Bornean Crestless Fireback Lophura pyronota


Justification of Red List Category
Habitat loss in this species' range is extremely rapid, and the population size is suspected to be declining rapidly also. This threat is compounded by habitat fragmentation and hunting. For these reasons it is assessed as Endangered.

Population justification
There is no robust estimate for this species and its exact habitat requirements are improperly known such that a population size is now difficult to assume. There are few recent records and the species appears to be scarce and localised. Ascertaining this species' persistence in smaller forest patches should be considered a priority for research as well as developing density estimates to produce a new global population estimate.

Trend justification
The species is dependent on forest cover (either primary forest or mature secondary); consequently the population impact of forest cover loss is expected to be equal to or greater than the rate of loss. 43-51% of forest cover (with greater than 30% canopy cover) has been lost over the past three generations (21.6 years) (Global Forest Watch [2021] using data from Hansen et al. [2013] and methods disclosed therein). This value does not account for the impact of forest degradation: the average forest patch size in this species' range fell from 6,501 km2 to 599 km2 between 2000 and 2018, while the number of patches rose from 51 to 291 (Savini et al. 2021), indicating large-scale fragmentation. It is unclear how well this species persists in smaller habitat fragments, but this matrix makes it intrinsically more vulnerable to hunting pressures. While the impact of fragmentation and hunting remain unquantified, rates of forest cover loss are considered to represent the minimum rates of population decline for this species and an overall decline of 50-70% is suspected.

Distribution and population

Lophura pyronota occurs across lowland Kalimantan, Indonesia, with recent records too from Brunei. There are historic, but no recent, records from Sabah and Sarawak, Malaysia (Eaton et al. 2021, J. Eaton pers. comm. 2022).


It is an extreme lowland specialist, inhabiting primary and well-regenerated, closed canopy, evergreen forest (del Hoyo et al. 1994, Eaton et al. 2021). It is apparently a peat-swamp specialist, but also extend into plains and riverine lowland dipterocarp forests (D.L. Yong in litt. 2014). However, precise details of its habitat preferences, and its ecological interactions with its congeners L. ignita and L. bulweri, are lacking. Diet includes approximately equal amounts of animal and plant material (Johnsgard 1999).


The rate of plains-level forest loss has been extremely rapid, exceeding 50% over the past three generations (Global Forest Watch [2021] using data from Hansen et al. [2013] and methods disclosed therein), and the associated impacts of degradation and increased access for hunting (Savini et al. 2021) are expected to have additive impacts on the rate of reduction for this strictly forest-dependent species.

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
It occurs in several protected areas, including Tanjung Puting National Park (Kalimantan). The European captive population is not thought to be currently viable in the long term due to diminishing genetic diversity (A. Hennache in litt. 2004).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Determine its current status in Sabah and Sarawak. Conduct further research into its ecological requirements, including its relationship with L. ignita/rufa. Following surveys and GIS analysis, review whether key populations are adequately represented within the existing protected areas network, and advocate protection of further areas if necessary.
Advocate full protection under Malaysian and Indonesian law. Promote the concept of Forest Management Units in Sabah (99-year concessions of great size). Assist forest managers in habitat identification and zoning of concession areas. Promote the careful management of captive stocks including the establishment of a studbook.


Male 47-51 cm, female 42-44 cm. Dark pheasant with short, black-based, caramel-coloured tail. Male, blackish (glossed purplish-blue) with matt pale grey neck and bold, white narrow streaking from neck to mid-belly and hindneck to mantle. Upperparts have fine grey vermiculations. Female, blackish overall (glossed dark purplish- to greenish-blue) with browner head, paler throat and largely glossless dark tail, centre of belly, vent and flight feathers. Juvenile (both sexes) like female but with rusty-tipped body feathers. Similar spp. Male L. erythrophthalma lack the white streaking and has a deep, glossy blue neck. Male easily told from Bornean Crested Fireback L. ignita by red facial skin, plain underparts and distinctive tail, but care should be taken to separate it from Salvadori's Pheasant L. inornata. Voice Low tak-takrau, vibrating throaty purr and loud kak when alarmed. Low clucking when foraging.


Text account compilers
Vine, J., Berryman, A., Martin, R.

Bakewell, D., Davison, G., Eaton, J., Hennache, A., Symes, A., Yong, D. & van Balen, B.S.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Species factsheet: Lophura pyronota. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 31/03/2023. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2023) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 31/03/2023.