Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Passeriformes Timaliidae

Scientific Name: Pellorneum palustre
Species Authority: Gould, 1872
Common Name(s):
English Marsh Babbler
Identification information: 15 cm. Dark brown babbler with blackish streaks on lower throat and breast. Uniform brown crown and upperside. White of underparts restricted to throat and centre of belly. Lower throat and breast washed rufous at sides. Similar spp. Puff-throated Babbler P. ruficeps has prominent supercilium, rufous-brown crown and prominent brown spotting on breast. Voice Sings with short phrase, introduced by harsh notes krrt trr trr wi yi-yu; trr trr wi-you; trh-trh tu-tiu and trrh-ti trrh-ti trrh-ti. Hints Listen for its distinctive song in wet grasslands.

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.

Previously published Red List assessments:
2008 Vulnerable (VU)
2004 Vulnerable (VU)
2000 Vulnerable (VU)
1996 Vulnerable (VU)
1994 Vulnerable (VU)
1988 Threatened (T)

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.

Countries occurrence:
Bangladesh; India
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO): Yes
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO): No
Estimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2: 62800
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO): Yes
Extreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO): No
Number of Locations: 11-100
Continuing decline in number of locations: Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations: No
Upper elevation limit (metres): 800
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.

Trend Justification:  A rapid and on-going population decline is suspected, in line with rates of habitat loss.
Current Population Trend: Decreasing
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals: 10000-19999 Continuing decline of mature individuals: Yes
Extreme fluctuations: No Population severely fragmented: No
No. of subpopulations: 2-100 Continuing decline in subpopulations: Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations: No All individuals in one subpopulation: No
No. of individuals in largest subpopulation: 1-89

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
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat: Yes
Generation Length (years): 4.1
Movement patterns: Not a Migrant

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 2012: e.T22715856A38184143. . Downloaded on 06 October 2015.
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