Tauraco fischeri


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Tauraco fischeri
Species Authority: (Reichenow, 1878)
Common Name(s):
English Fischer's Turaco
French Touraco de Fischer

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened ver 3.1
Year Published: 2012
Date Assessed: 2012-05-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S. & Symes, A.
Contributor(s): Baker, N., Bennun, L., Borghesio, L. & Turner, D.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Calvert, R., Evans, M., Martin, R, O'Brien, A., Robertson, P., Starkey, M., Taylor, J.
This species is listed as Near Threatened because it is believed to have a moderately small population, which is suspected to be declining owing to the effects of forest exploitation, clearing for agriculture and capture for trade.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Tauraco fischeri inhabits coastal and riverine forest and woodland in Kenya, north-eastern Tanzania and southern Somalia. In Kenya and Tanzania, it is frequent to common (Fry et al. 1988, Seddon et al. 1999) in coastal forests from Boni south to Tanga, inland along the Tana River, and up to 1,500 m in the Usambara Mountains (Fry et al. 1988) where a population of over 1,000 individuals is thought to reside (L. Borghesio in litt. 2010). The subspecies T. f. zanzibaricus, endemic to Zanzibar (N. Baker in litt. 1999), was thought to number only 25-50 birds (D. A. Turner in litt. 1999), but following surveys in June-July 2001 the population has been estimated at c.1,400 individuals (Borghesio and Ndang'ang'a 2003). In Somalia, there are now probably fewer than 50 individuals left (D. A. Turner in litt. 1999), all in the lower Jubba valley, where up to 80% of the riverine forest has been cleared in less than 30 years (Madgwick 1986, Ash and Miskell 1998); there is thus little hope that the species will persist there. The total population is unknown but assumed to be 2,500-9,999 individuals. Although a limited time series of data suggests the population is Eastern Usambara is stable (L. Borghesio in litt. 2010), the population as a whole is probably declining due to trapping and the clearance of coastal forests (del Hoyo et al. 1997).

Kenya; Somalia; Tanzania, United Republic of
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: The total population was thought to be very small, at no more than 2,500 birds (D. A. Turner in litt. 1999), but the recently revised population estimate of c.1,400 individuals for Zanzibar and over 1,000 in the Eastern Usambara, Tanzania (L. Borghesio in litt. 2010) suggests that the total population estimate should be recalculated. The population is thus assumed to fall within the range 2,500-9,999 individuals. This equates to 1,667-6,666 mature individuals, rounded here to 1,500-7,000 mature individuals.
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This species inhabits forest and wooded thickets, favouring a canopy and sub-canopy of mature fruiting trees (del Hoyo et al. 1997). Although sometimes recorded in degraded habitats, e.g. cultivated areas with a few remaining trees (Fry et al. 1988), it is much rarer in this habitat (Borghesio et al. 2008) and it is not clear whether populations can persist without tracts of intact forest (Fanshawe 1995, L. Bennun in litt. 1999). It primarily feeds on fruit, in particular the berries of Pachystela brevipes, but also takes flower buds, young leaf shoots and insects (del Hoyo et al. 1997). Its nest is a fragile platform of twigs placed in a tree 3-10 m above the ground. It lays two eggs, and the incubation period is 22-23 days (del Hoyo et al. 1997).

Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): It is threatened primarily by trapping and the clearance of coastal forests (del Hoyo et al. 1997). During the 1980s and early 1990s, hundreds of birds were exported from Tanzania for the cagebird trade, with many more perishing en route, and this had a serious impact on numbers in the Usambaras (D. A. Turner in litt. 1999). Trade in live birds from Tanzania is still a significant threat (N. Baker in litt. 1999), although a recently imposed quota system is helping to limit its impact (Seddon et al. 1999). On Zanzibar, there is a high rate of habitat degradation, with only 16% of the habitat occupied by the species showing signs of low, rather than high, human impact (Borghesio and Ndang'ang'a 2003). Its habitat on Zanzibar is threatened mainly by firewood collection, but also by charcoal production, timber extraction and extensive clearing of land for agriculture (Borghesio and Ndang'ang'a 2003).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix II. It occurs in the Shimba Hills National Park (del Hoyo et al. 1997). On Zanzibar, 44% of the population is found within protected areas (Borghesio and Ndang'ang'a 2003).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct surveys across the species's range to obtain a new total population estimate. Carry out regular surveys to track population trends. Monitor rates of habitat loss and degradation across its range. Monitor rates of trapping. Monitor levels of trade. Enforce, extend and tighten quotas for trade in the species. Consider uplisting the species to CITES Appendix I. Increase the number of protected areas that incorporate the species's habitat. Enforce existing laws on Zanzibar demanding payment for timber harvesting on public land (Borghesio and Ndang'ang'a 2003). Create plantations as a source of firewood on Zanzibar (Borghesio and Ndang'ang'a 2003). Use T. fischeri as a flagship species in awareness campaigns, at least on Zanzibar (Borghesio and Ndang'ang'a 2003).

Citation: BirdLife International 2012. Tauraco fischeri. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015.2. <>. Downloaded on 05 September 2015.
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