Distribution, habitat, and conservation status of the near-threatened Japanese paradise-flycatcher (Terpsiphone atrocaudata periophthalmica) on lanyu, Taiwan

T. Späth, M.-L. Bai, L.L. Severinghaus, B.A. Walther

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The near-threatened Japanese Paradise-Flycatcher (Terpsiphone atrocaudata) consists of three subspecies, one of which, T. a. periophthalmica, has an important population on Lanyu, Taiwan. After briefly reviewing the species’ conservation status in its breeding range, we describe our field work in Lanyu during the breeding seasons of 2009 and 2010. We first established that the territory size of a male flycatcher is around 1.16 hectares. We then visited 224 1-hectare grid cells randomly distributed across Lanyu and established 120 presence grid cells. We then used these presence grid cells and nine environmental data layers to build an ensemble distribution model using the software Maxent. The model showed that the Japanese Paradise-Flycatcher prefers relatively wet forest habitats at elevations of 50–300 m. Using the model, we estimated that the extent of suitable habitat covered approximately 12.0 km2 (or 26%) of Lanyu’s surface area, which could hold approximately 1000 male territories. Forest cover increased between 1948 and 2006 by approximately 7.6 km2 (or 16%) of Lanyu’s surface area, which, all other things being equal, should have resulted in a population increase of around 30%. Given the absence of current threats, the Lanyu population is assumed to be relatively stable. Given this new information and our review of the species’ conservation status, we suggest that the species may be down-listed to “least concern.” However, if the distinct subspecies T. a. periophthalmica would be elevated to species status or be considered two independent conservation units (one in Lanyu and one in Batanes, Philippines), its conservation status would be much more precarious given it only occurs in five known localities (Lanyu and four islands in Batanes) of limited geographic range, and a population size of approximately 1000 males in Lanyu and an unknown population size in Batanes. Therefore, we conclude that more information is needed about (1) the species’ status in Batanes, (2) its migration and wintering grounds, and (3) the taxonomic status of the three subspecies. © 2018 by the author(s).
Original languageEnglish
JournalAvian Conservation and Ecology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Breeding population
  • Conservation status
  • Japanese Paradise-Flycatcher
  • Maxent
  • Terpsiphone atrocaudata


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