Sunda Laughingthrush Garrulax palliatus


Justification of Red List Category
The species is becoming increasingly targeted by the Asian Songbird Trade, especially on Sumatra, where population declines are accelerating. However, with the data currently available, the rate of decline is difficult to determine. As considerable numbers of individuals may persist in the less accessible parts of northern Sumatra and on Borneo, the species is therefore tentatively classified as Near Threatened.

Population justification
The global population size has not been quantified, but the species is described as fairly common (del Hoyo et al. 2007), though increasingly rare especially on Sumatra (Eaton et al. 2016).

Trend justification
The population is suspected to be in decline owing to high levels of trapping for the Asian songbird trade. Particularly the Sumatran subspecies G. p. palliatus is targeted for trapping. However, with currently available data the rate of decline is very difficult to determine, but is precautionarily suspected here to approach 30% over three generations (c.16 years).

Distribution and population

This species consists of two subspecies. G. p. palliatus occurs on the island of Sumatra (Indonesia), while G. p. schistochlamys occurs on Borneo (Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei).


The species occupies montane broadleaf evergreen forest. It strongly prefers primary forest, but occasionally ventures into secondary growth. The Sumatran subspecies occurs at 850-2200 m and the Bornean subspecies at 300-2010 m.


The species's strict preference for primary forest makes it susceptible to forest clearance. However, rates of forest loss within its range are fairly low (5% over three generations (14 years) per Tracewski et al. 2016) and rather negligible.
The Asian songbird trade poses the main threat to the species. Numbers being traded have increased dramatically in recent years, seemingly in line with the decrease in availability of Sumatran Laughingthrush G. bicolor (Shepherd et al 2016). Very few individuals observed in trade were of the Bornean subspecies G. p. schistochlamys; thus, this subspecies is unlikely to be significantly impacted by trapping in the short-term. However, the Sumatran subspecies are likely to be suffering a considerable decline as a result of trapping.

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
The species occurs in several protected areas across its range, including the Mount Kinabalu and Kayan Mentarang National Park in Borneo and the Gunung Leuser National Park in Sumatra.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Determine population size and status. Monitor the species's presence in the Songbird Trade. Increase the protection of the species. Raise awareness and establish environmental education programmes.


24-25 cm. Medium-sized laughingthrush with slate grey head, mantle and breast; chestnut-brown wings and belly; tail dark brown and blackish towards the tip.


Text account compilers
Hermes, C., Butchart, S., Ekstrom, J., Martin, R.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Species factsheet: Garrulax palliatus. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 01/10/2022. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2022) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 01/10/2022.