Following the split of the Sumatran Laughingthrush (BirdLife species factsheet) from White-crested Laughingthrush G. leucolophus (Collar 2006) it was listed as Vulnerable on the basis that it was likely to have a small global population and rapid declines were thought to be ongoing. It was noted that further information could lead to the species being uplisted to Endangered.
Results from surveys of bird markets in Sumatra and Java coupled with field surveys in suitable habitat for this species have reinforced the apparent severity of the threat to the species (Eaton et al. 2015, Harris et al. 2015). The price of the species has increased from $8-15 in 2007 (Shepherd 2007) to over $90 in 2014 (Chng et al. 2015). In the wild birds had been trapped out of readily accessible areas before 2009 (Brickle 2009) and more than 45 km of transects in North Sumatra in 2013 yielded just a single record (Eaton et al. 2015). Trappers in West Sumatra stated in 2015 that it remained in forests three days walk from a road (Eaton et al. 2015). Due to the enormous scale of deforestation on much of Sumatra with its associated roads there are now few areas more than three days walk from a road in this part of the island.
The largest extent of remaining habitat is in Aceh province, where the species is still relatively widespread though highly localised and heavily trapped (Eaton et al. 2015). Recent bird tours to this area have located groups by the roadside, indicating that trapping pressure is lower in this culturally separate region of Sumatra (Eaton 2014).
Over the course of the previous three generations (14.1 years) it is inferred from trade data and observations in the wild that the species has suffered a very rapid population decline in excess of 50% and which appears to be ongoing. Therefore it is proposed that Sumatran Laughingthrush qualifies for listing as Endangered under criterion A2c + A3c + A4c, due to trapping for trade compounded by habitat loss.
Brickle, N. 2009. Seeking the elusive Black-and-white Laughingthrush Garrulax bicolor in the Alas Valley. Birding ASIA 11: 15.
Chng, S. C. L., Eaton, J. A., Krishnasamy, K., Shepherd, C. R. & Nijman, V. 2015. In the market for extinction: an inventory of Jakarta’s bird markets. Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia: TRAFFIC.
Collar, N. J. (2006) A partial revision of the Asian babblers (Timaliidae). Forktail 22: 85-112.
Eaton, J.A. 2014. Tour report: Remote Sumatra, Indonesia – 3rd – 21st September 2014. birdtourASIA, UK.
Eaton, J.A., Shepherd, C.R., Rheindt, F.E., Harris, J.B.C., van Balen, S. (B.), Wilcove, D.S. and Collar, N.J. 2015. Trade-driven extinctions and near-extinctions of avian taxa in Sundaic Indonesia. Forktail 31: 1-12.
Shepherd, C. R. 2007. Trade in the Black-and-white Laughingthrush Garrulax bicolor and White-crested Laughingthrush G. leucolophus in Indonesia. BirdingASIA 8: 49–52.