Archived 2011-2012 topics: White-necklaced Partridge (Arborophila gingica): downlist to Near Threatened?

Initial deadline for comments: 31 January 2012.

BirdLife species factsheet for White-necklaced Partridge

White-necklaced Partridge Arborophila gingica is endemic to the mountains of south-eastern China, where it inhabits broadleaved, mixed broadleaved and coniferous forests, bamboo and scrub at elevations between 500 and 1,700 m. It is currently listed as Vulnerable under criterion C2a(i), on the basis that its population is thought to include fewer than 10,000 mature individuals, with no single subpopulation numbering more than 1,000 individuals, and is inferred to be in continuing decline owing to habitat loss and fragmentation through conversion to agriculture and logging for timber, coupled with hunting for food and trade.

The estimate of this species’s population size has been precautionarily maintained at below 10,000 mature individuals, owing in part to the severe fragmentation of its habitats. However, a recent study (He et al. 2007) suggests that this might be an underestimate. Densities of up to 8-10 birds/km2 were recorded in some areas and the study suggests that the species may be distributed throughout Fujian province, having been recorded along the coast from Fuding and Ningde, the very north-east at Fuzhow and Fuqing, Putian in the central eastern part of the province, Xiamen and Zhao’an in the south, along the whole of the Wuyishan range in the north and the north-west of the province at Tai’ning, Ninghua in the west and Yongding in the very south (He et al. 2007). The species may also be regular in foothill forest at elevations below 150 m in coastal areas, and range up to 1,900 m in Wuyishan (He et al. 2007).

Apparently there has been no over-arching study of population densities and total population size for this species, thus further information is required to help assess whether the species actually numbers more than 10,000 mature individuals and therefore approaches the thresholds for Vulnerable under criterion C2a(i) and should be downlisted to Near Threatened. Further information is also requested on the severity of threats and likely subpopulation structure (i.e., the number of subpopulations and maximum number of individuals in one subpopulation).

Reference:

He Fen-qi, Jiang Hang-dong and Lin Jian-sheng (2007) The occurrence of the White-necklaced Partridge in Fujian of SE China. Chin. J. Zool. 42: 147-148.

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2 Responses to Archived 2011-2012 topics: White-necklaced Partridge (Arborophila gingica): downlist to Near Threatened?

  1. Joe Taylor says:

    The following comments were sent by He Fen-qi on 24 November 2011:

    Regarding to the current status of the White-necklaced Partridge, as you have mentioned on the [forum topic] you drafted, the bird is occurring in almost every county in Fujian of SE China, and, I had discussed the issue with Dr. Jiang Ai-wu, who, with his tutor Prof. Zhou Fang, described a nova subspecies of the bird in 2008, and Jiang told me that the partridge is widely spread in Guangxi, too.

    So, to me, no matter if there had been any studies revealing the population of the bird or not, just think about for such a small-sized gamebird but so commonly occurring in a remarkably large range in southern China, is it possible for the bird to maintain its mate system if its population size is less than 5,000 breeding pairs?!

    And, the very north locality of the partridge is Lushan (Mt. Lu) in the very north Jiangxi just on the south bank of Yangtzi River, as we had revealed in our paper in 2007 . . . I think the partridge might be properly considered as Near Threatened, accordingly.

  2. Joe Taylor says:

    The following comments were sent by Zhou Fang (Guangxi University, China) on 28 January 2012:

    In 2008, Zhou Fang et.al have reported a new subspecies of White-necklaced Partridge in Guangxi, therefore, there are two subspecies of White-necklaced Partridge, Arborophila gingica gingica and Arborophila gingica guangxiensis.

    From the historical records, the nominative subspecies A. g. gingica have distributed widely in China, involves six provinces (Southern Zhejiang, Western Fujian, the most south of Jiangxi and Hunan, North Guangdong and Eastern Guangxi), but now, the Partridge in many places which mentioned above have been extinguished or almost extinguished, especially in the China’s coastal areas.

    The guangxi subspecies A. g. guangxiensis only distributed in three isolated small areas of central Guangxi ( Daminshan Mountain, Sijianshan Mountain and Jiuwanshan Mountain). The total areas of those spots are about 600 km2, and the estimated population is about 600 to 1000. Because of this bird mainly actives in the ground and its diffusion ability is not strong, so, in fact they have been isolated in several small populations. Undoubtedly the A. g. guangxiensis suffer more threats than the A. g. gingica, the former is surely in the status of Endangered (EN).

    The threats to White-necklaced Partridge

    Through our observation and study in many distribution areas of White-necklaced Partridge in China , we found that the main threats to the Partridge are as follows:
    (1) Fragmentation of habitat
    In the all distribution areas of White-necklaced Partridge in China, as more and more human activities such as building roads, mining, land development and farm in the deforest land, the habitat of White-necklaced Partridge is smaller and smaller, and more fragmented, this trend is still continues.
    (2) Local people’s disturbance
    In those distribution areas, the local people often gather fungi, bamboo shoot, seeds of trees and medicine materials in the mountain district, which will interfere with the normal foraging of the White-necklaced Partridge, even disturb to the hatching and brooding of the Partridge in the breeding season.
    (3) Tourism
    It is should be highlight the interference caused by the tourism activities enough. For example, in Damingshan Reserve of Guangxi and Wuyanling Reserve of Zhejiang, with the development of tourism, more and more tourist facilities have been constructed, and taken up the large area of the original habitat of White-brown Hill Partridge. The disturbance of visitors activities is increasing, thus, the Partridge have to avoid human interference to the others regions.
    (4) Poaching
    Another major threats to this species is poaching. The phenomenon of illegal hunting is serious, especially in the breeding season, some local people placed poaching tools such as iron clamp, trap in the water point and play back its calls to trap it.

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