Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Passeriformes Muscicapidae

Scientific Name: Myiomela major
Species Authority: (Jerdon, 1844)
Common Name(s):
English Nilgiri Blue Robin
Brachypteryx major major
Taxonomic Notes: Brachypteryx major (Sibley and Monroe 1990, 1993) has been moved into the genus Myiomela and split into M. major and M. albiventris following Rasmussen and Anderton (2005). This has been confirmed by genetic studies (Robin et al. 2010).

Identification information: 14 cm. Small, chat-like bird with uniform, dark slaty-blue head, breast and upperside. Whitish centre of abdomen with rufous flanks and undertail-coverts. Similar spp. White-bellied Blue Robin M. albiventris has dark slaty-blue flanks and white undertail coverts with white supercilium. Voice Song a short jumble of shrill whistles and harsh notes, combining whistled calls and twangy buzzes, sometimes with mimicry. Calls include a strained, indrawn whistle and harsher rattles.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered B1ab(i,ii,iii,v) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2012
Date Assessed: 2012-05-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S. & Symes, A.
Contributor(s): Praveen, J. & Robin, V.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Calvert, R., Derhé, M., Khwaja, N.
This species has a naturally very small and severely fragmented range, which is further declining rapidly as a result of conversion of forest habitats to plantations, agriculture and settlements. It therefore qualifies as Endangered.

Previously published Red List assessments:
2010 Endangered (EN)
2008 Not Recognized (NR)
2004 Not Recognized (NR)
2000 Not Recognized (NR)
1994 Not Recognized (NR)
1988 Not Recognized (NR)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Myiomela major is restricted to the Nilgiri Hills and South Wayanad Hills, Kerala, and to three peaks in south-west Karnataka, including the Baba Budan Hills, in southern India (del Hoyo et al. 2005, J. Praveen in litt. 2010, V. V. Robin in litt. 2010, 2012). Although the species is described as moderately common, its range is highly restricted and declining due to habitat destruction (del Hoyo et al. 2005, del Hoyo et al. 2007).

Countries occurrence:
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO): Yes
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO): No
Estimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2: 990
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
Lower elevation limit (metres): 1000
Upper elevation limit (metres): 1500
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: The global population size has not been quantified, but evidence suggests that it is moderately common within suitable habitat.

Trend Justification:  Although no quantitative data is available, suitable forest in the Western Ghats is being cleared (del Hoyo et al. 2007), hence the species is suspected to be declining.

Current Population Trend: Decreasing
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals: Unknown Continuing decline of mature individuals: Yes
Extreme fluctuations: No Population severely fragmented: Yes
Continuing decline in subpopulations: Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations: No All individuals in one subpopulation: No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This sedentary species can be found in the undergrowth of "shola" (sheltered woods) from 900-2,100 m, but more typically between 1,000 and 1,500 m (del Hoyo et al. 2005, R. Vijayan in litt. 2010). It breeds in April and May, laying a clutch of 2-3 eggs. It is secretive and shy, creeping through vegetation and around fallen timber, presumably foraging for small insects (del Hoyo et al. 2005).

Systems: Terrestrial
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat: Yes
Generation Length (years): 3.9
Movement patterns: Altitudinal Migrant

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): As reported for other species in the Western Ghats, an increasing human population has led to increased illegal encroachment into forests. Harvesting of fuelwood and huge quantities of forest products is likely to have a negative impact on this species, and it suffers some effects of livestock grazing (V. V. Robin in litt. 2012). Furthermore, hydroelectric power development and road-building are causing reductions in forest cover in some areas. Between 1961 and 1988, 47% of evergreen/semi-evergreen forest was lost in the Kerala portion of the Western Ghats, as a result of clearance for plantations, cash-crops (e.g. tea), reservoirs and human settlements (del Hoyo et al. 2007). Furthermore, having a montane distribution that is close to the maximum altitude within its range, this species is potentially susceptible to climate change (BirdLife International unpubl. data).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
It occurs in Mukurti and Silent Valley national parks, Aralam and Brahmagiri wildlife sanctuaries and Bhadra Tiger Reserve (J. Praveen in litt. 2012).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Regularly monitor populations at selected sites and develop a database of information for formulating conservation management strategies for different areas. Campaign for a moratorium on conversion of remaining natural forests to plantations in the Nilgiris. Promote community-based conservation initiatives focusing on restoration of natural habitats in the Nilgiris, including protection of undergrowth and shrubs in existing old plantations. Initiate conservation-awareness programmes in the Nilgiris.

Citation: BirdLife International. 2012. Myiomela major. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2012: e.T22735416A38110032. . Downloaded on 06 October 2015.
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