Nonggang Babbler Stachyris nonggangensis


Justification of Red List Category
This recently described species is listed as Vulnerable on the basis that improved knowledge suggests that it has a small population, which is suspected to be in decline owing to on-going habitat degradation. Further improvements in knowledge could result in it qualifying as Endangered.

Population justification
Surveys conducted since 2008 have resulted in an estimate of 1,000-2,000 mature individuals, all in one subpopulation (Zhou Fang et al. in litt. 2010). Surveys have focussed on reserves, with the species recorded in Nonggang, Bangliang, Chunxiu, Qinglongshan, and Xialei (Li et al. 2013, Yu et al. 2014, Zhou Fang in litt. 2016). Li et al. (2013) suggest the number of individuals may be >2,000 in Nonggang, Bangliang, Chunxiu and Trung Khanh (Vietnam [which was not surveyed as part of this study]), although they do also suggest the global population may be as low as 1,500 individuals. However, there does still remain suitable habitat to survey - particularly in Vietnam - and while reserves may provide the most appropriate habitat, the species may also occur outside of these. Additionally the lack of sightings of this species at certain reserves does not mean it does not occur there, as Li et al. (2013) did not find the species at Qinglongshan, when Yu et al. (2014) did. Therefore, the population size is tentatively retained within the range of 2,500-9,999 mature individuals; although this may be revised downwards with further information, particularly from Vietnam.

Trend justification
Population trends have not been quantified; however, given that its habitat is selectively logged, the species is suspected to be in decline owing to on-going habitat degradation.

Distribution and population

Stachyris nonggangensis was described in 2008 from the Nonggang Natural Reserve, China (Zhou and Jiang 2008, Jiang 2009). It appears to occupy a limited distribution in the Sino-Vietnamese border region in southwest Guangxi, China, and adjacent Vietnam (Zhou and Jiang 2008, Li et al. 2013, Jiang Aiwu in litt. 2011), although its presence in Vietnam is yet to be confirmed. Suitable habitat may extend into Yunnan Province (Zhou and Jiang 2008), although surveys failed to find it in two reserves there (Li et al. 2013).


This species occupies limestone karst seasonal rainforest. Extensive observational and netting surveys in forest in the non-limestone mountains of the Sino-Vietnamese border areas of south Guangxi since 2004 failed to record the species, indicating that it has very specific habitat requirements. It nests in cavities in a limestone cliff or on a massif rock located on the mountainside, with nests made up of aerial roots, leaves, twigs, and soft grasses (Jiang et al. 2013). Individuals have been seen foraging in gaps between two rocks by turning over fallen leaves, apparently preying on insects and other arthropods. Single-species flocks have been observed in winter (Zhou and Jiang 2008).


Its habitat has been fragmented by agricultural expansion and road-building (Jiang Aiwu in litt. 2011), and is subject to on-going selective logging, driven at least partly by charcoal production (Li et al. 2013, Zhou and Jiang 2008, Jiang Aiwu in litt. 2011).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
The species is present in Nonggang National Nature Reserve, Bangliang Nature Reserve, Chunxiu Nature Reserve, Qinglongshan Nature Reserve (Zhou and Jiang 2008, Li et al. 2013, Yu et al. 2014), and Xialei Nature Reserve (Zhou Fang in litt. 2016).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Establish a monitoring programme to assess population trends. Monitor rates of habitat fragmentation and degradation within the species's range. Study the ecology of the species, particularly its ability to persist in other habitats. Identify, assess and mitigate threats. Ensure that existing protected areas within its range are effectively managed. Increase the area of suitable habitat that is protected. 


16-17 cm. Dark brown babbler with heavy, dark bill, checkered white throat and whitish crescent shapes behind ear coverts.


Text account compilers
Westrip, J., Calvert, R., Symes, A., Taylor, J.

Zhou, F., Jiang, A., Yu, L.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2019) Species factsheet: Stachyris nonggangensis. Downloaded from on 20/06/2019. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2019) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 20/06/2019.