Sri Lanka Hill Myna Gracula ptilogenys


Justification of Red List category
This species has a moderately small global range, and is likely to be declining as a result of habitat loss and some level of trapping. 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 population size of this species has not been quantified, but it is described as uncommon and local.

Trend justification
Declines are thought to be occurring as a result of widespread forest destruction, although rates of decline are unlikely to be higher than moderate, as this species is tolerant of secondary and degraded habitats. The species is occasionally taken for the cagebird trade.

Distribution and population

Gracula ptilogenys is endemic to the wet zone of Sri Lanka, where it is common to very common in lowlands and hills wherever forest persists.


This species prefers natural forest and well-wooded country, although it also visits forest edges, gardens, agricultural areas, and plantations. It appears to be relatively tolerant of habitat degradation. It is rarer at elevations higher than 1,800 m (E. Goodale in litt. 2020). Being a strong flier, the species can also be observed moving between forest patches (E. Goodale in litt. 2020). It diet primarily consist of fruits and seeds (Craig and Feare 2020). Breeding seasons are between February and May, and occasionally during August and September (Craig and Feare 2020). 


Forest in Sri Lanka has suffered rapid degradation and fragmentation in the past decades through excessive gathering of fuelwood, clearance for permanent agriculture, shifting cultivation, fire, urbanisation and logging. Closed-canopy forest is estimated to have declined from 29,000 km2 (44% of the island's area) in 1956 to 12,260 km2 in 1983. It is feared that this loss will continue. Nestlings may also occasionally be taken for the cagebird trade (Craig and Feare 2020).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
None are currently known.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct repeated surveys within the range to determine population trends and rates of habitat loss. Conduct ecological studies to improve understanding of its precise habitat requirements, particularly tolerance of secondary habitats and response to fragmentation. Grant protected status to areas of forest occupied by the species.


Text account compilers
Fernando, E.

Benstead, P., Gilroy, J., Goodale, E. & Khwaja, N.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Species factsheet: Gracula ptilogenys. Downloaded from http://datazone.birdlife.org/species/factsheet/sri-lanka-hill-myna-gracula-ptilogenys on 29/09/2023. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2023) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://datazone.birdlife.org on 29/09/2023.