Archived 2012-2013 topics: Rufous-fronted Laughingthrush (Garrulax rufifrons): uplist to Vulnerable?

BirdLife species factsheet for Rufous-fronted Laughingthrush Rufous-fronted Laughingthrush Garrulax rufifrons is restricted to the mountains of west and central Java, Indonesia. It is currently classified as Near Threatened on the basis that it approaches the thresholds for Vulnerable under criteria A2cd+3cd; B1ab(i,ii,iii,v). It has a very small range, which is not severely fragmented, but within which it has become scarce as a result of exploitation for the cage-bird trade, as well as habitat loss in some areas. The global population size has not been quantified, but the species is described as uncommon (del Hoyo et al. 2007). Adequate data are lacking on the precise magnitude of declines, but the population is suspected to be in moderately rapid decline overall. Recent information suggests that the threats faced by this species are greater than previously thought. The species is heavily trapped for trade, but published data on this are lacking (D. Yong in litt. 2012). It is also threatened by habitat loss and disturbance, and is likely to be impacted by climate change in the future (D. Yong in litt. 2012). As a result, this species may qualify for uplisting to Vulnerable under criteria A, B and/or C of the IUCN Red List. If there is evidence to suggest that the population is declining at a rate of at least 30% over three generations (estimated at c.14 years in this species [BirdLife International, unpubl. data]), it would qualify as Vulnerable under criteria A2cd+3cd+4cd. If the species’s range has become severely fragmented owing to on-going habitat loss, or it is found at ≤10 locations, this species would qualify as Vulnerable under criterion B1ab(i,ii,iii,v). If population estimates show that the population is <10,000 mature individuals, and it is continuing to decline by ≥10% over the past 14 years, it would qualify as Vulnerable under criterion C1, or if all subpopulations are ≤1,000 mature individuals, it would warrant uplisting under criterion C2a(i). Very little is known from the majority of sites within this species’s range (D. Yong in litt. 2012); more details are required in order to determine its threat status. Further information is particularly welcome on this species’s population size, trends, distribution and the severity of threats. Reference: 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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4 Responses to Archived 2012-2013 topics: Rufous-fronted Laughingthrush (Garrulax rufifrons): uplist to Vulnerable?

  1. Simon Mahood says:

    Given the impact that trapping has had on other large-bodied Javan songsters (e.g. Javan Green Magpie) might this assessment be understating the level of threat? Could a rate of decline be inferred from what has happened to other species on Java that have been heavily trapped?

  2. Craig Robson says:

    Although my experience is limited, and I believe that its scarcity has been over-stated at times, this species is probably in trouble. I would say Vulnerable at least. Some field-work/study on its biology and habitats, home-range size etc. would be helpful

  3. James Eaton says:

    Given the complete lack of recent records away from Gunung Gede-Pangrango over the past 15-20 years, I would strongly suggest that this species is in need of more urgent attention – it is generally a vocal and conspicuous species when present – I would assume recent records would prove it to be endangered.
    In my 10 years of regular visits to Java I have only seen them, albeit regularly in a single area in Gunung Gede-Pangrango (a single flock up to 10 birds). It has disappeared from accessible areas that it was once common, ie Halimun-Salak NP.

  4. Yong Ding Li says:

    Given the small range (spatial and elevational) and the pressure the species faces from the songbird trade, Rufous-fronted Laughingthrush may be in greater danger than thought (Eaton, J. in litt. 2013), and may thus merit an even higher threat status than currently discussed (i.e. vulnerable) . Species of similar or slightly larger distributional and elevational range (e.g. Javan Trogon) are already classified as ‘endangered’ or are earmarked for ‘critically endangered’ (Javan Green Magpie, Javan Blue-banded Kingfisher). The species appears to be regular at only one of few sites known (i.e. Gunung Gede NP) and even there, abundance as inferred from encounter rates by many visiting birdwatching groups already suggests a decline. While the species may occur in remnant forest on volcanoes like Gunung Merapi, populations here will also be threatened by eruptions.

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