Mirafra ashi 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Passeriformes Alaudidae

Scientific Name: Mirafra ashi Colston, 1982
Common Name(s):
English Ash's Lark
French Alouette d'Ash
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.
Identification information: 14 cm. Small lark. Greyish-brown upperparts with paler edging to mantle feathers. Buff underparts with brownish streaks, but paler on belly and vent. Slight crest, with buff eyebrow-stripe. Similar spp. Singing Lark M. cantillans and Pink-breasted Lark M. poecilosterna are less greyish and less marked on mantle. Former has thicker bill and latter has pinkish breast. Rufous-naped Lark M. africana and Red-winged Lark M. hypermetra are larger. Voice Undescribed.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered B1ab(i,ii,iii,v) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2016-10-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S. & Symes, A.
Contributor(s): Dean, W.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Benstead, P., Ekstrom, J., Shutes, S., Starkey, M., Symes, A., Taylor, J. & Westrip, J.
This species has a very small range and is therefore classified as Endangered. It may be threatened by development and is assumed to have a very small, declining population.

Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Mirafra ashi remains known from only one small area just north of Uarsciek (80 km north of Mogadishu) in south-eastern Somalia, between 2°00'N and 2°30'N, where it is locally common (Ash and Miskell 1998). It has not been reported from the coast to the south-west of this site, where there has been intensive ornithological fieldwork. It is possible that it may occur north along the coast at least to 3°N (increasing its range to c.3,000 km2) as this area is virtually unexplored ornithologically (Ash and Miskell 1998). Nine other species of lark occur in the area, and M. ashi could easily have been overlooked among Red-winged Larks M. hypermetra hypermetra and Somali Long-billed Larks M. somalica rochei.

Countries occurrence:
Additional data:
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):Yes
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO):NoEstimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:1800
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):YesExtreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO):No
Number of Locations:1Continuing decline in number of locations:No
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations:No
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:The population is estimated at 3,460-6920 (10-20 individs/km2 x 346km2 [20% EOO]), i.e. in the band 2,500-9,999 mature individuals. This equates to 3,750-14,999 individuals, rounded here to 3,500-15,000 individuals. The species is described as locally common, so use the median to upper quartile of ten estimates of seven Mirafra spp. in the BirdLife Population Density Spreadsheet.

Trend Justification:  The population is suspected to be in decline owing to the development of its coastal habitat, as well as the potential indirect effects of drought and over-hunting on the numbers of livestock and wild ungulates. The likely rate of decline has not been estimated.
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals:2500-9999Continuing decline of mature individuals:Yes
Extreme fluctuations:NoPopulation severely fragmented:No
No. of subpopulations:1Continuing decline in subpopulations:No
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations:NoAll individuals in one subpopulation:Yes
No. of individuals in largest subpopulation:100

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Little is known about this species, which is found on semi-arid (350 mm rainfall), open, grassy coastal plains with a few, small, scattered bushes (Ash and Miskell 1998). Like M. somalica, it often runs across open ground between grass tussocks before perching on top of them (Ash and Miskell 1998).

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): If its range is indeed restricted to this single locality, it may be seriously threatened by new coastal developments reported from the area (Ash and Miskell 1998). The ecological relationship of this species with grazing animals is unknown, but it has been suggested that reduced numbers of domestic stock due to drought and loss of wild ungulates due to over-hunting may adversely affect its habitat.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
No conservation action or fieldwork relating to this species has been undertaken for many years, due to the political instability in the area.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Clarify its distribution and population size and trend (Ash and Miskell 1998). Study the species's ecology. Investigate the effects of grazing-levels to assess potential threats. Protect suitable habitat from development. Legislate to reduce the hunting of wild ungulates.

Citation: BirdLife International. 2016. Mirafra ashi. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T22717049A94519282. . Downloaded on 15 October 2018.
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