Archived 2014 discussion: Bugun Liocichla (Liocichla bugunorum): is it eligible for a higher threat category?

This discussion was first published as part of the 2012 Red List update, but remains open for comment to enable reassessment in 2014.

BirdLife species factsheet for Bugun Liocichla

Bugun Liocichla Liocichla bugunorum was described in 2006 (Athreya 2006) and recognised by BirdLife in the 2007 Red List update, in which it was, and remains, listed as Vulnerable under criterion D2, on the basis that it its known range is very small, having been previously known from only two locations, and there are plausible threats that could drive the species to qualify for Critically Endangered or even Extinct in a short time period. It was previously known only from Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary, Arunachal Pradesh, India, and has been observed in heavily disturbed hillsides with dense shrubbery and small to medium-sized trees, but also on the edge of primary forest (Athreya 2006).

The likely range of this species has been recently remapped with reference to a recently reported sighting near Bomdila (C. Bonpo in litt. 2011), resulting in an estimated Extent of Occurrence (EOO) of c.140 km2. The species is now known from up to three locations.

Updated BirdLife range map for Bugun Liocichla (click on map to see larger version)

Although it has been observed in logged forest, this may be a sub-optimal habitat, as it appears to be absent from other areas of logged forest near known localities (Anon. 2006). Thus the species is precautionarily suspected to be in slow decline owing to continued logging for fuel wood at one of the known localities. It appears, therefore, that there are on-going declines in the species’s Area of Occupancy (AOO) and area, extent and/or quality of habitat. Proposals for the construction of a road through its range seem to have stalled, although improvements to the existing track are still planned (R. Athreya in litt. 2007). Unregulated tourism could pose a longer-term threat.

With this information in mind, the species may qualify as Endangered under criterion B1a+b(ii,iii) on the basis that it has an EOO estimated at less than 5,000 km2, in which it is known from fewer than six locations, and there are continuing declines in its AOO and area, extent and/or quality of habitat.

The species’s population is currently suspected to number 50-249 mature individuals, based on a known population of c.14 individuals. If this figure were regarded as ‘estimated’, i.e. treated with greater certainty, the species would automatically qualify as Endangered under criterion D1 on the basis that it has a population of fewer than 250 mature individuals. If this were the case, any evidence confirming the suspicion of an on-going population decline would have further implications for the species’s Red List status.

Comments are invited on this species’s threat status and further information would be welcomed, particularly on the likely population size and trend.

References:

Anon. (2006) Stunning new babbler from Arunachal Pradesh. World Birdwatch 28: 2.

Athreya, R. (2006) A new species of Liocichla (Aves: Timaliidae) from Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary, Arunachal Pradesh, India. Indian Birds 2: 82-94.

Related posts:

  1. Archived 2014 discussion: Lammergeier / Bearded Vulture* (Gypaetus barbatus): is it eligible for a higher threat category?
  2. Archived 2010-2011 topics: Derbyan Parakeet (Psittacula derbiana): information on the threat from trade and resulting population trends requested.
  3. Archived 2011-2012 topics: Philippine Fairy-bluebird (Irena cyanogastra): eligible for uplisting?
  4. Archived 2012-2013 topics: Cheer Pheasant (Catreus wallichi): uplist to Endangered?
  5. Archived 2011-2012 topics: Swinhoe’s Storm-petrel (Oceanodroma monorhis): eligible for uplisting?
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11 Responses to Archived 2014 discussion: Bugun Liocichla (Liocichla bugunorum): is it eligible for a higher threat category?

