Justification of Red List Category
This newly-lumped pheasant is suspected to be undergoing moderately rapid population declines owing to habitat loss and degradation and hunting pressure. It is therefore classified as Near Threatened.
The population is estimated to number 5,000-19,999 mature individuals based on an assessment of known records, descriptions of abundance and range size. This is consistent with recorded population density estimates for congeners or close relatives with a similar body size, and the fact that only a proportion of the estimated Extent of Occurrence is likely to be occupied. This estimate is roughly equivalent to 7,500-30,000 individuals.
The main threats of hunting pressure and habitat loss from logging, agricultural encroachment and increasingly fire during droughts are suspected to be causing a moderately rapid population decline.
Lophura inornata is endemic to Sumatra, Indonesia, where the nominate is known from at least ten localities in the central and south Barisan mountain range and L. i. hoogerwerfi is found in northern Sumatra. Of the former, there are recent records from Gunung Kaba and Gunung Kerinci, both within Kerinci-Seblat National Park, where it remained relatively common during surveys in the late 1990s and early 2000s (F. Lambert in litt. 2008) and was camera trapped multiple times (31 records) in 2004-2006 (Yoan Dinata et al. 2008), and Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park (where it has also been camera trapped [N. Winarni in litt. 2004]). It was described as fairly common around Kerinci in the early 1900s. L. i. hoogerwerfi is known historically from two females (both collected) and a male (glimpsed), in the Gayo Highlands, Aceh province, within what is now the Gunung Leuser National Park. In 1979, there were several sightings of family parties in the Mamas Valley of this park and, in 1998, a female was observed above the River Jagong in the Beutong region, just north of Leuser. In 1998-1999, five individuals of each sex were recovered from a bird market in Medan, northern Sumatra. All are said to have originated from Gunung Leuser National Park, Aceh province. A female was observed on a nest with eggs in the Batang Toru Forest in October 2008 (Peters et al. in prep.). In July 2010, a family group (at least a pair and one chick) were reported from the Toba Highlands, North Sumatra province (M. Iqbal in litt. 2010) and in July 2010, a pair were found for sale in Tele (north of Toba Lake), North Sumatra. The species was reported to be common in Eucalyptus woodlands and agricultural land in the area (van Balen et al. 2011). Captive birds (of wild origin) are known from Java.
It is a resident of lower (and possibly upper) montane humid forest from c.650-2,200 m, most observations coming from c.800m and above. It appears to prefer primary, unlogged forest, but also frequents disturbed and degraded habitats in close proximity to primary forest. The observations in the Mamas Valley were of birds feeding on sparsely vegetated, open forest floor on relatively dry mountain slopes, at 1,200-2,000 m. The possible sighting in the Toba Highlands was described as being in a timber plantation planted with eucalyptus species at c.1,500 m, and it has reportedly been trapped at the edge of forest in this region, suggesting some tolerance of habitat modification (M. Iqbal in litt. 2010). The incubating female recorded at Batang Toru Forest in 2008 was found at 1,021 m (Peters et al. in prep.).
Much of the forest within the lower part of the species's altitudinal range around Kerinci has already been cleared for shifting cultivation, and is vulnerable to further illegal agricultural encroachment and increasingly frequent drought fires. The range is becoming increasingly fragmented, a trend which is likely to continue (Brickle 2005). Hunting pressure is thought to have caused declines in parts of the species's range, but it still occurs close to heavily settled areas, and thus appears to be resilient to a degree of trapping (F. Lambert in litt. 2008). The species was recorded in a bird market in Medan, North Sumatra, for the first time in 1999 (Shepherd et al. 2004), and subsequently in following years, with a total of 20 individuals observed (Shepherd 2006, Shepherd and Nijman 2009). When questioned, traders in Medan claimed that the birds were taken from Gunung Leuser National Park via illegal logging roads (C. Shepherd in litt. 2012). In addition, the trapping of Lophura pheasants by the use of snares has been recorded in the Toba Highlands (M. Iqbal in litt. 2010).
Conservation Actions Underway
The species is known to occur in at least three protected areas, the large Kerinci-Seblat National Park, Bukit Barisan Selatan (N. Winarni in litt. 2004) and Gunung Leuser National Park, which covers 9,460 km2 from sea-level to almost 3,500 m. It also occurs in two other areas currently designated as protection forest, but proposed for upgrading to wildlife reserves, Gunung Singgalang and Bukit Dingin/Gunung Dempu.
46-55 cm. Short-tailed pheasant. Male uniform, dark bluish-black with some indistinct pale bluish fringing to upperparts, bare red facial skin and pale grey legs. Female rufous-brown with distinct paler shaft streaks and irregular blotching, particularly on underparts, dark tail and pale grey legs. Females of the subspecies 'hoogerwerfi' are darker and generally more uniform, lacking the pale shaft streaks underneath, while males appear indistinguishable. Similar spp. Female Crested Fireback L. ignita has crest, longer tail and white scaling on underparts. Female Crestless Fireback L. erythrophthalma lacks blue fringing to upperparts. Voice A series of clucking calls.
Text account compilers
Benstead, P., Bird, J., Davidson, P., Keane, A., Taylor, J., Martin, R & Symes, A.
Brickle, N., Randi, E., Winarni, N., Iqbal, M., Dinata, Y., Lambert, F. & Corder, J.
BirdLife International (2020) Species factsheet: Lophura inornata. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 11/08/2020. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2020) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 11/08/2020.