Saxicola insignis 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Passeriformes Muscicapidae

Scientific Name: Saxicola insignis Gray, 1846
Common Name(s):
English White-throated Bushchat, Hodgson's Bushchat, White-throated Bush Chat
Taxonomic Source(s): del Hoyo, J., Collar, N.J., Christie, D.A., Elliott, A., Fishpool, L.D.C., Boesman, P. and Kirwan, G.M. 2016. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Volume 2: Passerines. Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge, UK.
Identification information: 17 cm. Large chat. Adult male has white throat and sides of neck. White primary coverts, patch at base of primaries, inner median and greater coverts and at base of tertials and secondaries. Black crown, ear-coverts and mantle with rufous-brown fringes. Rufous-orange underparts becoming pale on belly. Female has buffish supercilium, pale throat and buffish crown and mantle. Similar spp. Common stonechat S. torquata is smaller, lacks white primary coverts and patch at base of primaries and has dark throat. Voice Metallic teck-teck.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable C2a(ii) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2016-10-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S. & Symes, A.
Contributor(s): Chan, S. & Rahmani, A.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Benstead, P., Derhé, M., Gilroy, J., Westrip, J.
This poorly known chat has a small, declining population as a result of loss of its wintering grassland habitats to drainage, conversion to agriculture, overgrazing, flooding, and thatch harvesting. These factors qualify it as Vulnerable.

Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Saxicola insignis breeds very locally in the mountains of Mongolia and adjacent parts of Russia. It has been recorded on passage in northern and western China and Tibet (Simba Chan in litt. 2002), and winters in the terai of northern India and Nepal, with one spring record from Bhutan. Although once common, it is now rare and local in its wintering range, particularly in north and northwest India. It is reported from Dhikala grassland in Corbett NP in Uttarakhand. In Uttar Pradesh, despite intensive search in the grasslands of Dudhwa, Kishanpur, Pilibhet, Sohagi Barwa and Sohelwa wildlife sanctuaries from 2014 onwards, and even earlier in Dudhwa, this bird was not seen, though it could be wintering in the extensive flood plain grasslands of the Ganga River where not many birdwatchers normally go (A. Rahmani in litt. 2016). From Himachal Pradesh there is an unconfirmed record from Renuka Sanctuary, Sirmaur District, and another confirmed record from Narkanda (Rahmani 2012).  In Assam, it is regularly reported in Kuribeel and Koklabari grasslands in Manas and Bagori grasslands in Kaziranga in small numbers. It is also reported from Dibru-Saikhowa NP and Merbil (A. Rahmani in litt. 2016). Other records from Assam are: a female on the edge of Deepor Beel Bird Sanctuary near Guwahati on February 2, 2003, and a male in the same area in the next year on January 1, 2004, and a female on January 1, 2005 on the northern edge of the Sanctuary, close to a place called Satmile; a male on February 1, 2004 near the Jia Dhal river close to NH 31 and 10 km west of Dhemaji town (Rahmani 2012). In 1998, the wintering population in Nepal was estimated at just 110 individuals. Little is known about populations in its breeding grounds.

Countries occurrence:
Bhutan; China; India; Kazakhstan; Mongolia; Nepal; Russian Federation (Central Asian Russia)
Additional data:
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):Yes
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO):NoEstimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:232000
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):YesExtreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO):No
Number of Locations:11-100Continuing decline in number of locations:Yes
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations:NoLower elevation limit (metres):2100
Upper elevation limit (metres):3100
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:The population is estimated to number 2,500-9,999 mature individuals based on an assessment of recent records and surveys by BirdLife International (2001). This is equivalent to 3,750-14,999 individuals in total, rounded here to 3,500-15,000 individuals.

Trend Justification:  A moderate and on-going population decline is suspected to be occurring as a result of habitat loss and degradation in the wintering grounds, although up-to-date information on population trend is lacking.
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals:2500-9999Continuing decline of mature individuals:Yes
Extreme fluctuations:NoPopulation severely fragmented:No
No. of subpopulations:1Continuing decline in subpopulations:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations:NoAll individuals in one subpopulation:Yes
No. of individuals in largest subpopulation:100

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:It breeds (c.June) in alpine or subalpine meadows and scrub in mountains. It winters (October-May) in wet and dry grasslands, reeds and tamarisks along riverbeds, and also in sugarcane fields, in open terrain below 250 m. On migration, it occurs up to 4,500 m. Optimum grassland habitat appears to comprise a mosaic of disturbed (burned or grazed) and undisturbed habitat, although it is absent from apparently suitable sites.

Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Unknown
Generation Length (years):3.3
Movement patterns:Full Migrant

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The major threat appears to be rapid and extensive loss and modification of grasslands in its wintering grounds, as a result of drainage, conversion to agriculture (although it appears to have partially adapted to sugarcane), overgrazing, grass harvesting for thatch production and inappropriate grassland management within protected areas. Recent heavy flooding in the valley of the Brahmaputra, compounded by forest destruction in its catchment, has destroyed further suitable habitat.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
CMS Appendix II. Wintering populations regularly occur in several protected areas, including Kaziranga, Corbett and Manas National Parks, India, and Lumbini Crane Sanctuary, Chitwan National Park and Sukla Phanta Wildlife Reserve, Nepal, the latter site supporting perhaps the highest recorded concentrations.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct further surveys for the species across its breeding and wintering range to identify important sites and potential threats, as well as study its habitat requirements (A. Rahmani in litt. 2016). Potential sites to survey in winter could include the Gangetic and Brahmaputra floodplain (A. Rahmani in litt. 2016). Extend, upgrade and link (where possible) existing protected areas, and establish new ones, in order to adequately conserve remaining tracts of natural grassland. Promote grassland regeneration. Control livestock-grazing in relevant protected areas. Promote widespread conservation awareness initiatives focusing on sustainable management of grassland to maximise both thatch productivity for local people and available habitat for threatened grassland birds.

Citation: BirdLife International. 2016. Saxicola insignis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T22710172A94238105. . Downloaded on 19 September 2018.
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