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Grey-hooded Parrotbill Paradoxornis zappeyi
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
Please email us with any relevant information

This species qualifies as Vulnerable because it has a small, severely fragmented population which is declining as a result of forest loss through logging, conversion to agriculture and localised tourist developments.

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

12.5 cm. Small, unmistakeable, warm brown parrotbill with grey hood and neat white eye-ring. Bushy-crested forecrown and whiter throat than head sides. Voice Song a thin, high ss-si-su-si. Call harsh, abrupt scolding trr-ik and trrrh notes.

Distribution and population
Paradoxornis zappeyi is endemic to China, where it is known from the mountains of south-central Sichuan and western Guizhou. It is locally common around the summit of Emei Shan and a flock of 10 was reported from a site in Guizhou. Nine nests and 40 individuals (at least 18 pairs) were recorded in 2003 at Wawushan Natural Reserve, Sichuan (Yingxin et al. 2009). Records indicate that it exists at fairly high densities in suitable habitat, but its localised distribution suggests it could have a small population, which is likely to be declining given the threats present.

Population justification
The population is estimated to number 2,500-9,999 mature individuals based on an assessment of known records, descriptions of abundance and range size. This is consistent with recorded population density estimates for congeners or close relatives with a similar body size, and the fact that only a proportion of the estimated Extent of Occurrence is likely to be occupied. This estimate is equivalent to 3,750-14,999 individuals, rounded here to 3,500-15,000 individuals.

Trend justification
A moderate population decline is suspected, owing to continuing habitat clearance and degradation within the species's range.

It occurs in small flocks in scrub, bamboo and rhododendron in open, temperate zone conifer forest on exposed peaks and ridges near mountain tops, usually between c.2,350-3,450 m, but with one record from c.1,000 m. It may make seasonal altitudinal movements, and movements in response to bamboo die-off. The species nests in bamboo thickets, constructing nests from bamboo leaves, fibrous roots, and moss (Yingxin et al. 2009).

The main threat is likely to be the loss and fragmentation of forest, although it is unclear how extensive habitat loss has been at high altitudes. Forest cover has declined rapidly in Sichuan since the late 1960s, as a result of exploitation for timber and clearance for cultivation and pasture. It is possible that the periodic flowering and die-off of  bamboo, in combination with forest fragmentation, may affect this species. On Emei Shan, suitable habitat was cleared in 1998 for a tourist railway, which may have also lead to disturbance as the number of tourists visiting the summit increased. The promotion of tourism has also resulted in construction of a ski slope at Wawushan, Sichuan with the number of visiting tourists reaching c.300,000/ year (Yingxin et al. 2009). This has led to destruction of suitable habitat and increasing disturbance.

Conservation Actions Underway
A number of protected areas established for the giant panda Ailuropoda melanoleuca contain suitable habitat, but the species's distribution and abundance in these is poorly known. It has been recorded from Emei Shan Protected Scenic Area, Mabian Dafengding Nature Reserve and Meigu Dafengding Nature Reserve (Sichuan), and Caohai (Guizhou). Emei Shan is protected as a sacred mountain. Conservation Actions Proposed
Survey protected areas in or near to its known range. Research its habitat requirements, altitudinal range and population status. Conduct detailed environmental assessments on the impacts of increased development and visitors on the species. Strengthen protection and link, where possible, protected areas where it occurs and where new populations are discovered; in particular gazette as a nature reserve the Emei Shan Protected Scenic Area, link and jointly manage Mabian Dafengding and Meigu Dafengding Nature Reserves and gazette the Washan proposed nature reserve. 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. 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.

Yingxin Jiang; Yue-Hua Sun; Nan Lu; Zhonglin Bi. 2009. Breeding biology of the Grey-hooded Parrotbill (Paradoxornis zappeyi) at Wawushan, Sichuan, China. Wilson Journal of Ornithology 121(4): 800-803.

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.

Hornskov, J.

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

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Paradoxornis zappeyi. 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.

Additional resources for this species

ARKive species - Grey-hooded parrotbill (Paradoxornis zappeyi) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Vulnerable
Family Timaliidae (Babblers and parrotbills)
Species name author (Thayer & Bangs, 1912)
Population size 2500-9999 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 41,100 km2
Country endemic? Yes
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species