Bornean Bristlehead Pityriasis gymnocephala


Justification of Red List Category
This unusual species is likely to be declining moderately rapidly throughout much of its range as a result of forest loss and degradation. It is currently considered Near Threatened, and should be carefully monitored.

Population justification
The population size of this species has not been quantified, but it is described as uncommon.

Trend justification
Data on trends are lacking, but at least moderately rapid population declines have almost certainly occurred as a result of widespread and rapid forest destruction within the species's range.

Distribution and population

Pityriasis gymnocephala is restricted to Borneo, where it occurs patchily in lowland forests of Sabah and Sarawak, East Malaysia, Brunei and Kalimantan, Indonesia (BirdLife International 2001).


This species is found principally in peatswamp forest, but is also recorded from primary evergreen forest, logged forest and tall secondary forest up to 1,000 m. It is a noisy and social species, moving in small groups through the canopy and feeding on invertebrates, small reptiles and amphibians.


Rates of forest loss in the lowlands of Borneo have been rapid, particularly in Kalimantan, where the forests have suffered a recent escalation of illegal logging and land conversion, with deliberate targeting of all remaining stands of valuable timber including those inside protected areas. Forest fires have also had a damaging effect (particularly in 1997-1998), with peatswap forests being particularly affected. The magnitude of these threats may be allayed by this species's tolerance of logged, secondary and hill forest, although more research is required to determine the full habitat requirements of this unique species.

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
No targeted conservation actions are known for this species, although it occurs in a number of protected areas.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct repeated surveys in areas within and surrounding the species's range to measure rates of population decline or range contraction. Conduct ecological studies to improve understanding of its precise habitat requirements, tolerance of secondary habitats and response to fragmentation. Campaign for the protection of remaining tracts of peatswamp forest on Borneo.


Text account compilers
Benstead, P., Gilroy, J., Taylor, J.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2020) Species factsheet: Pityriasis gymnocephala. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 01/06/2020. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2020) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 01/06/2020.