Kashmir Flycatcher Ficedula subrubra


Justification of Red List category
This migratory flycatcher has a small, declining population and breeding range, which is also severely fragmented, as a result of the destruction of temperate, mixed deciduous forests. It therefore qualifies as Vulnerable.

Population justification
The population is estimated to number 2,500-9,999 individuals based on an assessment of available records and surveys by BirdLife International (2001) who concluded that it is unlikely that it currently numbers more than a few thousand individuals. This estimate is equivalent to 1,667-6,666 mature individuals, rounded here to 1,500-7,000 mature individuals.

Trend justification
A moderate and on-going population decline is suspected to be occurring, as a result of habitat degradation and loss in both the wintering and breeding grounds.

Distribution and population

Ficedula subrubra is endemic to the Indian subcontinent, breeding in the north-west Himalayas, the Neelum Valley and Kaz-i-nag Range in Pakistan, Kashmir, and the Pir Panjal range in India. The species migrates south to winter chiefly in the hills of central-southern Sri Lanka, and also the southern Western Ghats, particularly in the Nilgiri Hills north of the Palghat Gap, India (Zarri 2003), and also Siruvani Reserve Forest and Silent Valley National Park in the Nilgiri Biosphere reserve (Sashikumar et. al. 2011). It occurs on passage in Nepal and, as a vagrant, in Bhutan. Formerly common within its restricted breeding range, it has declined in many areas.


It breeds from May-June in temperate, mixed deciduous forests, particularly comprising hazel Corylus, walnut Albizia, cherry Prunus, willow Salix and Perrottetia species, with a dense shrubby understorey, between 1,800-2,700 m. It nests in natural hollows and holes, most commonly low down in Perrottetia trees, and also willows. It winters in gardens, tea estates, forest edge and disturbed areas within forest, generally above c.750 m. On the Nilgiri Plateau, it winters mainly in wattle (Acacia sp.) plantations (Zarri and Rahmani 2004). Most individuals leave the breeding grounds in September, arriving in Sri Lanka in October and departing again in late March. Pair-bonds appear to be maintained throughout the winter, and winter territories are occupied in successive years, suggesting strong winter site fidelity (Zarri and Rahmani 2004).


The major threat is loss and degradation of its breeding habitat as a result of commercial timber extraction, conversion of land for agriculture, livestock-grazing which has substantially altered forest understorey structure and composition, and tree-lopping for animal fodder, fuelwood and construction materials. In the Nilgiri Plateau, the low economic feasibility of existing wattle plantations has led to increased rates of clearance, bringing reductions in the area of suitable wintering habitat (Zarri and Rahmani 2004).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
CMS Appendix II. It breeds commonly in Overa Wildlife Sanctuary, Kashmir. Security problems across much of its breeding range have precluded effective conservation activities for some time. It occurs in a few protected areas in Sri Lanka.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct surveys across its breeding range to establish its current population status, although security issues may currently preclude this. Conduct detailed research into its breeding habitat requirements, particularly its tolerance of habitat degradation. Identify key breeding and wintering sites and campaign for their protection where appropriate. Provide increased support and resources for more effective protected-area management within its breeding range.


13 cm. Small flycatcher with black-bordered, orange-red throat, breast and flanks. Females and first-winter birds have dark base to bill and paler, slightly browner upperparts. Similar spp. Red-throated Flycatcher F. parva male has reddish-orange area limited to throat and top of breast and lacks black border. Voice Song is short, sweet sweet-eet sweet-eet-did-he. Calls sharp chak and rattling purr.


Text account compilers
Benstead, P., Derhé, M. & Gilroy, J.

Praveen, J.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2024) Species factsheet: Ficedula subrubra. Downloaded from on 04/03/2024.
Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2024) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 04/03/2024.