Liocichla bugunorum


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Liocichla bugunorum
Species Authority: Athreya, 2006
Common Name(s):
English Bugun Liocichla
Taxonomic Notes: Described as new to science by Athreya (2006).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Critically Endangered C2a(i) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2014
Date Assessed: 2014-07-24
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S.
Contributor(s): Alstrom, P., Athreya, R., Bonpo, C., Dalvi, S., Eaton, J., Praveen, J., Singh, A. & Singh, P.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Bird, J., Butchart, S., Derhé, M., Gilroy, J., Symes, A. & Taylor, J.
This species, first described only in the 1990s, has been uplisted to Critically Endangered on the basis that its apparently extremely small population is inferred to be in decline owing to habitat loss and degradation. It is recognised, however, that further fieldwork may lead to the discovery of new localities and populations.

2012 Vulnerable

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Liocichla bugunorum was described from Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary, Arunachal Pradesh, India. Since the original sighting, the species has also been sighted near Bomdila (C. Bonpo in litt. 2011) and since 2009, at least six breeding territories have been recorded in a small area of Lama Camp in Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary (Grewal 2009, S. Dalvi and P. Alstrom in litt. 2012, J. Eaton in litt. 2014). There are only three known localities at present, although analysis of the distribution of apparently suitable habitat suggests it could range more widely in Arunachal Pradesh and also into neighbouring Bhutan and China (Peterson and Papes 2006, S. Dalvi in litt. 2012). However, a survey of other suitable areas surrounding the type locality failed to record this species (R. Athreya in litt. 2007), and fieldwork in May 2007 found very few additional suitable areas in western Kameng district (S. Dalvi in litt. 2012). Given its striking plumage and distinctive vocalisations it is unlikely that the species could have escaped detection for so long if it were relatively common and widespread.

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

Population [top]

Population: The species’s population is estimated to number 50-249 mature individuals, based on a known population of c.14 individuals. This is assumed to be equivalent to c.70-380 individuals in total.
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Little is known about this species, although all sightings have occurred on heavily disturbed hillsides over 2,000 m and among dense scrub, small trees (Anon 2006) and bamboo (C. Bonpo in litt. 2011). Other Liocichla spp. occur in evergreen primary forest and some secondary habitats, typically singly or in pairs. They tend to be unobtrusive. The area where this species has been recorded is part of a wider area of contiguous closed canopy forest.

Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Little is known, but the species has been recorded from logged forest which may well be sub-optimal habitat, as surveys of similar habitat surrounding known localities were fruitless (Anon 2006). Logging for fuel-wood and timber continues at one of the known localities for the species, as local Bugun people rely heavily on local timber for fuel and construction. In 2012-2013, habitat at Lama Camp was further fragmented by the construction of a new road, which is expected to lead to more habitat degradation in the immediate vicinity (J. Eaton in litt. 2014). Uncontrolled fires also pose a risk to the species's habitat. At Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary, fire affected a large area from Lama Camp to Sunderview in February 2013, reducing the area of suitable habitat (A. P. Singh in litt. 2014). Increasing tourism could pose a long term threat if it remains unregulated.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
The species has been described from within the Bugun community forest area adjacent to Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary. Between them, Eaglenest and Sessa sanctuaries protect a microcosm of the wider Kameng protected area. The type locality and surrounding areas have been proposed as a community reserve, which is a new category of protected area in India in which local communities play a significant role in partnership with the forest department (R. Athreya in litt. 2007).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct further surveys to improve understanding of the species's range, population and ecology, including intensive surveys in adjoining areas of Arunachal Pradesh, and also in adjacent areas of Bhutan (P. Singh in litt. 2014). Appraise potential threats to this species. Ensure that habitats within the Kameng protected area remain safe by opposing further road developments.

Citation: BirdLife International 2014. Liocichla bugunorum. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015.2. <>. Downloaded on 05 September 2015.
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