Archived 2011-2012 topics: Chinese Hwamei (Garrulax canorus): request for information

Initial deadline for comments: 31 January 2012 [note that this has been moved back by about two months].

BirdLife species factsheet for Chinese Hwamei

Chinese Hwamei Garrulax canorus inhabits shrublands, open woodland, thickets, scrub, bamboo, reeds, grassland and gardens in China and parts of Indochina, having also been introduced to Chinese Taiwan and Singapore (del Hoyo et al. 2007). It is listed as Least Concern on the basis that it does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under any of the IUCN criteria.

This species is described as relatively common in China and as having recovered in Hong Kong following a reduction in trapping pressure and possibly also due to increases in the area of shrubland (del Hoyo et al. 2007). Its status in Laos is unclear owing to there being very few records (del Hoyo et al. 2007). This species has declined markedly in Vietnam, and may be on the verge of extinction there. It is imported into Vietnam in large numbers, raising concerns over the level of trapping pressure in China and thus the magnitude of declines. Thus it is necessary to ascertain the species’s population trend across its range in China.

Further information is requested on this species, in particular on current population trends and the severity of threats. If the available evidence points towards a decline approaching 30% (typically 20-29%) over three generations, estimated by BirdLife to be c.14 years, the species may be eligible for uplisting to Near Threatened under criterion A. Indications of a decline of at least 30% over 14 years may qualify the species for uplisting to Vulnerable.


del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A. and Christie, D. (2007) Handbook of the Birds of the World, vol. 12: Picathartes to Tits and Chickadees. Barcelona, Spain: Lynx Edicions.

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8 Responses to Archived 2011-2012 topics: Chinese Hwamei (Garrulax canorus): request for information

  1. Passing on feedback from Dr Wu Fei, Kunming Institute of Zoology, Yunnan, China:
    The abundance of hwamei is still high in some regions of China, for example in Anhui. But in the south and west of China, the abundance is really low. Also, in the whole China range, the hwamei is seriously threatened by catching nestlings & adults and collecting eggs in the field, although the capture and trade of hwamei is forbidden.

  2. From Dr Zhang Mingxia, Wildlife Conservation Society China:
    During Sep 2008- Aug 2011, we did monthly surveys in Yuehe pet market in Guangzhou, and totally counted more than 1300 Huamei. It’s still one of the most common pet birds in Chinese markets; sorry that we just have data in Guangzhou.

    All the best, Mingxia

  3. Jiang Aiwu says:

    Although the Chinese Hwamei is the favorite pet bird of south China, catching Hwamei is very common in Guangxi. I found the Chinese Hwamei has still been easy to see in the grassland and shrubs. It is also one of the most common pet birds in Guangxi markets.

  4. Simba Chan says:

    In addition to its natural distribution, this species has become common in parts of Japan, where it was introduced since the 1970s to 1980s.

  5. Praveen J says:

    I understand that there are several introduced populations which are thriving even in urban China. E.g. I have seen birds in a busy industrial area well with in Shanghai where wild populations are not known to exist. From the comments above, does it seem like this species has naturally colonizing capability and reversal of trends, if required, can be far more simpler ?

  6. John Pilgrim says:

    I have only once recorded this species in Vietnam (in northwest Tonkin), despite abundant, apparently-suitable habitat. Trapping of laughingthrushes is intensive within much of its Vietnamese range.

  7. Joe Taylor says:

    The following comments were sent by Will Duckworth on 24 November 2011:

    The comment in HBW concerning Lao was not applicable after 2003. The reason why there were few records there in the 1990s is that surveys concentrated on forest habitat and forest birds, so there was not much chance to find it.

    The cagebird pressure for the Lao market is nothing like that in Vietnam, but wildlife trade to Vietnam flows freely and it is reasonable to assume that collection for the VN market operates at the level of the demand. as a non-forest species it is obviously at higher risk than deep forest species from harvesting, given the overlap of its habitat with that of heavy human use. That the species remains common around various towns, main roads and other centres of human activity indicate that presently in Lao there is no reason to consider it in need. How the Lao situation relates to the rest of its range I’ve no idea.

  8. Simon Mahood says:

    Based on my own observations I believe that this species is now largely absent from its former range in Vietnam, although what percentage of the global population this was I do not know. It remains one of the most common and sought after cagebirds in Hanoi, the huge numbers on sale can only have come from Laos and China where it is evidently still fairly common.

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