Birds conservation in Myanmar

There are 47 Globally Threatened bird species in Myanmar with seven listed as Critically Endangered. Two of these species are probably extinct in the country, of which one is possibly globally so. The formerly widespread White-shouldered Ibis Pseudibis davisoni has not been seen in Myanmar since the 1940s (Birdlife International 2012). The Pink-headed Duck Rhodonessa caryophyllacea was the focus of several intensive searches in the early 2000s, which did not produce any reliable records despite visiting most of the remaining superficially suitable habitats (Tordoff et al. 2008).

In addition, the country holds six endemic species. These include Jerdon’s Minivet Pericrocotus albifrons, Hooded Treepie Crypsirina cucullata, Burmese Bushlark Mirafra microptera, Burmese Tit Aegithalos sharpie, White-throated Babbler Turdoides gularis, and White-browed Nuthatch Sitta victoriae.

The country still has important populations of five Critically Endangered species. This includes White-bellied Heron Ardea insignis a species formerly found through northern and western Myanmar but now restricted in the country to the most remote waterways in the eastern Himalayas. Myanmar hosts possibly the largest wintering population of Spoon-billed Sandpiper Eurynorhynchus pygmeus; this very unique and charismatic species is threatened by incidental hunting on its coastal wintering grounds as well as a series of other poorly understood threats along its long migration path (Pain et al. 2011). Myanmar is also still home to several populations of Critically Endangered vultures including White-rumped Vulture Gyps bengalensis, Slender-billed Vulture Gyps tenuirostris, and Red-headed Vulture Sarcogyps calvus, these species are all wide-ranging and heavily reliant on dead domestic animals to feed on. This reliance on livestock in human dominated landscapes highlights the need to consider conservation action beyond protected areas and consider threats and opportunities in the wider landscape to ensure these species can survive (Htin Hla et al. 2010).

There is a suite of rare but widespread species reliant on undisturbed forested streams, including White-winged Duck Cairina scutulata, Masked Finfoot Heliopais personatus, and Green Peafowl Pavo muticus. Each of these species is threatened by human disturbance and hunting. Their shy and retiring nature as well as their remaining distribution is primarily remote areas makes their true population status difficult to assess. White-winged Duck and Green Peafowl appear to be still widespread in the northwest of the country (Tordoff et al. 2007). But there are very few recent records of Masked Finfoot despite considerable searching in areas they were regularly found in only a few years ago (Tordoff et al. 2007; Birdlife International 2012).

Myanmar is home to the bulk of the world’s population of Gurney’s Pitta Pitta gurneyi. In the 1990s this species was known only from a very small population in southern Thailand but survey work in the past ten years has shown the bird to be relatively widespread in Taninthayi Region. This discovery resulted in the down listing of the species by Birdlife International from Critically Endangered to Endangered in 2008. Despite the larger population the species is still at great risk from the conversion of its forest habitat to oil palm and other land uses (Eames et al. 2005; Donald et al. 2009).

Of Myanmar’s six endemic birds, White-browed Nuthatch Sitta victoriae is considered the most threatened. It is found in oak woodland on the peak of Natmataung (Mount Victoria) and nearby peaks in the Chin Hills. Although this habitat is under limited threat, forest fire is a regularly occurring threat as it expands from nearby shifting cultivation plots and such a localized species may have only a very limited ability to adapt to climate change (Thet Zaw Naing 2003).

As elsewhere in the region large water birds have decreased greatly across the country and continue to be threatened by persecution and human disturbance to their nesting and feeding areas. This includes Greater Adjutant Leptoptilos dubius, Lesser Adjutant Leptoptilos javanicus, and Sarus Crane Grus antigone. A fourth species Black-necked Stork Ephippiorhynchus asiaticus is not considered Globally Threatened but it has declined dramatically in all neighboring countries. It is currently only listed as near threatened because of a large and relatively stable population in Australia and southern New Guinea. Important populations of most of these species still occur in Kachin State, Sagaing Region and in the Ayeyawady Delta, although the current status of Greater Adjutant in the country is unknown (Birdlife International 2012).

Two species restricted to large sandy rivers have also decreased dramatically in recent years. Indian Skimmer Rynchops albicollis and Black-bellied Tern Sterna acuticauda once nested on the Ayeyawady and its major tributaries but recent sightings have been few and decreasing. It is possible that both species have almost completely disappeared from their former range in Myanmar but more information is still needed. The Black-bellied Tern is still only listed as near threatened but it is likely to be uplisted in the near future since it is in continued decline in India and has almost totally been lost from Southeast Asia (Birdlife International 2012).

