Uratelornis chimaera


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Uratelornis chimaera
Species Authority: Rothschild, 1895
Common Name(s):
English Long-tailed Ground-roller, Long-tailed Ground-Roller, Long-tailed Ground Roller
French Brachyptérolle à longue queue

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable A3cd ver 3.1
Year Published: 2012
Date Assessed: 2012-05-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Taylor, J. & Butchart, S.
Contributor(s): Hawkins, F., Langrand, O., Seddon, N. & Tobias, J.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Ekstrom, J., Evans, M., Shutes, S., Starkey, M., Symes, A., Taylor, J.
This species is classified as Vulnerable because there is an ongoing decline in the quality and extent of its habitat, the rate of which is increasing annually, implying that its population is likely to decline rapidly over the next ten years.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Uratelornis chimaera is restricted to a narrow coastal strip, originally 30-60 km wide and 200 km long, in south-western Madagascar between the Fiherenana and Mangoky rivers. In its habitat it is uncommon, occurring at population densities of about 0.008-0.1 individuals per ha (N. Seddon and J. Tobias in litt. 1999, 2000). Although such habitat is threatened in the north-central, eastern and southern parts of this species's range, there is a fairly large intact block north of Manombo (Seddon et al. 2000). In 2000, the total population was estimated to be 10,000-20,000 individuals (N. Seddon and J. Tobias in litt. 1999, 2000). A total population estimate of 21,124 (95% CI: 9,487-32,687) mature individuals was calculated from a tentative estimate of the species's density at 5.7 (95% CI: 2.6-8.8) mature adults per km2 from transect surveys in 1999 and an estimate of 3,706 km2 of remaining habitat (Seddon and Tobias 2007).

Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: A total population estimate of 21,124 (with a 95% confidence interval of 9,487-32,687) mature individuals (roughly equivalent to 30,000-35,000 total individuals) was calculated from a tentative estimate of the species's density at 5.7 (95% CI: 2.6-8.8) mature adults km-2 from transect surveys in 1999 and an estimate of 3,706 km2 of remaining habitat. The 95% confidence intervals are taken as the upper and lower range estimates for the population.
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This terrestrial species inhabits semi-arid deciduous forest (Seddon and Tobias 2007, undated) on a sandy substrate and of a low stature (4-6 m), and sparse coastal scrub, from sea-level to 80 m. The species shows a preferrence for slightly and even heavily degraded habitats (Seddon and Tobias 2007, undated). It is tolerant of disturbance by livestock, having been observed in extremely degraded forest close to villages (N. Seddon and J. Tobias in litt. 1999, 2000). Although it is largely terrestrial, this insectivorous species roosts in trees and shrubs, and vocalises from low perches (Seddon and Tobias undated). It appears to be socially monogamous and defends small territories around nest-holes during the breeding season. The nest-holes lead to long burrows which are dug at an angle into the flat sand. It occurs in family groups containing one to four juveniles immediately after fledging, but is otherwise solitary in the dry season and lives in pairs after the first rains in October-November (Seddon and Tobias undated). Breeding peaks in November (Seddon 2001).

Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Overall, primary-forest cover has declined by 15.6% between 1962 and 1999, although in the central part of this species's range, it has declined by c.28% (Seddon et al. 2000; N. Seddon and J. Tobias in litt. 1999, 2000). Such clearance is mainly for slash-and-burn cultivation of maize and for charcoal production (both are increasing; Seddon 2001), and more locally for construction material and commercial timber (ZICOMA 1999). Although the species prefers degraded habitat, it does not occupy completely deforested land (Seddon and Tobias 2007, undated). Predation by dogs and trappers occurs, and introduced rats Rattus may pose a threat, at least locally (Langrand 1990).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
The spiny forest of south-west Madagascar has been identified as the biogeographical region in greatest need of additional reserves nationally (Du Puy and Moat 1996). The northern part of this region, to which the species is restricted, is entirely unprotected (Morris and Hawkins 1998; Seddon 2001), and is suffering the most rapid degradation (Seddon et al. 2000). Potential conservation measures have recently been recommended for the area, designed in consultation with local communities (Seddon et al. 2000).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct regular surveys to monitor population trends. Monitor rates of habitat clearance. Establish a coordinated network of community-based conservation areas, including a large protected area (Seddon et al. 2000). Improve agricultural efficiency and control charcoal production.

Citation: BirdLife International 2012. Uratelornis chimaera. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. <>. Downloaded on 01 February 2015.
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