email a friend
printable version
Tibetan Bunting Emberiza koslowi
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
Please email us with any relevant information

This poorly known species is thought to have a moderately small population. There are no known threats at present but further research is required to calculate its range size and assess potential threats within it. At present the species is considered Near Threatened as it almost qualifies for listing as threatened under criterion C1+2a(i).

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
Emberiza koslowi is restricted to the eastern part of the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau, in eastern Tibet and southern Qinghai, China, where several large valleys cut into the plateau, including those of the Tongtian river (the upper reaches of the Chang Jiang or Yangtze), the Lancang Jiang (the upper Mekong) and the Nu Jiang (the upper Salween). It is known by just a few scattered records in this inaccessible and poorly known area, but it appears to be genuinely rather scarce and localised.

Population justification
The species is very rare, with a population suspected to number 10,000-19,999 individuals, probably including c.6,000-15,000 mature individuals. The figure requires clarification and may be an overestimate.

Trend justification
The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats.

It inhabits barren areas, juniper and rhododendron scrub on valley slopes above the treeline at c.3,600-4,600 m. It rather unusually builds a domed nest and appears to breed late, with young hatching in mid-July (Thewlis and Martins 2000).

It does not appear to be immediately threatened by habitat loss. However it is absent from seemingly suitable areas of habitat, research is therefore needed to understand factors limiting this species. 

Conservation Actions Underway
None are known. Conservation Actions Proposed
Survey for the species in and around its restricted known range. Research its habitat requirements and assess the potential threats.

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).

Thewlis, R. M.; Martins, R. P. 2000. Observations of the breeding biology and behaviour of Koslov's bunting Emberiza koslowi. Forktail 16: 57-59.

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., Bird, J., Taylor, J. & Ashpole, J

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

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Emberiza koslowi. Downloaded from on 25/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 25/10/2016.

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 - Tibetan bunting (Emberiza koslowi) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Near Threatened
Family Emberizidae (Buntings, American sparrows and allies)
Species name author Bianchi, 1904
Population size 6000-15000 mature individuals
Population trend Stable
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 78,100 km2
Country endemic? Yes
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species