Palani Laughingthrush Trochalopteron fairbanki


Justification of Red List Category
This species has a very small global range, and is likely to be declining as a result of habitat loss. However, it is able to persist in some degraded habitats, suggesting that it may not be at imminent risk, but the situation requires careful monitoring. It is currently considered Near Threatened.

Population justification
The global population size has not been directly quantified, but the species is described as locally fairly common (del Hoyo et al. 2007), and based on known records and range size the population size of T. fairbanki likely exceeds 10,000 mature individuals.

Trend justification
Declines are suspected to be occurring as a result of habitat loss and degradation occurring in parts of the range (Praveen J. in litt. 2010), although it does appear to be able to tolerate some habitat loss (del Hoyo et al. 2007).

Distribution and population

Trochalopteron fairbanki is found only found in the Western Ghats, India, south of the Palakkad gap until the Shenogottah (=Achenkovil) gap (see Praveen J. and Nameer 2012). 


Behaviour This species breeds between December and June. Nest building, incubation and nestling feeding is conducted by both sexes, with a clutch of two eggs. It forages in parties of 6 to 14 individuals (sometimes in groups of up to 30) in undergrowth and in low bushes, occasionally descending to the ground to search among leaf litter. Habitat It can be found in thickets lining streams through tea and cardamom plantations, scrub and secondary forest, occasionally in gardens, and on the edges of broadleaf evergreen forests. Its range apparently coincides with the occurence of wild raspberry. Diet It feeds on insects, berries and fruit, including brambles (Rubus), Maesa, Luvunga, and Trema (del Hoyo et al. 2007).


An increasing human population has led to growing illegal encroachment into Western Ghat forests. Livestock grazing, together with the harvesting of fuelwood and huge quantities of forest products such as bamboo and canes, are likely to have a negative effect on this species. Furthermore, hydroelectric power development and road-building are causing reductions in forest cover in some areas (del Hoyo et al. 2007). These factors require monitoring as, left uncontrolled, they will threaten the area's endemic avifauna. Having a montane distribution that is close to the maximum altitude within its range, this species is potentially susceptible to climate change (Praveen J. in litt. 2010).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
None is known.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct ecological studies to determine the precise habitat requirements of this species, as well as its response to disturbance and fragmentation. Regularly monitor populations at selected sites and develop a database of information for formulating conservation management strategies for different areas. Protect areas of suitable habitat.



Text account compilers
Benstead, P., Calvert, R., Gilroy, J., Taylor, J. & Westrip, J.

Praveen, J.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2019) Species factsheet: Trochalopteron fairbanki. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 09/12/2019. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2019) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 09/12/2019.