Pseudochelidon eurystomina 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Passeriformes Hirundinidae

Scientific Name: Pseudochelidon eurystomina Hartlaub, 1861
Common Name(s):
English African River Martin, African River-martin, African River-Martin
French Hirondelle de rivière
Taxonomic Source(s): del Hoyo, J., Collar, N.J., Christie, D.A., Elliott, A., Fishpool, L.D.C., Boesman, P. and Kirwan, G.M. 2016. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Volume 2: Passerines. Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge, UK.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Data Deficient ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2016-10-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S. & Symes, A.
Contributor(s): Dowsett, R., Dowsett-Lemaire, F., Maisels, F. & Sharp, S.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Mahood, S., Shutes, S., Symes, A. & Westrip, J.
This species is classified as Data Deficient because, although it is recorded quite regularly, its distribution and movements remain very poorly known and very few colonies have ever been found. Colonies are very vulnerable to disturbance and exploitation, and the species may prove to be threatened.

Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Pseudochelidon eurystomina breeds in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) (middle and upper Congo River and lower Ubangi River) (Chapin 1953), Gabon (Gamba [Keith et al. 1992], Animba near Port-Gentil and, recently discovered, near Libreville itself; also potentially throughout the coastal areas south of Point Pongara, as far as the border with the Congo ([P. Christy in litt. 1999]) and Congo (several hundred birds discovered in 1996 in the Conkouati Reserve; and at least one colony at Tchimpounga NR discovered 2011) (Dowsett-Lemaire 1997a, Maisels and Cruickshank 2000, Wilson and Sharp unpublished data). The total population size is unknown; in the late 1980s, it appeared to be common, if local, and large numbers have been seen on migration in Gabon (Turner and Rose 1989), such as the Ogooué River and Makokou where, in 1997, a flock of c.15,000 were observed (Sinclair 1998), and a mixed flock of this species and Rosy Bee-eater Merops malimbicus at Igeula, Loango, in September 2005, was estimated to number 100,000 birds (Barnes 2005). However it is particularly poorly known in the DRC and it is not known if there is any relationship between the birds breeding in the DRC and those breeding in coastal areas of Gabon and Congo (P. Christy in litt. 1999). Birds from the Congo migrate westwards across Gabon (main passage from June to early September) (Erard 1981), arriving at Gamba on the coast from mid-August onwards and on the coast of the Congo from mid-September (Dowsett-Lemaire and Dowsett 1991). After breeding in the coastal areas, they depart from late October-November (Dowsett-Lemaire and Dowsett 1991) with the main passage back across Gabon from December to March (Erard 1981). At Odzala in northern Congo, birds have been observed flying west towards coastal breeding grounds in August, returning in late January, but the numbers involved are much lower than those observed in Gabon (F. Dowsett-Lemaire in litt. 1997). In 1994, three or four birds were observed on passage at Ngotto in the Central African Republic (Dowsett et al. 1999b).

Countries occurrence:
Angola; Central African Republic; Congo; Congo, The Democratic Republic of the; Gabon
Additional data:
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO):NoEstimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:648000
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):UnknownExtreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO):No
Continuing decline in number of locations:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations:No
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:This is a poorly known species and no population estimates are available.

Trend Justification:  The population is suspected to be in decline owing to hunting pressure and potentially losses to flooding (del Hoyo et al. 2004).
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals:UnknownContinuing decline of mature individuals:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations:NoPopulation severely fragmented:No
Continuing decline in subpopulations:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations:NoAll individuals in one subpopulation:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:It breeds in large colonies (up to c.800 individuals) along forested rivers, on islands with sandy shores, on beach ridges in coastal savanna and sandy grassland areas within coastal forest-savanna mosaic (Turner and Rose 1989, S. Sharp in litt. 2016). Nest holes are dug into sandbars which are exposed when river levels are low (Turner and Rose 1989). Outside the breeding season it roosts in reed-beds or riverine vegetation (P. Christy in litt. 1999).

Systems:Terrestrial; Freshwater
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Unknown
Generation Length (years):4.1
Movement patterns:Full Migrant
Congregatory:Congregatory (and dispersive)

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): In the 1950s, the species was caught and eaten in large quantities in the DRC by the local population (Chapin 1953), and this practice could be on the increase (F. Dowsett-Lemaire in litt. 1997). Breeding colonies in river sandbars are liable to flooding (Keith et al. 1992), and the incidence of flooding could increase with trends in deforestation. Colonies in coastal savanna may also be prone to human-set fires (S. Sharp in litt. 2016).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions UnderwaySurveys have been undertaken at Tchimpounga NR (cosatal Congo) and further work on the breeding ecology of the species there will hopefully continue (S. Sharp in litt. 2016).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct surveys, particularly in D.R. Congo, to determine true range and abundance. Regularly monitor the species at known migration sites in Gabon to determine trends. Research the extent and nature of the threat caused by hunting. Protect large areas of forest at key sites, in both strictly protected areas and community led multiple use areas.

Citation: BirdLife International. 2016. Pseudochelidon eurystomina. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T22712036A94316261. . Downloaded on 25 June 2018.
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