Archived 2011-2012 topics: Nonggang Babbler (Stachyris nonggangensis): uplist to Vulnerable?

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

BirdLife species factsheet on Nonggang Babbler

Nonggang Babbler Stachyris nonggangensis has a very restricted range in extreme south-eastern China, where it inhabits limestone karst seasonal rainforest. It is listed as Near Threatened under criterion B1a+b(iii) on the basis that although it occupies a very small range, with an Extent of Occurrence (EOO) estimated to be c.590 km2, within which selective logging is thought to be driving a decline in the quality of suitable habitat, it is not known whether the species’s habitat is severely fragmented or if the species occurs at fewer than 11 locations.

It has recently been proposed that the species be uplisted to Vulnerable under criteria B2, as well as C2a(ii) and D2 (Zhou Fang et al. in litt. 2010). BirdLife does not possess data on the species’s Area of Occupancy, which is required for criterion B2; however, the species may qualify as Vulnerable under criterion B1 based on its very small EOO, if it is shown that its habitat is severely fragmented or that it is known from fewer than 11 locations.

Extensive surveys conducted since 2008 have resulted in an estimate of 1,000-2,000 mature individuals, all in one subpopulation (Zhou Fang et al. in litt. 2010), potentially qualifying the species as Vulnerable under criterion C2a(ii), as the population is already suspected to be in decline owing to continued logging.

Qualification as Vulnerable under D2 would only be possible if the species occurs at a few locations, typically fewer than six, and there is an immediate threat which could result in the species qualifying as Critically Endangered or Extinct in a short space of time. Given the existing information on this species, it is unlikely to be listed under D2.

Further information is requested in relation to the potential uplisting of this species under criteria B1a+b(iii); C2a(ii), in particular the number of locations it is known from or the level of habitat fragmentation (i.e. the percentage of suitable habitat in fragments too small to support viable populations).

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4 Responses to Archived 2011-2012 topics: Nonggang Babbler (Stachyris nonggangensis): uplist to Vulnerable?

  1. Jiang Aiwu says:

    I discussed with Professor Zhou about the Nonggang babbler yesterday. We think it is very necessary to uplist Nonggang babbler to vulnerable. The reason is as followers.
    1. The Nonggang babbler was detected only in four locations in southwest Guangxi, China. A new site is adjacent with Vietnam. And therefore, the babbler definitely exists in northern Vietnam. However, the distribution area of Nonggang babbler has been fragmented by farmland and road.
    2. The Nonggang babbler was inhabited in good-protected limestone karst seasonal rainforest. Although the karst is very common in southwest Guangxi, southeast Yunnan and northern Vietnam, the good-protected forest is very rare.
    3. Although we estimated the population of Nonggang babbler as 1000-2000 mature individuals, the most individuals live in Nonggang part of Nonggang national nature reserve. The habitat of Nonggang babbler outside the nature reserve has still be degenerated by charcoaling and assarting.
    In conclusion, listed the Nonggang babbler as a vulnerable species is reasonable.

  2. Jiang Aiwu says:

    A photo of Nonggang babbler was taken by a Chinese wildlife photographer in a new site adjacent the Vietnam in 2009. The new site is in the Bangliang nature reserve, Jingxi county ,southwestern Guangxi province, China. Banliang ( also call as Ku Lai)) is a new nature reserve established in 2008. And the Cao Vit gibbon was also rediscovered in Bangliang in 2006. Therefore, the Bangliang is adjacent with Trung Khanh District, Cao Bang Province. However, I ever surveyed the bird of Bangliang several times after 2006. But I never saw or heard the Nonggang babbler. So I think the babbler is very rare in Bangliang NR.

  3. Joe Taylor says:

    The following comments were sent by Zhou Fang (Guangxi University, China) on 28 January 2012:

    According to our survey, Nonggang Babbler is only recorded in three reserves along the Sino-Vietnamese border region of China: Nonggang Reserve, Bangliang Reserve and Chunxiu Reserve. The estimated population size of Nonggang Babbler was about 1300 individuals in the 3 reserves.

    Habitat loss and fragmentation are the main threat for the babbler.

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