Grey-crowned crocias -- 灰冠南洋鹛 (Crocias langbianis)

Grey-crowned crocias
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Grey-crowned crocias fact file

Grey-crowned crocias description

GenusCrocias (1)

Re-discovered in 1994, the grey-crowned crocias is a small, slim bird occupying a tiny range in an ecologically fragile region of Vietnam (2) (3). It has a conspicuous grey crown and nape, for which it gets its name, and a distinctive black mask, extending from the bill past the eyes (2) (4). The underparts of the body, from the chin to the belly, are spotless white, except for black streaks on the flanks. Reddish-brown upperparts contrast with the white underneath, but share similar black streaking. The wing feathers are mostly grey, except the primaries which are black with white tips. The tail feathers are also grey, but, as with the primaries, are white towards the tips (2).

Length: 22 cm (2)

Grey-crowned crocias biology

Owing to its scarcity and highly localised distribution, very little is known about the ecology of the grey-crowned crocias. Most encounters with the species have been of single individuals, pairs or occasionally small groups of up to five, with and without other flocking species. It forages almost exclusively in the outer canopy of broadleaved evergreen trees, with caterpillars being at least an occasional food source, if not a staple (2) (3).


Grey-crowned crocias range

Endemic to the Da Lat plateau in southern Vietnam, the grey-crowned crocias has a very localised distribution, with recent records from only three sites (2).


Grey-crowned crocias habitat

This species occurs only in closed-canopy evergreen forests, from altitudes of 900 to 1,700 metres. The most recent observations have been from a narrower altitudinal band, between 910 and 1,130 metres (2) (3).


Grey-crowned crocias status

Classified as Endangered (EN) on the IUCN Red List (1).

IUCN Red List species status – Endangered


Grey-crowned crocias threats

Prior to its re-discovery in 1994, the grey-crowned crocias had not been seen in over 50 years. Since 1994, it has been observed with increasing frequency, albeit at the same few sites (3). However, given its very small range and the constant threat of habitat loss, this species remains at a very high risk of extinction. Forest degradation caused by logging, clearance of land for agriculture, fuel-wood collection and charcoal production threatens all the known sites for this species. Furthermore, an increase in the size of the human population in the region of the Da Lat plateau, attributable to a governmnet resettlement programme, is putting even further pressure on the remaining forest habitat (2) (3).


Grey-crowned crocias conservation

While the only site at which the grey-crowned crocias is relatively common, Chu Yang Sin Nature Reserve, is ostensibly protected, no protection measures actually exist and its boundaries have not been decided. Fortunately, compared with other areas of the Da Lat plateau, the Chu Yang Sin Nature Reserve is under much less pressure from degradation due to its remoteness. Nonetheless, it is still a priority to develop management activities within the reserve, and to ensure the reserve’s effective protection together with other areas of broadleaved evergreen forest on the Da Lat plateau (2) (3).

View information on this species at the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre.

Find out more

For further information on the grey-crowned crocias see:



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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.
The primary feathers in birds, the main flight feathers projecting along the outer edge of the wing.
Secondary feathers
In birds, the shorter flight feathers projecting along the inner edge of the wing.


  1. IUCN Red List (December, 2007)
  2. BirdLife International (November, 2008)
  3. BirdLife International. (2001) Threatened Birds of Asia: the BirdLife International Red Data Book. BirdLife International, Cambridge, UK.
  4. Dymond, J.N. (1998) Birds in Vietnam in December 1993 and December 1994. Forktail, 13: 7 - 12.

Image credit

Grey-crowned crocias  
Grey-crowned crocias

© Hung Do Manh

Hung Do Manh


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