Brown-chested Jungle-flycatcher Cyornis brunneatus


Justification of Red List category
This species qualifies as Vulnerable because it has a small, declining population as a result of destruction of lowland forest in its breeding and wintering grounds, primarily through logging for timber and conversion to agricultural production.

Population justification
The population is estimated to number 2,500-9,999 mature individuals based on an assessment of known records, descriptions of abundance and range size. This is consistent with recorded population density estimates for congeners or close relatives with a similar body size (such estimates span 10-90 individuals per km2) and the fact that only a proportion of the estimated Extent of Occurrence is likely to be occupied. This estimate equates to 3,750-14,999 individuals in total, rounded here to 3,500-15,000 individuals.

Trend justification
A moderately rapid population decline is suspected to be occurring, owing to habitat loss and degradation in both its breeding and non-breeding ranges. The requirement for mature primary forest within the South-East Asian wintering grounds suggests that this species may have been particularly vulnerable to recent habitat loss, especially the expansion of plantations in lowland regions.

Distribution and population

Rhinomyias brunneata breeds in south-east mainland China where it appears to be scarce and locally distributed, but is probably under-recorded. Outside the breeding season, it occurs in Thailand, as a rare passage migrant; peninsular Malaysia, where it is a winter visitor and possibly the whole population occurs on passage, and Singapore, where it is a rare passage migrant and winter visitor. There is a single record from Brunei, and it presumably occurs in parts of Indonesia and east Malaysia, on the islands of Sumatra and Borneo.


It breeds in dense bamboo undergrowth or low bushes in subtropical broadleaved evergreen forests between 600-1,600 m and does not utilise logged forest or artificial plantations. In peninsular Malaysia, it winters almost exclusively in mature primary forest on flat lowland plains (D. Wells in litt. 2004). In Thailand, passage migrants have been recorded in lowland semi-evergreen rainforest, mixed deciduous forest, and Avicennia mangrove/beach scrub.


It is threatened by the continued loss and fragmentation of habitat in both its breeding and non-breeding ranges. In south-east China, most natural forest has been cleared or modified through timber extraction and conversion to agricultural land. Lowland forest has been particularly badly affected. Its requirement for mature primary lowland forest during the non-breeding season makes it particularly susceptible to habitat loss, as very little of such forest now remains. Habitat degradation along the migration route may also be an issue. Birds are captured for food in some areas (e.g. Guangxi), with traditional glue bird-basin techniques giving way to mist-nets which may have higher impact.

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
CMS Appendix II. In its Chinese breeding grounds, it has been recorded in or near 12 protected areas and has been recorded in 2 protected areas in Thailand.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct surveys in south-east China to determine which protected areas are most important for its conservation and to identify any other important areas that should be protected. Conduct surveys on its wintering grounds in peninsular Malaysia and the Greater Sundas, to help clarify its non-breeding range, determine its habitat requirements and altitudinal range, and identify key sites for its conservation, taking into account climate change projections. Research its breeding habitat requirements and altitudinal range with the aim of developing appropriate forest management regimes in the nature reserves where it occurs. Strengthen protection, enforce regulations, and enlarge and link protected areas in China where it occurs. List it as a protected species in China.


15 cm. Nondescript, thick-set flycatcher with mottled throat. Rather long, stout bill with pale yellow lower mandible and faint dark mottling/flecking on whitish throat. Dull brownish upper breast. First-winter birds have dark-tipped lower mandible and rufous-buff tips to greater coverts and tertials.


Text account compilers
Benstead, P., Derhé, M., Gilroy, J., Khwaja, N., Westrip, J., Martin, R

Fellowes, J., Wells, D.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Species factsheet: Cyornis brunneatus. Downloaded from on 06/12/2023.
Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2023) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 06/12/2023.