ID help on puzzling pikas

Hi all,

I’m trying to identify this pika seen in Bhutan at Pelala Pass at 11000’ elevation (same place as Jon’s trip report from 2016) in meadow habitat within rhododendron/fir forest. I saw about 20 pika and photo’d 2 individuals.

According to Lissovsky et al. 2022, pikas in the subgenus Conothoa primarily live in rocky/talus types of environment, and that rules out Large-eared Pika (O. macrotis) and Royle’s pika (O. roylii) (so sorry Jon I don’t think your tentative ID was correct back then).

Looking at a few other papers on Himalayan pikas, other options for pikas in the subgenus Ochotona that live in meadows and non rocky habitats might include Sijin pika (O. sikimaria), which used to be considered a subspecies of Moupin’s pika (O. thibetana), or maybe it’s Nubra Pika (O. nubrica) or perhaps another species?? Any help or insights from pika professionals or pika enthusiasts would be appreciated in correctly identifying these cute little guys.

Thanks much,


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  • Jon Hall

    I will be delighted if you can figure this out. I didn’t count these pikas and without decent pictures I had no chance to get a decent ID. I’ve written to Andrey Lissovsky to see what he thinks. Thanks!

  • Jon Hall

    Hi Brett. Andrey replied “The photo is not too informative… It is quite easy to distinguish between Ochotona and Conothoa at the first glance. But it is not the case… Some clues – nose sideview, muzzle point to Ochotona sikimaria. It does not look like O. macrotis.” So I would go with sikimaria, DOn’t suppose you have any profil shots do you or more of the ears… these can be helpful Andrey tells me.

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