Pellorneum palustre


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Pellorneum palustre
Species Authority: Gould, 1872
Common Name(s):
English Marsh Babbler

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable A2c+3c+4c 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., Gilroy, J., Taylor, J.
This poorly known grassland specialist is suspected to be in rapid decline as a result of the widespread loss of its tall grassland habitat. It therefore qualifies as Vulnerable.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Pellorneum palustre is endemic to the Brahmaputra floodplain, its associated tributaries and adjacent hill ranges in Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya, India and eastern Bangladesh (BirdLife International 2001). It is poorly known, but was formerly described as locally common. There are recent records from just five sites, at one of which it is described as common.

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

Population [top]

Population: The population size is preliminarily estimated to fall into the band 10,000-19,999 mature individuals. This equates to 15,000-29,999 individuals in total, rounded here to 15,000-30,000 individuals.
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: It is resident in extensive reedbeds and tall grass, sometimes mixed with scrub and scattered trees, on marshy ground or adjacent to swamps and rivers, from the plains up to 800 m. It has also been encountered in damp forest scrub. It is very inconspicuous, but has distinctive vocalisations, and is generally found in pairs or small parties, skulking on or near the ground. It breeds during the rainy season from May onwards.

Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The rapid and extensive loss and modification of tall grasslands and reedswamp throughout its limited range is the main threat. This is occurring as a result of drainage, conversion to agriculture (primarily rice-paddy, mustard and tea plantations), overgrazing by domestic livestock, harvesting of grass for thatch production, inappropriate grassland management within protected areas, damming of marshes and, recently, heavy flooding in the Brahmaputra valley caused by run-off from its increasingly denuded catchment.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
Recent records come from Dibru-Saikhowa, Manas and Kaziranga National Parks, both in Assam, and also West Bhanugach Reserve Forest in Bangladesh, although this is not a strictly protected area.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct surveys in remaining suitable habitat, perhaps using call playback, to establish its current distribution and status. Conduct research into its habitat use and seasonal movements to clarify the relative importance of different habitats and altitudes. Extend, upgrade and link existing protected areas, and establish new ones, in order to conserve remaining tracts of natural grassland. Promote regeneration of suitable grassland habitats wherever possible. Control livestock-grazing in protected areas to reduce rates of tall grassland loss and degradation. 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 2012. Pellorneum palustre. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015.2. <>. Downloaded on 30 August 2015.
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