Tablas Fantail Rhipidura sauli


Justification of Red List Category
This species is evaluated as Vulnerable due to its suspected small population size which is inferred to be declining due to the ongoing degradation and loss of forest habitat on the island.

Population justification
The population is suspected to fall in the band 2,500-9,999 mature individuals, based on the suitable area of habitat remaining on Tablas and reported density estimates of congeneric species.

Trend justification
The population is suspected to declining at a slow rate due to ongoing habitat conversion.

Distribution and population

Tablas Fantail is restricted to the island of Tablas, in the west central Philippines. Within the island the species is apparently restricted to the Balogo watershed and other mature forest on the island as it is not found in plantation forests (D. Allen in itt. 2016),


Less tolerant of habitat conversion than closely related species, R. sauli occurs in mature and semi-mature lowland forest (D. Allen in litt. 2016).


Evidence suggests that extensive forest clearance has taken place on Tablas since the beginning of the 20th century, with a substantial proportion of the island now used for cultivation and livestock-rearing (del Hoyo et al. 2009). Rice fields are common in lowland areas, while rough pasture and coconut plantations are found in the hills. A few forests remain, mainly in the north of the island, with the largest areas around and between Mt Palaupau and Mt Progreso. Remnants of original forest over 10 m tall are present only around the summit and south-eastern slopes of Mt Palaupau, where forest is maintained as a watershed for nearby settlements (del Hoyo et al. 2009). There are reportedly very few registered forest patches that exceed 100 ha, and apparently a complete lack of mature forest in the south of the island (Allen 2006, del Hoyo et al. 2009). Small-scale logging is reported to still be a threat (del Hoyo et al. 2009), implying that suitable habitat continues to be lost, but the rate of loss is probably no longer rapid (D. Allen in litt. 2011). Roughly 4% of tree cover appears to have been lost within the last 15 years (Hansen et al. 2013).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
Forest on Mt Palaupau is protected as a watershed (del Hoyo et al. 2009). No other targeted actions are known for this species.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Carry out surveys to assess the population size. Study the species's ecology and life history. Monitor population trends. Monitor the extent and condition of suitable habitat. Increase the area of remaining forest that is afforded protection. Assess the feasibility and effectiveness of forest restoration, especially in the south of the island. Initiate education and awareness campaigns to raise the species's profile and instil pride in local people.


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

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Species factsheet: Rhipidura sauli. Downloaded from on 01/12/2022. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2022) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 01/12/2022.