Chestnut-naped Forktail Enicurus ruficapillus


Justification of Red List Category
This forest-dependent species is listed as Near Threatened because it is assumed to have experienced moderately rapid declines owing to the extensive loss of lowland forests from large areas of South-East Asia. It is not considered more threatened because it can use secondary habitats and occurs in lower montane forest.

Population justification
The population size of this species has not been quantified; it is considered uncommon to common.

Trend justification
Rates of forest loss in the Sundaic lowlands have been extremely rapid (Kalimantan lost nearly 25% of its evergreen forest during 1985-1997, and Sumatra lost almost 30% of its 1985 cover), because of a variety of factors, including the escalation of logging and land conversion, with deliberate targeting of all remaining stands of valuable timber including those inside protected areas, plus forest fires (particularly in 1997-1998). The species is assumed to have declined as a result but its ability to tolerate secondary habitats and lower montane areas suggests it may have avoided rapid declines.

Distribution and population

Enicurus ruficapillus is patchily distributed through the Sundaic lowlands, occurring in south Tenasserim, Myanmar; peninsular and west Thailand; Sabah, Sarawak and peninsular Malaysia; Kalimantan and Sumatra, Indonesia, and Brunei. It has a patchy distribution and can be locally common in some areas.


It occurs along rivers and streams in lowland and hill forests to 1,300 m. It will tolerate logged forest and secondary habitats. It forages along stream edges on and among rocks, along streambeds and round the margins to pools. Feeds mainly on insects but has been recorded eating small snakes.


Forest destruction in the Sundaic lowlands of Indonesia has been extensive (Kalimantan lost nearly 25% of its evergreen forest during 1985-1997, and Sumatra lost almost 30% of its 1985 cover), and the situation is little different in Malaysia, but the species's ability to survive in submontane forest implies that it is not immediately threatened.

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
No species-specific actions are known but a number of protected areas lie within its range.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Protect areas of lowland forest within the species's range. Enforce restrictions on hunting and logging within such protected areas. Determine its habitat association and generate density estimates to inform a revised population estimate for the species. Calculate population trends by mapping forest cover and rates of loss using remote sensing of satellite imagery.


Text account compilers
Bird, J., Butchart, S., Khwaja, N.

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