Two poorly known and difficult to find babbler species are also of conservation priority in the country. Rufous-rumped Grass-babbler Graminicola bengalensis was previously found in Taninthayi (Tennasserim) but has not been found in recent times. Jerdon’s Babbler Chrysomma altirostre was formerly found across the Ayeyawady and Sittaung Plains but has not been seen since the mid-1940s. It has been suggested that the race of Jerdon’s Babbler once found in Myanmar is extinct but no recent surveys have been undertaken to confirm this (Robson in litt). The Rufous-rumped Grass-babbler is included in the list, although only currently listed as near threatened, because it has not been found recently in Myanmar and its population in Thailand is thought to be extinct. Recent taxonomic research also suggests that the population in the country is taxonomically distinct from the taxon found in India and more closely linked to birds found in southern China (Leader et al. 2010).

Threatened Bird species in Myanmar

Scientific Name Common name Status RedList
Ardea insignis White-bellied Heron CR Link
Eurynorhynchus pygmeus Spoon-billed Sandpiper CR Link
Gyps bengalensis White-rumped Vulture CR Link
Gyps tenuirostris Slender-billed Vulture CR Link
Pseudibis davisoni White-shouldered Ibis CR Link
Rhodonessa caryophyllacea Pink-headed Duck CR Link
Sarcogyps calvus Red-headed Vulture CR Link
Aythya baeri Baer’s Pochard EN Link
Cairina scutulata White-winged Duck EN Link
Ciconia stormi Storm’s Stork EN Link
Ciconia boyciana Oriental Stork EN Link
Heliopais personatus Masked Finfoot EN Link
Leptoptilos dubius Greater Adjutant EN Link
Mergus squamatus Scaly-sided Merganser EN Link
Pavo muticus Green Peafowl EN Link
Pitta gurneyi Gurney’s Pitta EN Link
Sitta victoriae White-browed Nuthatch EN Link
Tringa guttifer Spotted Greenshank EN Link
Aceros nipalensis Rufous-necked Hornbill VU Link
Aceros subruficollis Plain-pouched Hornbill VU Link
Alcedo euryzona Blue-banded Kingfisher VU Link
Apus acuticauda Dark-rumped Swift VU Link
Aquila clanga Greater Spotted Eagle VU Link
Aquila hastata Indian Spotted Eagle VU Link
Aquila heliaca Eastern Imperial Eagle VU Link
Calidris tenuirostris Great Knot VU Link
Chrysomma altirostre Jerdon’s Babbler VU Link
Columba punicea Pale-capped Pigeon VU Link
Emberiza aureola Yellow-breasted Bunting VU Link
Gallinago nemoricola Wood Snipe VU Link
Grus antigone Sarus Crane VU Link
Haliaeetus leucoryphus Pallas’s Fish-eagle VU Link
Leptoptilos javanicus Lesser Adjutant VU Link
Lophophorus sclateri Sclater’s Monal VU Link
Megapodius nicobariensis Nicobar Megapode VU Link
Mulleripicus pulverulentus Great Slaty Woodpecker VU Link
Otus sagittatus White-fronted Scops-owl VU Link
Pycnonotus zeylanicus Straw-headed Bulbul VU Link
Rynchops albicollis Indian Skimmer VU Link
Sitta formosa Beautiful Nuthatch VU Link
Sitta magna Giant Nuthatch VU Link
Spizaetus nanus Wallace’s Hawk-eagle VU Link
Stachyris oglei Snowy-throated Babbler VU Link
Tragopan blythii Blyth’s Tragopan VU Link
Treron capellei Large Green-pigeon VU Link
Turdoides longirostris Slender-billed Babbler VU Link
Turdus feae Grey-sided Thrush VU Link
Aceros comatus White-crowned Hornbill Link
Actenoides concretus Rufous-collared Kingfisher Link
Aegithina viridissima Green Iora Link
Aegypius monachus Cinereous Vulture Link
Alcedo hercules Blyth’s Kingfisher Link
Anas falcata Falcated Duck Link
Anhinga melanogaster Oriental Darter Link
