Cambodian Tailorbird Orthotomus chaktomuk


Justification of Red List Category
This remarkable newly-discovered species is inferred to be suffering a moderately rapid population decline due to habitat conversion throughout its range. As such the species is evaluated as Near Threatened.

Population justification
No population estimate has been made, but it is often the commonest species within the rather specialised habitat in which it occurs.

Trend justification
Suitable dense scrub habitat is being converted for agriculture and development at a rate of around 30% in 10 years, and severe El Nino fires recently damaged a significant proportion of this habitat. From this it is inferred that the population is declining at a moderately rapid rate.

Distribution and population

This recently-described species is found within the extent of the seasonally flooded dense scrub within the floodplain of the Tonle Sap, Mekong and Bassac Rivers in Cambodia (Mahood et al. 2013).


It occupies dense humid evergreen scrub 2-6 m tall in areas that experience flooding on an annual basis (Mahood et al. 2013). It is considered to likely rely on human disturbance of the floodplain habitat that prevents tall floodplain forest from establishing in this region continually inhabited by people for an exceedingly long time (Mahood et al. 2013).


An assessment based on satellite imagery and ground vegetation plots within the range of the species has indicated a recent, and ongoing rapid decline in extent of habitat suitable for the species that approaches 30% (R. Carvill unpub. data), and subsequently extreme El Nino related fires have impacted the remaining area severely in 2016 (S. Mahood in litt. 2016). The species has already been noted to have disappeared from one site following conversion to aquaculture ponds (Mahood et al. 2013). Despite this, it is considered that the species still occurs numerous locations when the threat is considered to be habitat loss. While the species is anticipated to be able to recover from events such as fires, and additional areas of scrub are likely to appear in new sites to replace some that is lost, the ongoing conversion of habitat is inferred to have caused a population reduction

Conservation actions

Maintain a land management system that allows dense scrub to develop.


11 cm. Somewhere betwixt Ashy and Dark-necked Tailorbirds, there scratches one more in dense and thorny scrub. An orange crown matches the orange eye, below which the face is plain and pale grey. A darker grey stretches from the hindneck through the upperparts, while the underparts are white, aside from heavy blackish streaking on the lower throat and upper breast.


Text account compilers
Westrip, J. & Martin, R

Mahood, S.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2020) Species factsheet: Orthotomus chaktomuk. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 26/05/2020. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2020) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 26/05/2020.