This species has a small, declining, severely fragmented population, primarily as a result of destruction of temperate forest for timber and conversion to cultivation and pasture. It therefore qualifies as Vulnerable.
Sibley, C. G.; Monroe, B. L. 1990. Distribution and taxonomy of birds of the world. Yale University Press, New Haven, USA.
Distribution and populationParadoxornis przewalskii
13-14.5 cm. Distinctive, greyish to olive-brown parrotbill with contrasting pale chestnut throat and upper breast. Dark chestnut forehead, lores and long eyebrow, the latter turning blackish-brown at rear. Voice Flocks call with rather spluttering chrr-rr-rr-rr, interspersed with sharp tsip and tsit-it notes.
is endemic to China
, where it has been recorded from only four localities in the Min Shan mountains in southern Gansu province and adjacent parts of north-central Sichuan province (BirdLife International 2001). In Gansu, it was described as rare in the late 19th century. Prior to 2007, there had been no records since 1988, when up to 15 were seen in Jiuzhaigou National Park, indicating that it may be rather numerous in suitable habitat. In July 2007, the species was again recorded at Tangjiahe Nature Reserve (per
J. Hammar in litt
.2011). In May 2011, five birds, including two pairs, were seen at the same site (J. Hammar in litt
. 2011). The paucity of records suggests that it probably has a localised distribution and a small population, which is likely to be declining given the potential threats to it.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 to be on-going, owing to habitat loss and degradation across the species's range.Ecology
Its ecology is poorly known. Historical records are from sparse larch woods, tussocks on a steep hillside and a bamboo thicket, at c.2,440-3,050 m. Recent records are from dense bamboo undergrowth in mixed coniferous forest and a bamboo thicket at 2,800 m. Five birds observed in May 2011, at Tangjiahe Nature Reserve, were present in a narrow altitudinal band at c.2,700 m, in bamboo just below the treeline (J. Hammar in litt
. 2011). Its diet is mainly insects. Given that it appears to be particularly associated with bamboo, it may be forced to move in response to periodic bamboo flowering and die-off.Threats
The main threat is likely to be the loss and fragmentation of forest. Forest cover has declined rapidly in Sichuan since the late 1960s, as a result of exploitation for timber and clearance for cultivation and pasture. Substantial areas of the temperate zone forests have been lost. It is possible that the periodic flowering and die-off of the bamboo, in combination with the fragmentation of temperate zone forests, may affect its population. 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 only been recorded from one protected area, Jiuzhaigou Nature Reserve. Conservation Actions Proposed
Survey protected areas in or near to its known range. Research its habitat requirements, altitudinal range and population status. Strengthen protection and link, where possible, protected areas where it occurs and where new populations are discovered. 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.
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Paradoxornis przewalskii. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 28/05/2016.
Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 28/05/2016.
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.
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