Anorrhinus austeni Austen’s Brown Hornbill Link
Anorrhinus tickelli Tickell’s Brown Hornbill Link
Anthreptes rhodolaemus Red-throated Sunbird Link
Arborophila atrogularis White-cheeked Partridge Link
Arborophila charltonii Chestnut-necklaced Partridge Link
Argusianus argus Great Argus Link
Aythya nyroca Ferruginous Duck Link
Brachypteryx hyperythra Rusty-bellied Shortwing Link
Buceros bicornis Great Hornbill Link
Caloenas nicobarica Nicobar Pigeon Link
Caloperdix oculeus Ferruginous Partridge Link
Calyptomena viridis Asian Green Broadbill Link
Chloropsis cyanopogon Lesser Green Leafbird Link
Circus macrourus Pallid Harrier Link
Coturnix japonica Japanese Quail Link
Crypsirina cucullata Hooded Treepie Link
Cuculus vagans Moustached Hawk-cuckoo Link
Dicrurus andamanensis Andaman Drongo Link
Dinopium rafflesii Olive-backed Woodpecker Link
Enicurus ruficapillus Chestnut-naped Forktail Link
Ephippiorhynchus asiaticus Black-necked Stork Link
Esacus giganteus Beach Thick-knee Link
Eurylaimus ochromalus Black-and-yellow Broadbill Link
Falco jugger Laggar Falcon Link
Garrulax nuchalis Chestnut-backed Laughingthrush Link
Graminicola bengalensis Rufous-rumped Grassbird Link
Harpactes duvaucelii Scarlet-rumped Trogon Link
Harpactes wardi Ward’s Trogon Link
Ichthyophaga humilis Lesser Fish-eagle Link
Ichthyophaga ichthyaetus Grey-headed Fish-eagle Link
Indicator xanthonotus Yellow-rumped Honeyguide Link
Iole olivacea Buff-vented Bulbul Link
Ixos malaccensis Streaked Bulbul Link
Limnodromus semipalmatus Asian Dowitcher Link
Limosa limosa Black-tailed Godwit Link
Lophura ignita Crested Fireback Link
Luscinia pectardens Firethroat Link
Malacocincla malaccensis Short-tailed Babbler Link
Malacopteron magnum Rufous-crowned Babbler Link
Megalaima mystacophanos Red-throated Barbet Link
Megalaima rafflesii Red-crowned Barbet Link
Meiglyptes tukki Buff-necked Woodpecker Link
Mycteria leucocephala Painted Stork Link
Numenius arquata Eurasian Curlew Link
Oriolus xanthonotus Dark-throated Oriole Link
Pelargopsis amauroptera Brown-winged Kingfisher Link
Pelecanus philippensis Spot-billed Pelican Link
Pericrocotus igneus Fiery Minivet Link
Phaenicophaeus diardi Black-bellied Malkoha Link
Phaenicophaeus sumatranus Chestnut-bellied Malkoha Link
Philentoma velata Maroon-breasted Philentoma Link
Pitta caerulea Giant Pitta Link
Pitta granatina Garnet Pitta Link
Pitta megarhyncha Mangrove Pitta Link
Platylophus galericulatus Crested Jay Link
Platysmurus leucopterus Black Magpie Link
Ploceus hypoxanthus Asian Golden Weaver Link
Polihierax insignis White-rumped Falcon Link
Psittacula longicauda Long-tailed Parakeet Link
Psittinus cyanurus Blue-rumped Parrot Link
Pycnonotus cyaniventris Grey-bellied Bulbul Link
Pycnonotus eutilotus Puff-backed Bulbul Link
Pycnonotus squamatus Scaly-breasted Bulbul Link
Rhinoplax vigil Helmeted Hornbill Link
Rhizothera longirostris Long-billed Partridge Link
Rollulus rouloul Crested Partridge Link
Sphenocichla roberti Chevron-breasted Babbler Link
Sterna acuticauda Black-bellied Tern Link
Syrmaticus humiae Hume’s Pheasant Link
Threskiornis melanocephalus Black-headed Ibis Link
Treron fulvicollis Cinnamon-headed Green-pigeon Link
Trichastoma rostratum White-chested Babbler Link
Acrocephalus orinus Large-billed Reed-warbler DD Link
Anas formosa Baikal Teal LC Link
Falco naumanni Lesser Kestrel LC Link
By | 2017-05-19T09:58:13+00:00 January 12th, 2014|Wildlife, Birds|0 Comments

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