Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Passeriformes Turdidae

Scientific Name: Turdus menachensis
Species Authority: Ogilvie-Grant, 1913
Common Name(s):
English Yemen Thrush
Identification information: 23 cm. Medium-sized, rather plain, brown thrush. Throat is streaked blackish. Some spotting on breast of some individuals. In flight shows orange underwing-coverts. May show dirty orange wash on flanks when perched. Stout bill is orange-yellow and legs vary from flesh-coloured to yellow (Bowden 1987). Voice Fluty song is series of high-pitched phrases, mostly heard at dawn. Most typical call is explosive chuck-chuck. Hints Can be very skulking and remain motionless for long periods (Porter et al. 1996). Best located by call.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable C2a(ii) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2012
Date Assessed: 2012-05-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S. & Symes, A.
Contributor(s): Al-Sagheir, O., Jennings, M. & Porter, R.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Ekstrom, J., Mahood, S., Martins, R., Taylor, J.
This species qualifies as Vulnerable because its population is likely to be small and in decline owing to the loss and degradation of its montane woodland habitat.

Previously published Red List assessments:
2008 Vulnerable (VU)
2004 Vulnerable (VU)
2000 Vulnerable (VU)
1996 Vulnerable (VU)
1994 Vulnerable (VU)
1988 Threatened (T)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Turdus menachensis is endemic to the south-western Arabian peninsula, occurring in Saudi Arabia and Yemen, north to 21°N (Bowden 1987). It is strictly montane (Porter et al. 1996) and has a very local distribution, being generally scarce (Bowden 1987) where it occurs (although occasionally numerous in some areas [Stagg 1984, Jennings et al. 1988, Newton and Newton 1996]). Given that so much of its range contains unsuitable habitat, its population seems likely to number fewer than 10,000 mature individuals. However, the population has been estimated at c.10,000 pairs (Jennings 2010), implying that there is a population of c.20,000 adults (M. Jennings in litt. 2012), thus the population estimate used in this assessment may need to be revised.

Countries occurrence:
Saudi Arabia; Yemen
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO): Yes
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO): No
Estimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2: 66700
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO): Yes
Extreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO): No
Number of Locations: 11-100
Continuing decline in number of locations: Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations: No
Lower elevation limit (metres): 1200
Upper elevation limit (metres): 3100
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

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.

Trend Justification:  There are no new data on population trends; however, the species is suspected to be declining slowly, owing to habitat loss and degradation.
Current Population Trend: Decreasing
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals: 2500-9999 Continuing decline of mature individuals: Yes
Extreme fluctuations: No Population severely fragmented: No
No. of subpopulations: 1 Continuing decline in subpopulations: Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations: No All individuals in one subpopulation: Yes
No. of individuals in largest subpopulation: 100

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: It is confined to areas with a dense cover of native trees and shrubs - thus occurring in woodlands, thickets, copses, orchards and large gardens, although foraging in more open habitats if dense wooded cover is nearby (Stagg 1984, Bowden 1987, Jennings et al. 1988, Newton and Newton 1996, Porter et al. 1996). At the lowest altitudes, it is restricted to such vegetation along watercourses. At most localities it appears to be sedentary, but there may be altitudinal or latitudinal movements in the north of its range (Stagg 1984). The diet includes fruit (e.g. Rosa, Juniperus, Ficus) and terrestrial invertebrates (Phillips 1982, Bowden 1987). Breeding occurs from March to June, the nest being 1-2 m above ground in a bush or tree-fork, usually in dense cover (Bowden 1987).

Systems: Terrestrial
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat: Yes
Generation Length (years): 6.1
Movement patterns: Not a Migrant

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Lopping and cutting of trees and shrubs, for fuel, fodder and building material, are proceeding at unsustainable levels in many parts of Yemen (Bowden 1987, Scholte et al. 1991) (where the human population is expanding rapidly), and are likely therefore to be causing a net loss of dense wooded cover. Abandonment of wooded agricultural terraces at lower altitudes in the species's range is leading to massive loss of topsoil and further reduction of wooded cover (Scholte et al. 1991). Loss of well-wooded land to building, infrastructural and agricultural developments may also be a threat in Saudi Arabia. Altogether, these threats imply that the species's population is likely to be decreasing. A lack of tree regeneration, owing to high levels of grazing and browsing by livestock, has been observed at several sites and may be a problem.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
There are many traditional rangeland reserves (mahjur) in south-west Arabia, where trees and ground plant cover are protected by private or communal ownership-rights from excessive exploitation, in order to provide fodder in times of drought (Scholte et al. 1991). However, the management of these areas has been widely neglected or abandoned since the advent of more convenient supplies of supplemental feed (Scholte et al. 1991). The species occurs in at least two protected areas in Saudi Arabia: Raydah Reserve and Asir National Park (Jennings et al. 1988, Newton and Newton 1996).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Encourage non-intensive agroforestry practices. Conduct field surveys to estimate its population size. Study the effects of different forestry practices on species density and breeding success.

Citation: BirdLife International. 2012. Turdus menachensis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2012: e.T22708745A39717947. . Downloaded on 10 October 2015.
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