West Sichuan mountains

Country/Territory China (mainland)
Area 180,000 km2
Altitude 2700 - 4900m
Priority high
Habitat loss major
Knowledge incomplete

General characteristics

This Chinese EBA is in the eastern part of the Qinghai-Tibetan plateau and falls within central and western Sichuan, south-east Qinghai and southern Gansu provinces and extreme eastern Tibet autonomous region; it includes the Qionglai Shan, Min Shan, Daxue Shan and Shaluli Shan ranges. The restricted-range birds occur in the subalpine and upper temperate zones of these mountains, between about 2,700 and 4,900 m, and the boundary to the EBA has been drawn only approximately, based upon the documented records of the birds and their altitudinal limits. However, detailed contour data are not available for most of the region, and much of the land within this boundary is above 4,900 m and unsuitable for the restricted-range species.

In the Qionglai Shan and Min Shan there is geographical overlap between this EBA and the Central Sichuan mountains (EBA 137), but the restricted-range birds of that EBA tend to occur at lower altitudes, in the temperate zone. The Yunnan mountains (EBA 139) are adjacent to the southern part of the West Sichuan mountains but there is probably no geographical overlap and the birds of that EBA also tend to occur at lower altitudes.

Restricted-range species

Of the three species present, Perisoreus internigrans and Strix davidi are found in subalpine coniferous forest, and Lophophorus lhuysii in rhododendron scrub and open areas above the treeline. The first two appear to be associated with relatively dry coniferous forest having a poorly developed understorey, in contrast to the restricted-range birds of the Central Sichuan mountains which occur in wetter forests with a dense understorey, typically of bamboo. All three species are known from the Qionglai Shan and Min Shan ranges (although P. internigrans only appears to be present in the north of the Qionglai Shan), but their ranges are incompletely documented in the western part of the EBA, where they are all known by no more than a few widely scattered records.

Species IUCN Category
Chinese Monal (Lophophorus lhuysii) VU
(Strix davidi) NR
Sichuan Jay (Perisoreus internigrans) NT

Important Bird Areas (IBAs)
IBA Code Site Name Country
Baima China (mainland)
CN151 Gonjo China (mainland)
CN152 Markam China (mainland)
CN154 Sanjiangyuan Nature Reserve China (mainland)
CN165 Ganligahai-Zecha Nature Reserve China (mainland)
CN167 Jonê China (mainland)
CN168 Min Shan mountains China (mainland)
CN169 Baishui Jiang Nature Reserve China (mainland)
CN179 Kasha Hu Nature Reserve China (mainland)
CN181 Têwo Nature Reserve China (mainland)
CN182 Zoigê (Ruo'ergai) Marshes China (mainland)
CN183 Babso Nature Reserve China (mainland)
CN184 Baihe Nature Reserve China (mainland)
CN185 Jiuzhaigou Nature Reserve China (mainland)
CN186 Wanglang Nature Reserve China (mainland)
CN187 Huanglongsi Nature Reserve China (mainland)
CN188 Xiaohegou Nature Reserve China (mainland)
CN189 Tangjiahe Nature Reserve China (mainland)
CN191 Xuebaoding Nature Reserve China (mainland)
CN192 Baiyang Nature Reserve China (mainland)
CN193 Piankou Nature Reserve China (mainland)
CN194 Xiaozhaizigou Nature Reserve China (mainland)
CN195 Mengbi Shan China (mainland)
CN196 Mengtun China (mainland)
CN197 Jiuding Shan Nature Reserve China (mainland)
CN198 Qianfoshan Nature Reserve China (mainland)
CN199 Baishuihe Nature Reserve China (mainland)
CN200 Longxi-Hongkou Nature Reserve China (mainland)
CN201 Wolong Nature Reserve China (mainland)
CN202 Anzihe Nature Reserve China (mainland)
CN203 Heishuihe Nature Reserve (Dayi) China (mainland)
CN204 Fengtongzhai Qiaoqi China (mainland)
CN205 Labahe Nature Reserve China (mainland)
CN207 Wawu Shan Nature Reserve China (mainland)
CN214 Dazhubao and Dafengding China (mainland)
CN218 Wahuishan Nature Reserve China (mainland)
CN219 Gongga Shan Nature Reserve China (mainland)
CN220 Yele Nature Reserve China (mainland)
CN221 Liziping Nature Reserve China (mainland)

Threat and conservation

The forests in the Daxue Shan and Shaluli Shan are part of the second most important timber-producing region in China, and are being rapidly exploited. Forest cover in Sichuan province is estimated to have been reduced from 19% to 12.6% between the early 1950s and 1988, with mature natural forest being particularly affected (Smil 1984, 1993). All three of the restricted-range species are classified as threatened: the two forest species because of this rapid rate of habitat loss, and Lophophorus lhuysii because of hunting and habitat degradation caused by overgrazing (McGowan and Garson 1995). A more widespread threatened species which occurs in the EBA is White Eared-pheasant Crossoptilon crossoptilon (classified as Vulnerable).

The restricted-range birds of this EBA occur in several of the reserves established for the conservation of giant panda Ailuropoda melanoleuca in the Qionglai Shan and Min Shan ranges (see IUCN 1992d, 1993), although Perisoreus internigrans appears to have been recorded in only two of these reserves in the Min Shan. There are no protected areas in the western part of the EBA.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Endemic Bird Areas factsheet: West Sichuan mountains. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 03/10/2022.