Friendly Grasshopper-warbler Locustella accentor


Justification of Red List Category
Although this species has a restricted range, the population is currently believed to be stable and there are no direct threats expected to be capable of causing a significant population reduction in the near future. Should there be evidence of a decline in the population size (which needs estimating) or the extent of suitable habitat, then the species would quickly qualify for listing as a threatened species because of its small range.
In the absence of threats that could plausibly cause a significant population reduction in the near future, the species is assessed as Least Concern.

Population justification
The global population size has not been quantified, but the species is described as fairly common within its preferred altitudinal range (del Hoyo et al. 2006). Density is considered low, with only four to five singing birds likely to be encountered in a full morning's walk within the narrow elevational range (Madge 2020). This suggests that the overall population size is unlikely to be large, and may be in the low thousands at most. There is no indication that the population is declining, and the habitat is not under threat, hence the population is presently considered stable. The current preferred elevation range of the species is at least 1,000 m below the peaks of the mountains on which it is found, although if it is impacted by climate change the extent of suitable habitat will decrease. No upslope shift has been noted for the species to date, though it is unclear that there is sufficient information available to detect such a movement.

Trend justification
Within the elevational range of the species habitat is currently secure. The only loss of forest cover has been through very few natural landslips (Global Forest Watch 2021). In the absence of direct threats, the population is considered stable.

Distribution and population

Recorded only from Mount Kinabalu and the adjoining peaks of Mount Tambuyukon and Mount Trus Madi in Sabah (Malaysia) in north Borneo. It is found in montane wet forest between 2,135 m and 3,660 m, with almost all records below 2,745 m (Madge 2020, 2021).


This furtive species forages among the dense moss-covered structure on or just above ground level within closed canopy montane wet forest. It may be very confiding and follow people to catch the invertebrates they disturb.


The habitat of the species currently appears secure, and there are no active threats recorded that are currently believed to be impacting the population. There is the potential for climate change to alter the condition of the montane wet forests in which it occurs, though this has not been reported to date and there has not been any indication that the species is retreating upslope.

Conservation actions

Standardised transect or point count surveys are required to estimate the population density and generate a population size estimate for this restricted range species. Repeats of the methodology are required to generate trend estimates. Observations of the species should be reported with precise elevation information, to allow monitoring of potential upslope distribution shifts that could be used to infer population impacts from altering habitat.


Text account compilers
Martin, R.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Species factsheet: Locustella accentor. Downloaded from on 28/11/2022. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2022) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 28/11/2022.