Justification of Red List Category
This species occurs in a relatively small area of China where it has suffered intensive habitat loss in parts of its range and is subject to egg collecting and hunting. Although it appears to be able to withstand quite high levels of exploitation it is probably undergoing a moderately rapid population reduction, and is consequently classified as Near Threatened.
The global population size has not been quantified, but the species is described as common in suitable forest (del Hoyo et al. 1994).
There are no data on population trends; however, the species is suspected to be undergoing a moderately rapid decline owing to habitat degradation, hunting and egg collecting.
Bonasa sewerzowi is found in the mountains of south-west China, in eastern Tibet, Qinghai, Gansu and western Sichuan (BirdLife International 2001). Its known range was recently extended to the western edge of the forest zone in Tibet (at c.93°30'E), suggesting that it may occur much more widely in the vast and continuous forests of south-east Tibet than was previously documented. It is common in suitable forest, and recent studies in Gansu found extraordinarily high densities of up to 15 occupied territories per km2. However, it is believed to have disappeared from eastern Qinghai and central Gansu because of deforestation, and it has also suffered intensive habitat loss in south-west Gansu.
It occurs in birch and coniferous forest, generally above 1,000 m (BirdLife International 2001), and up to 4,200 m (Klaus et al. 2009b). Its typical habitat is characterised as sparse coniferous forest with a pronounced herbaceous layer and broken glades rich in shrubbery and/or bamboo (Klaus et al. 2009b). In winter, flocks of this otherwise territorial species form in valley bottoms, typically numbering 4-20 individuals (BirdLife International 2001, Klaus et al. 2009b). The species feeds mainly on buds, leaves and shoots taken from willow Salix shrubs throughout the year (Klaus et al. 2009b). They also feed on mosses, herbs and tree seeds collected from the forest floor, and take berries in autumn. Males establish territories in mid-April, although a second peak in territorial activity in the autumn, before winter flocks are formed, may provide advantages when territories are re-established in the spring (Klaus et al. 2009a). The nest is placed at the foot of a tree or rarely in a rotten stump, and egg-laying begins in mid- to late May. Clutches, rarely numbering more than six eggs, are incubated for 25-29 days, and hatching in early to mid-July coincides with the intense rainfall of the monsoon season (Klaus et al. 2009b).
Its habitat has been greatly reduced and fragmented by large-scale forest clearance and intensive livestock grazing (BirdLife International 2001, Klaus et al. 2009b). Illegal hunting and egg-collecting may also be problems in parts of its range (BirdLife International 2001). A population studied in Lianhuashan Natural Reserve (Gansu Province) between 1995 and 2000 was stable despite egg-collecting by local people at 10-29% of nests each year (Sun et al. 2003). Although large-scale forest clearance is thought to be detrimental, limited evidence suggests that lower levels of timber extraction that result in a lush shrub layer with an abundance of Salix spp. allow the species to exist at higher densities (Klaus et al. 2009b).
Conservation Actions Underway
None is known.
Text account compilers
Taylor, J., Mahood, S., Benstead, P.
BirdLife International (2023) Species factsheet: Tetrastes sewerzowi. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 23/03/2023. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2023) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 23/03/2023.