Naung Mung Wren-babbler Napothera naungmungensis


Justification of Red List Category
This species is thought to have a small, restricted population. However, the population size is uncertain due to a lack of any estimate of density or extent of confirmed occurrence, and if the reported extension of the range into China is confirmed then the population size could be larger than previously thought. In addition, threats to the species appear minimal at present, based on remotely-sensed rates of forest cover loss, hence the population is suspected to be stable. On the basis that the population may still be very small, and is very uncertain, it is assessed here as Near Threatened. An improved population estimate is needed. If there is reason to suspect the population exceeds 1,000 mature individuals, and the assumption of a stable population is reasonable, then the species may warrant downlisting in the future.

Population justification
The species is thought to be largely restricted to the Naung Mung area, but recently it has been reported from Dehong, in Yunnan (China) (Liu & Chen 2021 per D. L. Yong in litt. 2021). Consequently the population size is even less certain than previously, when the very small and patchy occurrence indicated that it was likely to be very small. It remains possible that there are fewer than 1,000 mature individuals, given the patchiness but it is now more plausible that the population is considerably larger. Given the level of uncertainty over population size, it is best placed in a wide range, and is here considered only that it is most likely to fall between 500-2,500 mature individuals. Further area-based sampling in different areas in the range is needed to refine the population estimate.

Trend justification
Forest loss was previously thought to be significant in this region, but recent remote-sensing forest cover loss estimates indicate there has been less than 1% lost over the past 10 years (Tracewski et al. 2016, Global Forest Watch 2020). No other threats are known: it is not believed to be trapped. The highly restricted range may expose it to impacts of climate change, though these have not been evaluated for the species as yet. In the absence of any clear threats the species's population trend is considered most likely to be stable.

Distribution and population

Rimator naungmungensis has been described from the Naung Mung area of Kachin State, northern Myanmar (Rappole et al. 2005). Recently it has also been reported to occur in western Yunnan, China, with an apparent documented record (Liu & Chen 2021). It is very localised in occurrence and absent from areas of apparently suitable habitat (R. Craik in litt. 2011, S. Mahood in litt. 2011).


The original specimens for this species were collected in primary forest with little human disturbance, and the species appears to favour the understorey of sub-montane rainforest (Rappole et al. 2005).


This species was previously thought to be threatened by deforestation and forest degradation, particularly in areas where it occurs at lower elevations. However, recent forest loss is negligible within the species's range (Tracewski et al. 2016, Global Forest Watch 2020). 

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
There are currently no targeted conservation actions towards this species. 

Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct repeated surveys within the species's range to determine its current distribution and abundance, as well as assess population trends. Monitor rates of habitat loss. Conduct ecological studies to improve understanding of its precise habitat requirements, tolerance of secondary habitats and response to fragmentation. Increase the area of suitable habitat that has protected status.


19.5 cm. Robust, short-tailed babbler with narrow, slightly downcurved bill. Dark brown above with light shaft-streaks, whitish below with double dark brown moustachial/malar stripe. Rufescent breast with smudgy dark brown streaks and pale rufous neck-patch. Voice Sings with series of clear, monotone whistles. Harsh chrrr-chrrr-chrrr when alarmed.


Text account compilers
Fernando, E., Hermes, C., Wheatley, H., Martin, R.

Benstead, P., Duckworth, W., Eames, J.C., Gilroy, J., Mahood, S., Pilgrim, J., Shwe, N., Symes, A. & Taylor, J.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Species factsheet: Napothera naungmungensis. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 07/10/2022. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2022) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 07/10/2022.