|Scientific Name:||Melidectes princeps|
|Species Authority:||Mayr & Gilliard, 1951|
|Red List Category & Criteria:||Vulnerable B1ab(ii,iii,v);C2a(i) ver 3.1|
|Reviewer/s:||Butchart, S. & Symes, A.|
|Contributor/s:||Beehler, B., Diamond, J. & Whitney, B.|
This species qualifies as Vulnerable owing to an inferred continuing decline in its small, fragmented range and population size. It is restricted to high altitudes and is at risk from the effects of climate change. Should the population be found to be stable, or larger than currently thought, it would warrant downlisting to a lower threat category.
|Range Description:||Melidectes princeps has a restricted range in the highlands of Papua New Guinea. It is known only from Mt Giluwe, Mt Hagen, the Kubor Range, Mt Wilhelm, Mt Michael and in the Mt Kaijende Highlands of Enga Province, 70 km north west of Mt Hagen, although it presumably ranges west to the Strickland River gorge (B. Beehler in litt. 2007). It is reported to be fairly common within this range (Mayr and Gilliard 1954, Beehler et al. 1986, Coates 1990, B. Beehler in litt. 2007) but there are no published indications of numbers or population trends.|
Native:Papua New Guinea
|Range Map:||Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.|
|Population:||The population is estimated to number 2,500-9,999 mature individuals based on an assessment of known records, descriptions of abundance and range size. This is consistent with recorded population density estimates for congeners or close relatives with a similar body size, and the fact that only a proportion of the estimated Extent of Occurrence is likely to be occupied. This estimate is equivalent to 3,750-14,999 individuals, rounded here to 3,500-15,000 individuals.|
|Habitat and Ecology:||It has been recorded from mossy forest and copses near the treeline and in scrubby forest clumps in alpine grassland, mostly between 3,000-3,800 m, but down to 2,750 m in the Kubor Range (Beehler et al. 1986, Coates 1990). It is probably excluded from adjacent mountain ranges by congeners (Diamond 1972, Beehler et al. 1986). Nests have been found in June and July, the late wet season and early dry season (Coates 1990). Congeneric honeyeaters are noisy, pugnacious birds of the forest canopy, feeding in pairs or small groups on nectar, insects and some fruit.|
This species is believed to be threatened by habitat degradation (J. M. Diamond in litt. 1987, B. Beehler in litt. 1994), but because it is an edge specialist it may conversely be unaffected (B. Beehler in litt. 2007). This region of the Highlands has a dense human population and although cultivation stops below this species's altitudinal range, there may be some habitat degradation from fires, usually started in the dry-season by hunters (B. Beehler in litt. 2000, B. Whitney in litt. 2000). The main potential future threat is climate change, as this is one of New Guinea's high elevation specialists, and may lose its subalpine habitat with climate change (B. Beehler in litt. 2007); however, the species may move upwards in response to habitat shifts (Beehler and Sine 2007).
Conservation Actions Underway
None is known. Conservation Actions Proposed
Survey all forest blocks at suitable altitude. Extend surveys to mountains immediately outside recorded range. Estimate population densities. Ascertain population structure across isolated forest blocks. Establish rate and trends of forest degradation. Investigate whether any occupied locations are threatened by agriculture. Research tolerance of burnt forest. Establish public awareness projects addressing basic forest conservation.
|Citation:||BirdLife International 2012. Melidectes princeps. In: IUCN 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 24 May 2013.|
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