Overview

Brief Summary

Biology

The Siamese fireback is thought to be omnivorous, feeding on an array of fallen fruits and berries, as well as insects, worms and small land-crabs (4). Little information is available on the breeding behaviour of this shy bird in the wild, other than that eggs have been collected between mid-April and late June, and that one nest was situated on the ground in a hollow at the base of a tree. Clutches seem to contain between four and eight eggs, and are incubated for 24 to 25 days in captivity (4). Males attain adult plumage in their first year but do not typically breed until their third (3). Like other Lophura pheasants, males of this species perform courtship displays in which they whistle and whirr their wings (2).
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Description

The striking male Siamese fireback is most notable for its unusually long crest of purple-black feathers, which reaches up to 9 cm in length and becomes erect when the bird is excited (2) (3). The breast, neck and upper back are mostly grey with very fine vermiculations, and the belly and head are black with the head decorated with large scarlet-red facial wattles (2) (3). The name 'fireback' refers to the yellow plumage in the middle of the back, a feature shared with other firebacks (3). However, this species can be distinguished by its characteristic pattern of metallic blue with coppery-crimson fringes on the lower back, together with its red legs and long, curved tail, which is black with a metallic blue-green sheen (3) (4). The female is also quite distinct from other Lophura hens, most noticeably in having black upper wing and central tail feathers, boldly barred with buffy-white (4). The plumage is otherwise mostly bright chestnut-red and the head is greyish-brown with smaller red facial wattles than the male and no visible crest (2) (3).
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Distribution

Range Description

Lophura diardi is found in Thailand (uncommon to locally common resident, principally in the north-east and south-east, c.5,000 individuals estimated), Laos (widespread and locally abundant, but heavily snared), Cambodia (locally common and widespread) and Vietnam (locally common and widespread in central and southern regions). Its total population size has not been recently estimated, although the population in Cambodia may be conservatively estimated at c.2,000 individuals (F. Goes in litt. 2011). The species is suspected to be undergoing a slow to moderate decline owing to continued habitat loss and hunting pressure.
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Range

Lowlands of e Myanmar, Thailand and Indochina.

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Range

Found in Southeast Asia, from east Myanmar, through north, central and east Thailand, central and south Laos, north and central Cambodia to central Vietnam (4).
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
It occurs in evergreen, semi-evergreen and bamboo forest, secondary growth and scrub, often near roads and tracks through the forest, chiefly in the plains and foothills to 500 m, but occasionally up to 800 m, and perhaps 1,150 m. It seems able to tolerate considerable degradation of its forest habitat. The species occurs in small groups which are presumed to be family parties.


Systems
  • Terrestrial
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A lowland resident of evergreen, semi-evergreen and bamboo forest, second-growth and scrub, often seen near open patches such as roads and tracks through the forest. Chiefly found below 500 m above sea level, but occasionally up to 800 m, and perhaps even 1,150 m (4) (5). The Siamese fireback appears to tolerate some degradation of its forest habitat, such as moderate logging and cultivated fields in small clearings (5) (6).
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2012

Assessor/s
BirdLife International

Reviewer/s
Butchart, S. & Symes, A.

Contributor/s
McGowan, P., Pilgrim, J., Praditsup, N., Round, P., Eames, J.C., Samnang, C., Mahood, S. & Goes, F.

Justification
This species is listed as Least Concern as it is more resilient to the threats of habitat alteration and hunting pressure than once thought, thus the rate of population decline is not suspected to be as rapid as was indicated. As habitat loss and hunting are ongoing threats, the population is suspected to be undergoing a slow to moderate decline; however, this is not thought to approach the threshold for Vulnerable. The species is not thought to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under any of the other criteria.

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Status

Classified as Near Threatened (NT) on the IUCN Red List 2006 (1).
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Population

Population
The total population is suspected to number 20,000-49,999 individuals based on a conservative estimate of c.2,000 individuals in Cambodia (F. Goes in litt. 2011) and an estimate of c.5,000 individuals in Thailand.

Population Trend
Decreasing
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Threats

Major Threats
This species is threatened by continuing extensive lowland forest destruction within its range and, perhaps more severely, by hunting and snaring. However, recent evidence suggests that the species may be able to tolerate a higher level of hunting pressure than was previously thought (P. Round in litt. 2006). In Cambodia, the species is still targeted by hunters for food and trade (Samnang Chhum in litt. 2010). Hunting occurs in some protected areas, such as Cat Tien National Park, Vietnam, where hunting pressure with snares is high (S. Mahood in litt. 2011). Evidence suggests that, when caught, this species is commonly consumed by hunters as subsistence during searches for higher value species, although the comparatively rapid local extinction of high value species typically results in the departure of hunters before local populations of L. diardi are decimated, allowing the species to recover (S. Mahood in litt. 2011). Observations from Laos also indicate that the species persists in areas of high hunting pressure, from which other species are lost (W. Duckworth in litt. 2011). Its apparent resilience to hunting pressure may be due to some aspect of the species's behaviour or morphology (J. Pilgrim in litt. 2011). It also persists in degraded and secondary habitat, such as logged forest and areas affected by mining operations (W. Duckworth in litt. 2011), suggesting a high tolerance to habitat alteration and disturbance. In Laos, forest is being lost through conversion to plantations of Eucalyptus, Acacia, rubber, fruiting trees and cassava, for example, and it is unknown whether the species is able to survive in such areas (W. Duckworth in litt. 2011). It is thought to be declining in Cambodia, given current rates of forest loss, and although the majority of the population occurs in protected areas it may still be affected by illegal logging (F. Goes in litt. 2011).
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The Siamese fireback is threatened by habitat loss and overexploitation for food and sport (4). Although this pheasant seems to tolerate considerable degradation of its forest habitat, extensive lowland forest destruction within its range is a concern for this lowland specialist (4) (5). Numbers have greatly declined during the past half century and its range has contracted, partly due to habitat changes, but probably more markedly due to excessive hunting and snaring (5) (6).
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
Conservation Actions Underway
The species occurs in a number of protected areas, however they often provide only limited protection against hunting and logging activities (S. Mahood in litt. 2011, F. Goes in litt. 2011).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Increase the existing protected area network. Support governments in their efforts to control illegal logging in South-East Asia. Determine the current global population size and trend. Support efforts to tackle the issue of hunting inside protected areas.

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Conservation

The Siamese fireback is currently known to occur in just two protected areas, Nam Bai Cat Tien National Park in Vietnam and Xe Pian National Protected Area in Laos (4).
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Wikipedia

Siamese Fireback

The Siamese fireback (Lophura diardi) also known as Diard's fireback is a fairly large, approximately 80 cm long, pheasant. The male has a grey plumage with an extensive red facial skin, crimson legs and feet, ornamental black crest feathers, reddish brown iris and long curved blackish tail. The female is a brown bird with blackish wing and tail feathers.

Head

The Siamese fireback is distributed to the lowland and evergreen forests of Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam in Southeast Asia. This species is also designated as the national bird of Thailand. The female usually lays between four to eight rosy eggs.

The scientific name commemorates the French naturalist Pierre-Médard Diard.

Status[edit]

Due to habitat loss and over-hunting in some areas, the Siamese fireback was evaluated as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List, however, it is now Least Concern, because the populations declines were probably overestimated.[1]

Gallery[edit]

References[edit]

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