Justification of Red List Category
This scarce species has a moderately small range and narrow habitat requirements, and is therefore likely to have a small global population size. It is suspected to be declining as a result of habitat change, and is therefore considered Near Threatened.
The global population size has not been quantified, but the species is reported to be rather scarce (Baker 1997).
A slow and on-going population decline is suspected to be occurring as a result of habitat degradation and loss through agricultural change.
This species occurs in the western Himalayas, in Xinjiang, western China (very rare, occurring in the Kunlun Mountains of Xinjiang and west Tibet), northern Pakistan (few recent records and distribution imperfectly known) and north-west India (fairly common, but extremely local). It occurs as a vagrant to the eastern Pamir mountains in Tajikistan (R. Ayé in litt. 2016). Its range is apparently contracting in Kashmir, possibly owing to changes in agricultural practices. This species is poorly known and infrequently recorded, although this is at least in part due to its highly secretive behaviour and the current inaccessibility of its range.
This species breeds from 2,400-3,600 m (probably moving downslope in winter to 1,200 m) on open slopes in terraced cultivation, low thorny scrub, rank grass and bracken, often near forest edges. In Himachal Pradesh, India it has been observed in grassy patches and apple orchards along the edge of moist temperate oak (Quercus leucotrichophora) at ~1,200 m (A. P. Singh in litt. 2016).
Agricultural expansion and overgrazing (especially by goats), as well as firewood cutting, are likely to threaten this species in many parts of the range.
Conservation Actions Underway
Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct surveys during periods of peak vocal activity in order to determine its distribution and status. Collect ecological data in order to understand its habitat requirements and identify potential threats. Protect areas of suitable habitat and safeguard against degradation. Work with pastoralists to adapt land use practices to favour the species.
Text account compilers
Gilroy, J., Khwaja, N., Benstead, P., Ashpole, J
Singh, A., Ayé, R.
BirdLife International (2022) Species factsheet: Locustella major. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 23/01/2022. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2022) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 23/01/2022.