Crested Fireback Lophura ignita Scientific name definitions

Guy M. Kirwan, Josep del Hoyo, Philip J. K. McGowan, Nigel Collar, David Christie, and Peter F. D. Boesman
Version: 2.0 — Published September 24, 2021

Conservation and Management

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Conservation Status

Crested Fireback is treated as two species (Lophura ignita and Lophura rufa) by BirdLife International (7), but the threats facing them are chiefly the same. Both species (as defined therein) were listed as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List until 2020, when they were simultaneously uplisted to Vulnerable, principally in response to research by Symes et al. (46), who indicated that Bornean and Malayan populations could conceivably have declined by up to 78.8% and 69.9%, respectively, over three generations.

On Borneo, the species is usually described as uncommon (40, 25, 47), and in slightly older literature as common (43, 48, 49, 50); it remains widespread on the island (25), being clearly tolerant of some degree of forest degradation (41).

On Sumatra, van Marle and Voous (24) noted that at the end of the 20th century, it was ‘very abundant’, but 100 years later, was ‘apparently so no longer’. Described as ‘uncommon’ there by Eaton et al. (47), but locally common by Holmes (49). Although Holmes (49) and Madge et al. (2) regarded the population (of ignita) to be close to extinction on Bangka, it does persist in the candidate Pelawan Biodiversity Park (51)

On the Malay Peninsula, this species was formerly common (52, 53, 54), but it is now rare in Thailand (55, 56, 57), and there are no recent records from Myanmar. In Peninsular Malaysia, locally the species can be rather common (58, 59, 60, 61, 62), occurring in protected areas (63) and—albeit at a lower density—in areas that are not protected (64).

Effects of Human Activity

Like many large-bodied, principally lowland Sunda species, the Crested Fireback is threatened by lowland forest clearance and the pet trade (65, 66, 67). McGowan et al. (68) noted that the ‘amount of potentially available habitat’ to Crested Fireback decreased in the Sunda region by 36% based on a simple calculation comparing extent of occurrence (EOO) data pre- and post-1970. Changes in EOO were at their highest on Sumatra and the Malay Peninsula, with 54% and 52% declines exhibited, respectively. Forest destruction has been particularly extensive in some areas (nearly 25% of Kalimantan’s evergreen forest destroyed during 1985–1997), caused by variety of factors, including escalation of logging and land conversion, with deliberate targeting of all remaining stands of valuable timber (even those within protected areas), and forest fires (especially in late 1990s).


Throughout its range, this species occurs in protected areas, including Khao Luang National Park in Thailand (55), Krau Wildlife Reserve and Taman Negara National Park in Peninsular Malaysia (4), Way Kambas National Park on Sumatra, and the Maliau Basin Conservation Area, Kutai National Park, Kayan Mentarang Nature Reserve, Sungai Wain Protection Forest, Gunung Lumut Protection Forest, Tanjung Puting National Park, Gunung Mulu National Park and Gunung Palung National Park, on Borneo (69, 25).

Recommended Citation

Kirwan, G. M., J. del Hoyo, P. J. K. McGowan, N. Collar, D. A. Christie, and P. F. D. Boesman (2021). Crested Fireback (Lophura ignita), version 2.0. In Birds of the World (B. K. Keeney, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow.crefir1.02