White-rumped Pygmy-falcon Neohierax insignis


Justification of Red List category
This species is likely to have a moderately small population, which is thought to be declining owing to hunting and habitat loss. It is consequently classified as Near Threatened. However its abundance is pooly known and survey work is required to determine levels of occupancy over much of its range.

Population justification
The global population size has not been quantified, but the species is described as uncommon and local and is thus assumed to have a moderately small population. On this basis, the population is placed in the band 10,000-19,999 mature individuals, pending further study. This equates to 15,000-29,999 individuals in total, rounded here to 15,000-30,000 individuals.

Trend justification
There are no quantitative data on population trends, but the species is probably declining at a slow to moderate rate, owing to rates of habitat loss and levels of hunting.

Distribution and population

Polihierax insignis occurs in Myanmar (previously widespread and locally abundant; it now appears scarce or uncommon, although the large quantity of suitable habitat remaining suggests that healthy populations may survive), Thailand (distributed through north, north-east and western provinces south to Ratchaburi, once widespread and fairly common but now scarce throughout after an apparent decline due to clearance of open deciduous forest habitat), Laos (historically very common and locally widespread in the south, but now apparently local and scarce), Cambodia (fairly widespread, chiefly in north, with large areas of suitable habitat remaining) and Vietnam (previously very common locally in south, now scarce; only present in any numbers in Dak Lak province) (BirdLife International 2001). Populations in Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia are potentially large, but few data are available due to a lack of fieldwork in suitable habitat.


It is resident in wooded grasslands and open forest, chiefly deciduous dipterocarp and mixed deciduous forest of the plains and foothills up to 915 m, where it uses holes in trees for nesting and roosting.


Although dry dipterocarp forest has generally suffered less degradation than evergreen forest in many areas, it is increasingly cleared and disturbed, through wood collection and burning. Given the high levels of hunting in much of its range, and the ease with which this species is shot, persecution presumably poses an additional threat.

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix II.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Survey to assess the size of the population. Conduct searches in suitable habitat to investigate the assumption that significant populations are undiscovered. Regularly monitor the population at selected sites across its range. Determine the level of hunting of this species and its affects on population levels. Conduct local education programmes to discourage hunting. Protect large areas of dry dipterocarp forest where it is known and suspected to occur.


Text account compilers
Mahood, S., Benstead, P., Taylor, J., Westrip, J.

Eaton, J.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Species factsheet: Neohierax insignis. Downloaded from http://datazone.birdlife.org/species/factsheet/white-rumped-pygmy-falcon-neohierax-insignis 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.