Justification of Red List Category
This scarce species is restricted to a highly specialised and restricted habitat, and is therefore likely to have a moderately small global population. It is also suspected to be in moderately rapid decline as a result of habitat loss and degradation. It is therefore listed as Near Threatened, and rates of population decline and habitat loss should be carefully monitored.
The population size of this species has not been quantified, but it is described as generally scarce to locally common.
Data on precise rates of decline are lacking, but continuing patterns of loss and degradation of mangrove habitats suggest that a moderately rapid decline is likely to be occurring throughout the species's range.
This species occurs in Bangladesh (probably a very local resident in the Sundarbans, common at Khulna); its presence in the Sundarbans of India has also recently been confirmed with photographic evidence (S. K. Sen in litt. 2009) and it is also present in Bhitarkanika National Park in Odisha (P. Jayadevan in litt. 2016, R. Singal in litt. 2016); it also occurs in Myanmar (scarce to locally common), peninsular Thailand (uncommon to locally common in west), Peninsular Malaysia, where it is now considered uncommon, East Malaysia (one record), Singapore, where it is rare, and Indonesia, where it ranges south from the Riau archipelago, through the eastern lowlands of Sumatra to Bangka (Choy and Wee 2010). It is restricted to coastal mangroves, suggesting that its population is likely to be moderately small. The population of the southern Myeik archipelago mangroves in southern Myanmar was recently estimated to be approximately 5,000 territories in 180,000 ha of mangroves (Zöckler 2016). This is the only area with a high density of the species in Myanmar. Similar mangrove areas further north along the coast only host numbers in double figures (C. Zöckler in litt. 2016).
This species occurs in coastal mangroves, as well as in mangrove and Nipa palm stands along tidal rivers, and freshwater swamp forest. It feeds on crustaceans, molluscs and terrestrial insects in drier mud at the bases of mangroves. Nesting has been recorded between May and June (Choy and Wee 2010).
Coastal mangrove forests are suffering severe pressure through clearance for fuelwood, charcoal production and construction materials, as well as for large-scale conversion for agricultural land (Webb et al. 2014) and the development of fish and shrimp ponds. This results in destruction and fragmentation of the mangrove habitats.
Conservation Actions Underway
The species occurs in a number of protected areas.
Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct repeated surveys across its range to determine the magnitude of declines. Campaign for the protection of remaining tracts of coastal mangrove woodland throughout its range. In Myanmar a large proportion of the population is apparently found outside protected areas, protection of the southern Myeik Archipelago is a matter of urgency (C. Zöckler in litt. 2016).
Text account compilers
Benstead, P., Gilroy, J., Khwaja, N., Taylor, J., Ashpole, J
Singal, R., Jayadevan, P., Zöckler, C., Sen, S.
BirdLife International (2019) Species factsheet: Pitta megarhyncha. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 16/09/2019. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2019) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 16/09/2019.