|Scientific Name:||Ploceus megarhynchus|
|Species Authority:||Hume, 1869|
|Red List Category & Criteria:||Vulnerable A2cd+3cd+4cd;C2a(i) ver 3.1|
|Reviewer/s:||Butchart, S. & Symes, A.|
|Contributor/s:||Baral, H., Choudhury, A., Inskipp, C. & Rahmani, A.|
This species has a small, rapidly declining and severely fragmented population as a result of the loss and degradation of terai grasslands, principally through conversion to agriculture and overgrazing. These factors qualify it as Vulnerable.
|Range Description:||Ploceus megarhynchus is endemic to the terai of the northern Indian subcontinent, where it is known from disjunct populations in Delhi and northern Uttar Pradesh, India and adjacent extreme western Nepal, and from eastern Nepal to Assam (BirdLife International 2001). It has always been very locally distributed, and the disappearance of several colonies in recent decades indicates that it is declining. The population in Nepal is estimated at fewer than 50 birds and declining (C. Inskipp and H. Baral in litt. 2012). The global population is currently put at fewer than 10,000 mature individuals; however, it has been suggested that there could be fewer than 3,000 mature individuals (R. Bhargava per A. Rahmani in litt. 2012).|
|Range Map:||Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.|
|Population:||The population is estimated to number 2,500-9,999 mature individuals, based on an analysis of records in BirdLife International (2001) suggesting the population is unlikely to exceed 10,000 individuals and may well fall well short of this. This equates to 3,750-14,999 individuals in total, rounded here to 3,500-15,000 individuals. However, it has been suggested that the total population could number fewer than 3,000 mature individuals (R. Bhargava per A. Rahmani in litt. 2012).|
|Habitat and Ecology:||It inhabits terai marshes and extensive stands of Imperata, Narenga, and Saccharum grassland, particularly those that are seasonally inundated, with well-scattered trees, and occasionally interspersed with patchy rice and sugarcane cultivation. It is gregarious, foraging in flocks and breeding (May-September) in colonies. Nests are built in trees, reedbeds, or extensive stands of tall grass. Whilst its movements are poorly understood, populations appear to wander erratically.|
The main threat is the rapid and extensive loss and modification of its habitat. This has occurred as a result of drainage, conversion to agriculture (primarily rice-paddy, sugarcane, mustard and tea), overgrazing by domestic livestock and grass harvesting for thatch production. These threats are compounded by capture for the live bird trade.
During the last 60 years, the Terai region has been almost totally converted to human-dominated landscape with agricultural farms, orchards, factories, canals, roads, expanding villages and cities, and very rapid human population growth. The rising population of crows (Corvus splendens and Corvus macrorhynchos), related to garbage and human habitations, is another threat to the nesting colonies (Bhargava 2000).
Conservation Actions Underway
It is protected in India, and trapping and trade of the species has been banned since 1991. It has been recorded from Kaziranga, R. G. Orang, Dibru-Saikhowa and Manas National Parks, Assam, Jaldapara Wildlife Sanctuary, West Bengal, Corbett National Park (or at least nearby), Uttar Pradesh, and Sukla Phanta Wildlife Reserve, Nepal. Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct widespread interviews with bird-trappers to identify population centres, followed by field surveys in remaining habitat to establish its distribution and status. Extend, upgrade, link (where possible) existing protected areas and establish new ones in order to conserve remaining tracts of natural grassland across its range. Control livestock-grazing in protected areas to reduce rates of habitat loss and degradation. Promote conservation awareness initiatives focusing on sustainable management of grassland to maximise both thatch productivity for local people and available habitat for threatened grassland birds. Upgrade its legal protection status to Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act.
|Citation:||BirdLife International 2012. Ploceus megarhynchus. In: IUCN 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 23 May 2013.|
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