Malay Crestless Fireback Lophura erythrophthalma


Taxonomic note

Lophura erythrophthalma and L. pyronota (del Hoyo and Collar 2014) were previously lumped as L. erythrophthalma following Sibley and Monroe (1990, 1993).

Taxonomic source(s)
del Hoyo, J., Collar, N.J., Christie, D.A., Elliott, A. and Fishpool, L.D.C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Volume 1: Non-passerines. Lynx Edicions BirdLife International, Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge, UK.

IUCN Red List criteria met and history
Red List criteria met
Critically Endangered Endangered Vulnerable
A2cd+3cd+4cd A2cd+3cd+4cd A2cd+3cd+4cd

Red List history
Year Category Criteria
2022 Critically Endangered A2cd+3cd+4cd
2016 Vulnerable A2cd+3cd+4cd
2014 Vulnerable A2cd+3cd+4cd
Species attributes

Migratory status not a migrant Forest dependency high
Land-mass type Average mass -

Estimate Data quality
Extent of Occurrence (breeding/resident) 82,000 km2 medium
Severely fragmented? no -
Estimate Data quality Derivation Year of estimate
Population size unknown poor - -
Population trend decreasing poor inferred 2012-2033
Rate of change over the past 10 years/3 generations (longer of the two periods) 60-90,80-90% - - -
Rate of change over the future 10 years/3 generations (longer of the two periods) 60-90,80-90% - - -
Rate of change over the past & future 10 years/3 generations (longer of the two periods) 60-90,80-90% - - -
Generation length 6.86 years - - -
Number of subpopulations 5-20 - - -
Percentage of mature individuals in largest subpopulation 1-89% - - -

Population justification: In 2000, the population was suspected to fall into the band 10,000-19,999 mature individuals, however the species is suspected to have undergone a catastrophic decline since this time due to habitat loss and hunting (the latter unquantifiable), such that although the population size is now thought to be potentially much lower; there is no robust estimate that can be made. Historically, the species occurred (locally) at reasonably high density (6 birds/km2 [Johnsgard 1999]) but it is unclear whether current pressures of hunting and fragmentation allow such densities to persist anywhere, and a recent camera trapping exercise in Peninsular Malaysia lasting three months (August-October 2019) in habitat that is ostensibly ideal for the species recorded it only four times across 12 locations (totalling an equivalent of 542 days of survey effort) (Hamirul et al. 2021). Establishing a robust population estimate for this species should be considered a priority, as well as determining which forest patches it unequivocally still occurs in.

Trend justification: The species is dependent on plains-level forest cover (either primary forest or mature secondary); consequently the population impact of forest cover loss is expected to be equal to or greater than the rate of loss. Losses over the past three-generations (20.6 years; Bird et al. 2020) of flat, low-lying (<200 m) forest in this species' range are estimated at 65-68% (Global Forest Watch [2021], based on Hansen et al. [2013] and methods disclosed therein). Fragmentation and collinear impacts of hunting (Symes et al. 2018, Savini et al. 2021) are believed to have additive impacts. The average forest patch size in this species' range fell from 2,250 km2 to 221 km2 between 2000 and 2018, while the number of patches rose from 105 to 345 (Savini et al. 2021). Accumulating these threats, the overall rate in population reduction has likely exceeded 80% over the past three generations. This is supported by the fact that of c.22 sites in Peninsular Malaysia identified as having records since 1980 (BirdLife International 2001), only c.6 still have an extent of suitable habitat for the species (and at some of these there are no recent records), with many sites having been lost to plantations and housing (eBird 2021, J. Eaton in litt. 2022, G. Davison in litt. 2022). These rates of reduction are suspected to continue over the next three generations with few remaining areas of habitat being afforded adequate protections from forest loss and/or hunting. It is notable that hunting is suspected to have caused the loss of birds within Taman Negara National Park (J. Eaton in litt. 2022) which is nominally among the best-protected of sites in this species’ range. Almost all suitable habitat on Sumatra (where it was seemingly always rare [van Marle & Voous 1988, BirdLife International 2001], notwithstanding its low detectability) has been cleared and remaining areas of forest continue to be encroached upon from all sides.

Country/territory distribution
Country/Territory Presence Origin Resident Breeding visitor Non-breeding visitor Passage migrant
Indonesia extant native yes
Malaysia extant native yes
Singapore extinct native yes

Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBA)
Country/Territory IBA Name
Indonesia Bukit Tigapuluh
Malaysia Krau Wildlife Reserve
Malaysia Panti forest
Malaysia Taman Negara National Park
Indonesia Bukit Bahar - Tajau Pecah
Indonesia Tesso Nilo
Indonesia Meranti
Malaysia Endau-Rompin
Malaysia Selangor Heritage Park

Habitats & altitude
Habitat (level 1) Habitat (level 2) Importance Occurrence
Forest Subtropical/Tropical Moist Lowland major resident
Altitude 0 - 300 m Occasional altitudinal limits  

Threats & impact
Threat (level 1) Threat (level 2) Impact and Stresses
Agriculture & aquaculture Annual & perennial non-timber crops - Agro-industry farming Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Majority (50-90%) Very Rapid Declines High Impact: 8
Ecosystem degradation, Ecosystem conversion
Biological resource use Hunting & trapping terrestrial animals - Intentional use (species is the target) Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Majority (50-90%) Rapid Declines Medium Impact: 7
Species disturbance, Species mortality
Biological resource use Logging & wood harvesting - Unintentional effects: (large scale) [harvest] Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Majority (50-90%) Very Rapid Declines High Impact: 8
Ecosystem degradation, Ecosystem conversion
Residential & commercial development Housing & urban areas Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Rapid Declines Medium Impact: 6
Species disturbance, Ecosystem degradation, Ecosystem conversion

Purpose Primary form used Life stage used Source Scale Level Timing
Food - human - - non-trivial recent

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Species factsheet: Lophura erythrophthalma. Downloaded from on 03/12/2023.
Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2023) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 03/12/2023.