  1. Joe Taylor says:

    The following comments were sent by Shashank Dalvi on 24 January 2012:

    During the field work [in May 2007] I could find very few areas in west Kameng district suitable for the species. However during the survey I felt only couple of locations (especially Shergaon Road 2070-2200 meters and Bomdila 2400-2560 meters, However I could be wrong and hopefully there are more such locations) were ideal for this species. During May-June 2009 Dr. Per Alstrom and myself recorded at least 6 different breeding territories in small area of Lama Camp (already known for species).
    Interestingly according to mail subjected as [OB] Sighting of Bugun Liocichla, Liocichla bugunorum in new place on orientalbirding@yahoogroups.com confirmed the sighting of this species from Bomdila. . . I am quite sure this species might be surviving in small pockets in western Arunachal Pradesh. However I would advice the genetic studies on this species should be encouraged to find out existing or historical population size of this species. However according to me all in all the status of this species should get updated unless someone finds this species in good numbers elsewhere.

  2. Joe Taylor says:

    The following comments were sent by Praveen J on 25 January 2012 in response to comments by Shashank Dalvi:

    Q. Is there a continuing decline in their numbers in last 2 years and any inferred extreme fluctuations in this population trend ?
    If yes, then this would qualify as “Critically Endangered” under C2b.

    I am aware of “comments” from several people (mainly visitors) that the birds are no longer recorded from Lama camp for last 2 years.
    i. How do you rate this comment?
    ii. Has people who have good knowledge about the species searched for the same & failed to locate them?
    iii. Could this be termed/qualified as a “decline” or “fluctuations” in its population ?

  3. Joe Taylor says:

    The following comments were sent by Shashank Dalvi on 25 January 2012 in response to the previous comments by Praveen J:

    I disagree with this comment… I took a causal walk for 2 hours (only 1 morning) during 1st week of June 2011 and found at least 3 territorial pairs. The reason why birder (visitors) failed to locate the birds could be overuse of playback. I guess most of the birds ignore the tapes now a days unless there is (sufficient) gap between the tapes.

  4. Rishad Naoroji says:

    Because of the restricted distribution of the species, it should be on the threatened list until it is located from other areas.

  5. Arun P.Singh says:

    ‘Forest fire’ is also one of the more important factors in the Eaglenest WLS, as witnessed last winter (6 Feb’2013) covering wide areas from Lama Camp to Sunderview, above the road,where this species is found.

    • Joe Taylor says:

      Dear Arun, please could you post more information on whether the forest fire is known to have impacted the species.
      Many thanks,
      Joe

      • Arun P.Singh says:

        Dear Joe,
        Obviously, the habitat utilized by this species witnessed widespread fire, it falls within the distribution range described for this species near the lama camp. It adds to disturbance to present area of occupancy.

  6. Pratap Singh says:

    I strongly support the idea that the species should be upgraded to Critically Endangered category since there are no new distribution locations are being added, and we do not have evidence to say that population size is more than threshold level (250) required to take species out of critical threatened category. As suggested by Shashank genetic studies should be urgently taken up, alongwith intensive surveys in adjoining area in Arunachal Pradesh, and also in adjoining Bhutan.

  7. Joe Taylor says:

    Preliminary proposals

    Based on available information and comments posted above, our preliminary proposal for the 2014 Red List would be to uplist Bugun Liocichla Liocichla bugunorum to Endangered under criterion D.

    There is now a period for further comments until the final deadline of 31 March, after which recommended categorisations will be put forward to IUCN.

    The final Red List categories will be published on the BirdLife and IUCN websites in mid-2014, following further checking of information relevant to the assessments by both BirdLife and IUCN.

  8. James Eaton says:

    Worryingly, even in the tiny area they occur around and below Lama Camp is under threat, as witnessed with the construction of a new road (2012-13) straight through at least 2 pairs territories, fragmenting the habitat further and will no doubt lead to habitat degradation in the immediate vicinity of the road.

    I would agree that it seems there is around 6 pairs in the Lama Camp area.

    James

  9. Andy Symes says:

    Recommended categorisation to be put forward to IUCN

    Based on available information and comments posted above, our recommended categorisation to be put forward to IUCN for the 2014 Red List is to:

    list L. bugunorum as Critically Endangered under criterion C2a(i) – change to the preliminary proposal.

    The final Red List category will be published on the BirdLife and IUCN websites in mid-2014, following further checking of information relevant to the assessment by both BirdLife and IUCN.

Comments are closed.