Sumatran Mesia Leiothrix laurinae


Justification of Red List Category
This newly split species is inferred to have undergone a very rapid decline across the majority of its range due to trapping for the cage bird trade. The species is now absent from sites at which it was described as being one of the most common species less than 15 years ago. Numbers observed at markets in Java appear to have decreased within the last two years despite trapping activity remaining high. For these reasons Sumatran Mesia is evaluated as Endangered.

Population justification
The global population size has not been quantified, but the species was previously described as generally common and one of the most frequently encountered birds on Gunung Kerinci (Eaton et al. 2015). None have been reported from this site since 2008, and there are very few records of the southern and central Sumatran subspecies laurinae since then throughout the range. The subspecies rookmakeri is still present in reasonable numbers in monatane forest in Aceh, but is infrequently seen and present in areas with significant trapping activity.

Trend justification
The population is suspected to be in decline due to extremely high levels of trapping to supply the domestic cage bird trade in Indonesia.

Distribution and population

This species is restricted to montane evergreen forest in Sumatra, Indonesia.


Occurs in montane forest on Sumatra, assumed to feed on arthropods and fruit mostly in the mid storey and joins mixed flocks.


The species is being trapped for the domestic cage bird trade at a rate that appears to have caused local extinctions across a large proportion of the range.

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions In PlaceRegular monitoring and assessment of price information in markets in Medan. 
Conservation Actions Rapid population survey at selected sites throughout the species range. Assessment of density at sites known to have been trapped. Enforcement of national law and prosecution of illegal trappers and sellers of birds with no clear provenance. Education and awareness of the globally-threatened nature of the species and that it is restricted to the island of Sumatra.


Text account compilers
Butchart, S. & Ekstrom, J.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2021) Species factsheet: Leiothrix laurinae. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 06/12/2021. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2021) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 06/12/2021.