Sichuan Treecreeper (Certhia tianquanensis): downlist from Near Threatened to Least Concern?

This discussion was first published as part of the 2017 Red List update. At the time a decision regarding the status of several was pended, but to enable potential reassessment of these species as part of the 2018 Red List update this post remains open and the date of posting has been updated.

BirdLife Species factsheet for Sichuan Treecreeper:


Sichuan Treecreeper, Certhia tianquanensis, is currently listed as Near Threatened on the basis that it has been thought to have a moderately small range, within which habitat quality may be declining (BirdLife International 2017). It was thought to occur in a relatively small area of China, with records from just a few localities in the mountains west of Chengdu and Leshan: Labahe Natural Reserve, Tianquin County; Dayi County; Shuanghe town, Ebian County; Wawu Shan, Hongya County, and Wujipung, Wolong Biosphere Reserve (Anderson 2003, Martins et al. 2003). However, it has more recently been discovered at Jiuzhaigou Nature Reserve, 200 km north of the previously known range (Rheindt 2004). The species has also since been found at Taibaishan (B. Anderson in litt. 2005), and also in the Quinling Mountains, Shaanxi (M. Rank in litt. 2005). Within this small area, it was considered uncommon and it is likely patchily distributed because it seems to be confined to stands of old conifers; though it is probably much overlooked (Rheindt 2004). The most significant known population exists at Wawu Shan, though suitable forest on the mountain plateau has been opened up for development of a cable car (Harrap 2017).

With the expansion of its range, and a reassessment of how a species’s Extent of Occurrence is calculated (now using Minimum Convex Polygons) this species would no longer qualify as Near Threatened under criterion B1ab(iii). Previous population size estimates for this species are at approximately 700 mature individuals, which would qualify this species as Vulnerable under at least criteria C2a(i);D1. However, such a population estimate may be too low for this species, as it may be fairly widespread in the high altitude reserves of the Sichuan arc (B. Anderson in litt. 2016) and its main habitat – Alpine conifer >2,000 m is a type of forest that is protected and not exploited commercially (G. Francis in litt. 2016). Therefore, any single subpopulation may contain >>1,000 mature individuals and so not approach the threshold for Vulnerable. Thus it is suggested that this species be downlisted to Least Concern on the basis that it is not thought to approach the threshold for Vulnerable under any criterion.

We welcome any further information or comments regarding this proposed downlisting.



Anderson, M.W. 2003. Birds in biology: a chronology. Scientist 17(22): 12.

BirdLife International 2017. Species factsheet: Certhia tianquanensis. Downloaded from on 04/01/2017.

Harrap, S. 2017. Sichuan Treecreeper (Certhia tianquanensis). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 4 January 2017).

Martins, J.; Eck, S.; Sun, Y. H. 2003. On the discovery of a new treecreeper in China – Certhia tianquanensis Li. Oriental Bird Club Bulletin 37: 65-70.

Rheindt, F.E. 2004. Notes on the range and ecology of Sichuan Treecreeper Certhia tianquanensisForktail 20: 141-142.

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One Response to Sichuan Treecreeper (Certhia tianquanensis): downlist from Near Threatened to Least Concern?

  1. Andy Symes (BirdLife) says:

    Preliminary proposals

    Based on available information, our proposal for the 2017 Red List would be to pend the decision on this species and keep this discussion open until 2018, while leaving the current Red List category unchanged in the 2017 update.

    There is now a period for further comments until the final deadline of 4 August, after which the recommended categorisations will be put forward to IUCN.

    Final 2017 Red List categories will be published on the BirdLife and IUCN websites in early December, following further checking of information relevant to the assessments by both BirdLife and IUCN.

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