Sheppardia lowei 


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Passeriformes Muscicapidae

Scientific Name: Sheppardia lowei
Species Authority: (Grant & Mackworth-Praed, 1941)
Common Name(s):
English Iringa Akalat, Iringa Ground Robin
French Cossyphe d'Iringa
Dryocichloides lowei lowei Collar and Andrew (1988)
Identification information: 13 cm. Small, drab robin of forest. Plain brown upperparts. Indistinct eyebrow-stripe just before and above eye. Warm olive-brown breast and flanks, with lighter coloured central underparts. Long, light flesh-coloured tarsus and feet diagnostic. Similar spp. Sharpe's Akalat S. sharpei has orange tones on underparts, shorter tarsus (making it look smaller), which are flesh orange, and clear white eyebrow-stripe. Voice Whistled wree wree. Alarm note tchak. Hints Elusive.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable B1ab(i,ii,iii,v) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2012
Date Assessed: 2012-05-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Taylor, J. & Butchart, S.
Contributor(s): Baker, N., Dinesen, L., Hansen, L. & Moyer, D.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Ekstrom, J., Evans, M., Shutes, S., Starkey, M., Symes, A., Taylor, J.
Although the majority of this species's population occurs within protected areas, it has a small range (being known from less than 10 locations) and is probably declining owing to alteration, clearance and fragmentation of its forest habitat at the extremities of its range. It is therefore considered Vulnerable.

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: Sheppardia lowei is known from only a small number of forested areas in the Ukaguru Mountains, Udzungwa Mountains and the Southern Highlands (Njombe District) of Tanzania. Within this range it is fairly common in places, with as many as 15 pairs/km2 in the Udzungwas (Keith et al. 1992), where there is possibly only 100-160 km2 of suitable forest. The population in the Udzungwas is known from eight localities and is guessed to exceed 10,000 individuals (L. Dinesen in litt. 2007), although the total population of Nyumbanitu and Ndundulu Forests and Udzungwa National Park has been estimated at possibly no more than 2,500 individuals (L. Hansen in litt. 2007).

Countries occurrence:
Tanzania, United Republic of
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO): Yes
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO): No
Estimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2: 6700
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO): Yes
Extreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO): No
Number of Locations: 6-10
Continuing decline in number of locations: Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations: No
Lower elevation limit (metres): 1350
Upper elevation limit (metres): 2450
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: The population in the Udzungwas is known from eight localities and is guessed to exceed 10,000 individuals (L. Dinesen in litt. 2007), although the total population of Nyumbanitu and Ndundulu Forests and Udzungwa National Park has been estimated at possibly no more than 2,500 individuals (L. Hansen in litt. 2007). The range of 10,000-19,999 individuals therefore remains as a preliminary population estimate requiring further documentation. This equates to 6,667-13,333 mature individuals, rounded here to 6,000-15,000 mature individuals.

Trend Justification:  The species's population is suspected to be in decline owing to the clearance of forest in parts of its range, although the likely rate of decline remains unquantified.
Current Population Trend: Decreasing
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals: 6000-15000 Continuing decline of mature individuals: Yes
Extreme fluctuations: No Population severely fragmented: No
No. of subpopulations: 2-100 Continuing decline in subpopulations: Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations: No All individuals in one subpopulation: No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: It is found in montane forest and thickets (Keith et al. 1992) and is tolerant of some habitat disturbance. It is generally more abundant at higher altitudes (Keith et al. 1992). Largely ground-dwelling, it forages in leaf-litter and sometimes gleans from trunks, vines and branches (Keith et al. 1992). It is also a frequent visitor to cleared trails (L. Hansen in litt. 2007). It regularly attends army-ant swarms and feeds on tiny insects flushed by the ants (Keith et al. 1992). The breeding season seems to follow the beginning of the first heavy rains, often in early to mid-November in the Udzungwas, and juveniles are seen until early April at least (L. Hansen in litt. 2007).

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): It is not threatened in the Udzungwa Mountains, where the majority of the population is found, owing partly to its preference for higher altitude forests where logging is much less severe (L. Dinesen in litt. 2007). However, it may be threatened by forest destruction in the Southern Highlands, where forest patches are smaller and under greater pressure (Keith et al. 1992, D. C. Moyer in litt. 1999). An ever increasing threat in the Njombe area is agricultural expansion, which has resulted in the near total clearance of forest patches between Njombe and Kipengere (D. Moyer in litt. 2007). Although there is pressure on village forest reserves around Mufundi, the species is considered secure here owing to adequate protection of other areas of habitat (D. Moyer in litt. 2007).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
A large proportion of the species's range (in the Udzungwa Mountains) is protected in the Udzungwa Mountains National Park and in several forest reserves. Forest reserves in the Ukaguru Mountains are reasonably intact owing to the steep terrain.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Survey the Rubeho Mountains, Mahenge and Imagi Forests (L. Hansen in litt. 2007), and habitat around Njombe (D. Moyer in litt. 2007), to see if it occurs there. Conduct a baseline survey to assess the total population size. Carry out regular surveys to monitor population trends. Strengthen protection measures for protected areas that are under threat.

Citation: BirdLife International. 2012. Sheppardia lowei. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2012: e.T22709667A39740482. . Downloaded on 30 November 2015.
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