Archived 2017 topics: Firethroat (Calliope pectardens): request for information.

Firethroat, Calliope pectardens, is a relatively poorly-known species, with reports during the breeding season from Sichuan, Yunnan and Tibet, China, and Arunchal Pradesh, India (Alström et al. 2013). In the non-breeding season the species may venture further into India, Bangladesh, and Myanmar, with a recent report from northern Thailand (Alström et al. 2013, Bunkhwamdi et al. 2015). The majority of records, however, come from Sichuan, China, during the breeding season.

It breeds in dense vegetation in montane forest and is inferred to be declining as a result of logging within both is breeding and non-breeding range. The species is currently listed as Near Threatened under criterion C2a(ii) on the basis that that it is suspected to have a moderately small, declining population, which may be considered to be one sub-population because of its migratory nature (see BirdLife International 2017). However, the population estimate used is 10,000-19,999 individuals, which very roughly equates to 6,667-13,333 mature individuals (BirdLife International 2017). This population size estimate would actually trigger the species to qualify as Vulnerable under criterion C2a(ii). There have in fact been an increasing number of records in recent years, including at sites where this species has previously not been recorded; probably as a result of increased knowledge and bird watching activity (P. Alström in litt. 2016), rather than a population increase. The current population estimate used by BirdLife in part draws on the fact that the species had been rarely reported, and so with an increase it reporting, the population size may be better placed in the range of 10,000-19,999 mature individuals. This would then retain the species as Near Threatened under criterion C2a(ii) as this would approach but not meet the threshold for Vulnerable under that criterion. We therefore request any comments and information about this species, particularly regarding global population estimates.



Alström, P.; Song, G.; Zhang, R.; Gao, X.; Holt, P. I.; Olsson, U.; Lei, F. 2013. Taxonomic status if Blackthroat Calliope obscura and Firethroat C. pectardens. Forktail 29: 94-99.

BirdLife International. 2017. Species factsheet: Calliope pectardens. Downloaded from on 03/04/2017.

Bunkhwamdi, W.; Manawattana, S.; Kanjanavanit, R.; Round, P. D. 2015. A photographic record of Firethroat Calliope pectardens wintering in northern Thailand with a reassessment of a specimen record of Blackthroat C. obscura. BirdingASIA 24: 37-42.

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4 Responses to Archived 2017 topics: Firethroat (Calliope pectardens): request for information.

  1. The species is a regular winter visitor to Bangladesh. There are recent records from seasonal freshwater wetlands in northeast Bangladesh and from the Sundarbans. Although the wetlands in northeast Bangladesh is largely degraded and expected to show similar trends, the Sundarbans may offer a relatively safe wintering ground. Moreover, the species is perhaps more widespread in Bangladesh than its known range due to its secretive behaviour.

  2. Andy Symes (BirdLife) says:

    Preliminary proposals

    Based on available information, our preliminary proposal for the 2017 Red List would be to list:

    Firethroat as Near Threatened under criterion C2a(ii).

    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.

    Please note that we will then only post final recommended categorisations on forum discussions where these differ from the initial proposal.

    The 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.

  3. Paul Thompson says:

    Ringing records from Bangladesh are concentrated in 1-2 sites, with none in other freshwater wetland sites that have had as much or more ringing effort. Suitable habitat in NE Bangladesh (taller/denser swamp forest thickets) therefore appears to be very limited, and has been declining. Status in and importance of Sundarbans (mangrove forest) remains unclear – if this is a major wintering area then threats considering the size of the area would be low, but this is a difficult habitat to search for the species. If it prefers freshwater swamp forest/thickets then the threat level could be higher. From wintering perspective current proposal is probably ok.

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