Humblotia flavirostris 


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Passeriformes Muscicapidae

Scientific Name: Humblotia flavirostris
Species Authority: Milne-Edwards & Oustalet, 1885
Common Name(s):
English Grand Comoro Flycatcher, Humblot's Flycatcher
French Gobemouche des Comores
Identification information: 14 cm. Small, dark-capped and streaked forest flycatcher. Upperparts brownish with white edgings to secondary coverts. Crown heavily striped and appears as dark cap in the field. Underparts buffy, heavily overlaid with dark brown streaking. Yellowish-orange bill and legs. Voice Soft, sharp trill. Hints It flycatches from the lowest branches of small trees or bushes, often feeding in small parties of two or three, but has never been seen in mixed-species flocks (Louette and Stevens 1992).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered B1ab(iii) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2012
Date Assessed: 2012-05-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Taylor, J. & Butchart, S.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Ekstrom, J., Pilgrim, J., Shutes, S., Symes, A., Taylor, J., Warren, B.
This species is classified as Endangered since it has a very small range, occurring at only one location, an active volcano, where there has been a continuing decline in the extent and quality of its forest habitat. It may be adapting to these changes, but the habitat remains threatened and insufficiently protected.

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

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Humblotia flavirostris occurs only on the slopes of Mt Karthala, an active volcano, on Grand Comoro (= Ngazidja) in the Comoro Islands.

Countries occurrence:
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO): Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO): No
Estimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2: 200
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO): Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO): No
Number of Locations: 1
Continuing decline in number of locations: Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations: No
Lower elevation limit (metres): 800
Upper elevation limit (metres): 2000
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: The population size is preliminarily estimated to fall into the band 10,000-19,999 individuals. This equates to 6,667-13,333 mature individuals, rounded here to 6,000-15,000 mature individuals.

Trend Justification:  The population is suspected to be in decline owing to the on-going destruction and degradation of the species's forest habitat and the effects of introduced species. The likely rate of decline has not been estimated.
Current Population Trend: Decreasing
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals: 6000-15000 Continuing decline of mature individuals: Unknown
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: This insectivorous species is present throughout forest on Mt Karthala over a wide altitudinal range (Louette and Stevens 1992). It is limited to areas with remaining tall trees but seems tolerant of shrubby, cultivated or open areas in the forest - it has even been observed in pure Philippia tree-heath above the forest belt (Louette and Stevens 1992). The only known nest was a cup in the upper branches of a 12-15 m high tree in pioneer woodland where at least two young were seen (Herremans et al. 1991b).

Systems: Terrestrial
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat: Yes
Generation Length (years): 3.8
Movement patterns: Not a Migrant

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): With this island's large, increasing human population (Herremans et al. 1991b), the major threat to this species is the clearance of forest for agriculture, which is occurring on all but the poorest soils. Since 1983, intact forest may have declined by over 25% as agriculture has advanced steadily up the slopes of Mt Karthala. Secondary forest in the agricultural belt is dominated by exotic plants, particularly strawberry guava Psidium cattleianum, which could spread into and degrade remaining native forest. Commercial logging occurs in a 50 km2 concession on the south-west slopes. The tree-heath zone is threatened by browsing cattle and by fire used to stimulate growth of palatable shoots. Introduced rats and Common Myna Acridotheres tristis may act as nest predators. If plans to build a road to Mt Karthala's crater are resurrected, exploitation and fragmentation of the forest, and the spread of exotic species, could be accelerated (Safford 2001).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
A protected area (national park, biosphere reserve or resource management area) on Mt Karthala has been proposed, but has not yet materialised (Louette et al. 1988, Safford 2001).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Research the ecology of this species to assess its ability to adapt to degraded habitats. Create a protected area on Mt Karthala to encompass the known range of the species, and develop a land-use strategy (Louette and Stevens 1992, Safford 2001). Consider reforestation of grasslands on the island's central ridge (Safford 2001). Develop an environmental education programme on the island (Louette and Stevens 1992). Encourage locally-organised ecotourism as an alternative source of income for inhabitants of the Mt Karthala area (Safford 2001).

Citation: BirdLife International. 2012. Humblotia flavirostris. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2012: e.T22709303A39796457. . Downloaded on 01 December 2015.
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