions Underway
No targeted conservation actions are known for this species.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct repeated surveys within the range to determine current distribution and abundance, as well as assess population trends and rates of habitat loss. Conduct ecological studies to improve understanding of its precise habitat requirements, tolerance of secondary habitats and response to fragmentation. Effectively protect significant areas of suitable forest at key sites, in both strictly protected areas and community-led multiple use areas.

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

del Hoyo, J.; Elliott, A.; Christie, D. 2007. Handbook of the Birds of the World, vol. 12: Picathartes to Tits and Chickadees. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.

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: Spelaeornis caudatus. 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 - Rufous-throated wren-babbler (Spelaeornis caudatus) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Near Threatened
Family Timaliidae (Babblers and parrotbills)
Species name author (Blyth, 1845)
Population size Unknown mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 56,800 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species