Ochotona roylei


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Ochotona roylei
Species Authority: (Ogilby, 1839)
Common Name(s):
English Royle's Pika
Taxonomic Notes: There are two recognized subspecies: Ochotona roylei nepalensis and O. r. roylei (Hoffmann and Smith 2005).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor(s): Smith, A.T. & Boyer, A.F.
Reviewer(s): Johnston, C.H. and Smith, A.T. (Lagomorph Red List Authority)
Ochotona roylei is a widespread species that does not appear to be experiencing a decline in distribution or abundance (Smith et al. 1990, Chakraborty et al. 2005).

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Ochotona roylei occurs in the Himalayan massif through Pakistan, Kashmir, northwestern India, Nepal, and Tibet (Smith et al. 1990). Records exist from western China, but these should probably be attributed to O. macrotis chinensis (Smith et al. 1990).

O. roylei occurs from 2,400-4,300 m in elevation (Chakraborty et al. 2005).
China (Tibet [or Xizang]); India (Jammu-Kashmir); Nepal; Pakistan
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Though there are no current population assessments of Ochotona roylei, it is considered widespread without serious threats to jeopardize its status (Chakraborty et al. 2005). In the Ladakh region of India, it was characterized as uncommon, but without any known threats (Mallon 1991).
Population Trend: Stable

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Ochotona roylei is a primarily crepuscular, talus-dwelling species (Smith et al. 1990). They live in groups composed of parents and their offspring, with low densities (12.5 per ha) characteristic of talus-dwelling pikas (Smith et al. 1990). Females of the species may produce one or two litters annually with an average of 3 offspring per litter (Smith et al. 1990). The total length of this species is 15.5-20.4 cm (Smith and Xie 2008).

O. roylei exhibits a symbiotic relationship with Pnoepyge albiventer, the Scaly Breasted Wren Babbler in Nepal. This species of bird will co-occupy the pika's haypile, forage for food in close proximity to the pika, and sun itself with the pika. Potential reasons for the relationship are: 1.) lack of nesting sites for the babbler, 2.) similar life styles, 3.) the additional heat provided by the bird to the haypile is beneficial to the pika, 4.) utilization of different food sources, and 5.) additional protection against predation (Khana 2007).
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Ochotona roylei is affected by small-scale logging and livestock grazing, but these are not considered serious threats to the distribution or abundance of the species (Smith et al. 1990; Chakraborty et al. 2005).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Ochotona roylei occurs in Zhumulangmafeng Nature Reserve (CSIS 2008). In China, this species has been regionally Red Listed as Least Concern (Wang and Xie 2004).

Bibliography [top]

Chakraborty, S., Bhattacharyya, T. P., Srinvasulu, C., Venkataraman, M., Goonatilake, W. L. D. P. T. S. de A., Sechrest, W. and Daniel, B. A. 2005. Ochotona roylei (Ogilby, 1839). In: S. Molur, C. Srinivasulu, B. Srinivasulu, S. Walker, P. O. Nameer and L. Ravikumar (eds), Status of South Asian Non-volant Small Mammals: Conservation Assessment and Management Plan (C.A.M.P.) Workshop Report, pp. 618 pp.. Coimbatore, India.

China Species Information Service. 2008. Ochotona roylei. Available at:; (Accessed: May 29).

Hoffmann, R. S. and Smith, A. T. 2005. Order Lagomorpha. In: D. E. Wilson and D. M. Reeder (eds), Mammal Species of the World, pp. 185-211. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.

Khana, B. 2007. New Report on the Symbiotic Relation of Ochotona roylei (Lagomorpha: Ochotonidae) and Scaly Breasted Wren Babbler (Pnoepyge albiventer) at Ganesh Himalaya Areas of Central Nepal. Our Nature 5: 37-40.

Mallon, D. 1991. Lagomorphs in Ladakh. Manchester, UK.

Smith, A.T. and Xie, Y. (eds). 2008. A Guide to the Mammals of China. Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey.

Smith, A. T., Formozov, N. A., Hoffmann, R. S., Changlin, Z. and Erbajeva, M. A. 1990. The Pikas. In: J. A. Chapman and J. C. Flux (eds), Rabbits, Hares and Pikas: Status Survey and Conservation Action Plan, pp. 14-60. The World Conservation Union, Gland, Switzerland.

Wang, S. and Xie, Y. 2004. China Species Red List. Vol. 1 Red List. Higher Education Press, Beijing, China.

Citation: Smith, A.T. & Boyer, A.F. 2008. Ochotona roylei. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015.2. <>. Downloaded on 01 September 2015.
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