Sooty Babbler Stachyris herberti


Justification of Red List Category
This species is listed Least Concern as it is more widespread than once thought, and because the forests it inhabits are naturally protected by the inaccessible nature of the karst formations on which they are located.

Population justification
The global population size has not been quantified, but the species is described as locally common (del Hoyo et al. 2007).

Trend justification
Slight declines are suspected to have occurred as a result of deforestation occurring within lower parts of the elevational range of this species.

Distribution and population

Stachyris herberti was historically known from only two lowland localities in central Laos, where it was collected in 1920. However, in 1994 it was found to be not uncommon in primary forest at a single locality in central Annam, Vietnam. Recent observations suggest that it is locally common in central Laos over a fairly wide area (del Hoyo et al. 2007).


This species frequents stunted evergreen forest in limestone gullies, steep cliffs and adjacent rock, at 230-610 m, foraging in small groups for small invertebrates (del Hoyo et al. 2007).


This species is presumably threatened by lowland deforestation, although this is proceeding at an extremely slow rate in the inaccessible karstic regions it occupies. Deforestation is occurring in the lower parts of karst areas, and these forests could be an important habitat component for this species. However, the majority of its habitat is protected because the karst hills on which it grows are difficult to penetrate (del Hoyo et al. 2007).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
This species occurs in a few protected areas: Hin Nam No, Khammouane Limestone and Nam Kading National Biodiversity Conservation Areas, Laos and Phong Nha Nature Reserve, Vietnam.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct repeated surveys within the range to determine current distribution and abundance, and assess population trends and rates of habitat loss. Conduct ecological studies to improve understanding of its precise habitat requirements, particularly the importance of forests in lower karst areas, where deforestation is proceeding more rapidly. Effectively protect significant areas of suitable forest (particularly in lower parts of karst areas) at key sites, in both strictly protected areas and community led multiple use areas.


Text account compilers
Mahood, S., Calvert, R., Benstead, P., Gilroy, J.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Species factsheet: Stachyris herberti. Downloaded from on 01/07/2022. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2022) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 01/07/2022.