Found only in the Da Lat plateau in Vietnam, the collared laughingthrush (Garrulax yersini) is a colourful, ground-dwelling bird. A striking species with soft, fluffy plumage, the collared laughingthrush has a black hood that contrasts sharply with silver ear patches and a predominantly orange-brown body. The fringes of the wing feathers are orange-olive, and the primary coverts are blackish (2).
Like other laughingthrushes, the collared laughinthrush is a robust, thrush-like birds of the forest floor and understory, with very strong legs and short, rounded wings (3). It spends much of its time skulking amongst dense vegetation, only betraying its presence by its loud song, which is a repeated, rising “wueeeeoo, u-weeeeoo, uuuu-weeoo” or “wiu-weeeu”, often answered with low, mewing “wiaaah, ayaaa” or “ohaaaah”. When alarmed, the collared laughinghthrush emits a subdued, harsh, slurred “grreet-grreet-grreet-grreet-grreet-grreet-grrr-rr” (2).
- Also known as
- collared laughing-thrush, Yersin's laughing thrush, Yersin's laughingthrush, Yersin's laughing-thrush.
- Length: 26 - 28 cm (2)
Collared laughingthrush biology
A rare and secretive bird, very little is known about the specific biology and behaviour of the collared laughingthrush. However, like other laughingthrushes, it is a highly social species, occurring in flocks of four to eight individuals (2). These family groups probably defend a territory year-round (3). Juveniles have been observed between April and June, suggesting that the breeding season takes place from March to May (2). The young likely remain with the family group until they are fully developed, when bands of siblings may then cooperate to form a new territory (3).
Collared laughingthrush range
Endemic to the Da Lat plateau in Vietnam, the collared laughingthrush is known from only 11 locations in the region, with the most important populations thought to be found at Mount Lang Bian, Mount Bi Doup and Chu Yang Sin Nature Reserve (2).
Collared laughingthrush habitat
The collared laughingthrush is generally found in the understory of logged and primary montane evergreen forest, secondary forest and scrub bordering forest, where it occupies dense vegetation amongst the undergrowth. It occupies a narrow altitudinal range, between 1,500 and 2,400 metres (2) (4).
Collared laughingthrush status
The collared laughingthrush is classified as Endangered (EN) on the IUCN Red List (1).
Collared laughingthrush threats
The collared laughingthrush has a very small and highly fragmented range, meaning it is extremely vulnerable to further habitat loss. Unfortunately, forest clearing and degradation continue to blight this Endangered species’ habitat, causing its population to decline at a fairly moderate rate. Logging, agriculture, fuelwood-collection and charcoal production are all putting pressure on the collared laughingthrush’s habitat, while a government resettlement programme has greatly increased the number of people on the Da Lat plateau exploiting forest resources. On Mount Lang Bian, all land below 1,500 metres is now logged or under cultivation (2)
Vietnam’s Western Highlands supports one of the largest remaining areas of relatively undisturbed natural and semi-natural forest in Vietnam. The southern part of this area, the Da lat Plateau, is recognised for its particularly rich bird fauna, including several endemic bird species, by its designation as a BirdLife International Endemic Bird Area (EBA) (5) (6).
This species is afforded some protection in the Chu Yang Sin Nature Reserve, although presently few protection measures exist for the reserve. Establishing further protected areas where the collared laughingthrush is found, such as at Mount Lang Bian and Ho Tuyen Lam, is therefore a conservation priority for this species. At these sites, there is the potential for eco-tourism to be developed, as well as the sustainable production of charcoal, which would lessen the impacts of this manufacturing process on natural habitats (2).
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Find out more about the collared laughingthrush:
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- Small feathers concealing the bases of larger flight feathers, usually on the wings or tail.
- A species or taxonomic group that is only found in one particular country or geographic area.
- Evergreen forest
- Forest consisting mainly of evergreen trees, which retain leaves all year round. This is in contrast to deciduous trees, which completely lose their leaves for part of the year.
- Of mountains, or growing in mountains.
- Primary feathers
- In birds, the main flight feathers projecting along the outer edge of the wing.
- Primary forest
- Forest that has remained undisturbed for a long time and has reached a mature condition.
- Secondary forest
- Forest that has re-grown after a major disturbance, such as fire or timber harvest, but has not yet reached the mature state of primary forest.
- An area occupied and defended by an animal, a pair of animals or a colony.
IUCN Red List (May, 2011)
Birdlife International (May, 2011)
Perrins, C. (2009) The Encyclopedia of Birds. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
BirdLife International. (2001) Threatened Birds of Asia, the Birdlife International Red Data Book. Birdlife International, Cambridge, UK.
Hill, M., Eames, J.C., Le Trong, T. and Nguyen, C. (2001) Population sizes, status and habitat associations of forest birds in Chu Yang Sin Nature Reserve, Dak Lak Province, Vietnam. Bird Conservation International, 11: 19-70.
BirdLife International Endemic Bird Area - Da Lat Plateau (May, 2011)