Philippine Spinetail Mearnsia picina


Justification of Red List category
This species is considered Near Threatened, as it is thought to have a small or moderately small population, which is inferred to be in decline owing to habitat loss, with the rate of population decline suspected to be moderately rapid. Further studies are urgently required to clarify the magnitude of the decline.

Population justification
The global population size has not been quantified, but the species is described as uncommon throughout its range (del Hoyo et al. 1999).

Trend justification
Data on population trends are lacking for this poorly known species, but a moderately rapid decline is suspected to be occurring, owing to the rapid destruction of lowland forest habitats within the range.

Distribution and population

Mearnsia picina is endemic to the Philippines where it has been described as fairly common on Mindanao, Samar, Leyte, Biliran, Cebu and Negros, with a recent record from Tawitawi, but it appears to be scarce and local even at the best sites (Collar et al. 1999).


This species is apparently restricted to lowland forest, although little is known of its breeding habits or life history. It feeds high above forest, either alone or in small groups.


The close association with lowland forests suggests that this species may be highly susceptible to habitat loss through commercial logging, conversion for agriculture and plantation forestry, as well as urban developments and mining.

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
No targeted conservation actions are known for this species.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct ecological studies to improve understanding of this species's breeding ecology and habitat requirements. Conduct surveys across its range to estimate population size and locate important breeding sites. Once identified, monitor populations at breeding sites in order to determine population trends. Protect areas of suitable habitat.


Text account compilers
Taylor, J., Gilroy, J., Benstead, P., Westrip, J.

Hutchinson, R.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Species factsheet: Mearnsia picina. Downloaded from http://datazone.birdlife.org/species/factsheet/philippine-spinetail-mearnsia-picina on 29/11/2023.
Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2023) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://datazone.birdlife.org on 29/11/2023.