Eurochelidon sirintarae


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Eurochelidon sirintarae
Species Authority: Kitti, 1968
Common Name(s):
English White-eyed River-martin, White-eyed River-Martin
Pseudochelidon sirintarae sirintarae Collar and Andrew (1988)
Pseudochelidon sirintarae sirintarae Collar et al. (1994)
Pseudochelidon sirintarae sirintarae Sibley and Monroe (1990, 1993)
Taxonomic Notes: Use of the genus Eurochelidon follows BirdLife International (2001).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Critically Endangered D ver 3.1
Year Published: 2012
Date Assessed: 2012-05-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S. & Symes, A.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Benstead, P., Bird, J., Butchart, S., Davidson, P., Mahood, S., Peet, N., Symes, A., Taylor, J., Tobias, J.
This species has not been recorded with certainty since 1978, despite some recent surveys. It is likely to have declined as a result of habitat degradation and destruction at the (unknown) breeding areas and on wintering grounds, exacerbated by hunting and trapping at roost-sites. However, it may well remain extant, and surveys are required in putative breeding areas, particularly in Myanmar. Any remaining population is likely to be tiny, and for these reasons it is treated as Critically Endangered.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Eurochelidon sirintarae is only known as a probable non-breeding visitor to one area of central Thailand (BirdLife International 2001). It was discovered in 1968, at or near Beung Boraphet lake, near the town of Nakhon Sawan. It is known from 12 specimens collected amongst roosts of wintering hirundines, with rumours of many more sold in local markets, one field observation at Beung Boraphet in 1978, and two unconfirmed reports, the last of which was in 1986. Its population must be tiny and the lack of reliable records for over 20 years strongly suggests that it has undergone a decline. The species may be extant within South-East Asia, where survey effort has increased in recent years. There have been unconfirmed reports from Cambodia recently where potentially suitable habitat remains (Anon 2006), but searches in the Sre Ambel area in March-April 2008 failed to find the species, and the habitat was degraded and apparently unsuitable (Seng Kim Hout 2008). Myanmar may be a more likely refuge of any remaining population.

Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Any remaining population is assumed to be tiny (numbering fewer than 50 individuals and mature individuals), based on the lack of confirmed records at the only known site since 1978.
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Its ecology is almost totally unknown. It has only been recorded between December and February roosting in reedbeds. By inference from behaviour of the related African River-martin Pseudochelidon eurystomina, it may breed on sand-bars of large rivers and feed over forested country. It has been speculated that, if it nests in Thailand, it would do so from February-April, after which monsoon rains raise water-levels above its postulated nesting habitat. However, there is some evidence that it might breed earlier than this, be partially nocturnal and perhaps not be associated with rivers.

Systems: Terrestrial; Freshwater

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): There has been a massive decline in the number of swallows roosting at Beung Boraphet as a result of intensive trapping for food and roost habitat destruction, primarily through burning of reeds for conversion to lotus cultivation. A number of threats could have contributed to its overall decline, including disturbance of riverine sand-bars, flooding upstream and the alteration of downstream hydrology caused by dams, extensive deforestation, and agricultural intensification. Following its discovery, its decline may have been exacerbated by demand for birds as zoo exhibits or for private collections.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix I. Beung Boraphet has been declared as a Non-Hunting Area. Several unsuccessful searches have been made for it at this site since its discovery. In 1969, a survey, based on village interviews, of the Nan Yom and Wang rivers in northern Thailand did not reveal any further information. Similarly, a brief survey in 1996 of rivers in northern Laos was unsuccessful, and in 2008 a BirdLife/RSPB funded project consisting of speedboat surveys and village interviews at the site of the 2004 claim in Cambodia also proved fruitless (Seng Kim Hout 2008).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct a poster campaign to trace potential sightings by local people to focus survey efforts. Conduct surveys for the species along all major rivers within its putative range (particularly northern Thailand and Myanmar, but also potentially southern China, Laos, and Cambodia) and search alternative habitats such as forests and limestone cave systems. If a population is rediscovered, immediately implement appropriate conservation measures.

Citation: BirdLife International 2012. Eurochelidon sirintarae. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015.2. <>. Downloaded on 29 August 2015.
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