Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Passeriformes Viduidae

Scientific Name: Vidua maryae
Species Authority: Payne, 1982
Common Name(s):
English Jos Plateau Indigobird
Taxonomic Source(s): Payne, R. B. 1982. Species limits in the Indigobirds (Ploceidae, Vidua) of West Africa: mouth mimicry, song mimicry, and description of new species. Miscellaneous Publications, Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan 162: 1-96.
Taxonomic Notes: Described as new to science by Payne (1982).
Identification information: 12 cm. A small, black finch with a pale bill. Nuptial plumage male has an all black plumage with a green glossy sheen. The flight feathers are brown and appear pale in contrast to remainder of plumage. The bill, legs and toes appear white in the field. Close inspection of legs and toes show a purplish cast. Similar spp. Within its very restricted range there no other indigo birds have been seen. Voice Mimics the trilling song and calls of the Rock Firefinch. Hints A search in the breeding season of the Panshanu Pass, Taboru Hill near Jos and at Kagora in northern Nigeria might produce this species.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2012
Date Assessed: 2012-05-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S. & Symes, A.
Contributor(s): Hall, P., Nursahid, R. & Hogberg, S.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Ekstrom, J., Butchart, S., Harding, M., Fisher, S., Symes, A., Gilroy, J.
Although this species may have a small range, it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size has not been quantified, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.

Previously published Red List assessments:
2009 Least Concern (LC)
2008 Least Concern (LC)
2004 Least Concern (LC)
2000 Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)
1994 Not Recognized (NR)
1988 Not Recognized (NR)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Vidua maryae was first discovered in 1968, but has only been considered a distinct species since 1995. It is endemic to the Jos Plateau and its north and eastward extensions, in northern Nigeria, where it is known from Panshanu, Taboru near Jos and Kagoro (Payne 1998), and has an estimated global Extent of Occurrence of 26,000 km2. The global population size has not been quantified, but the species is not believed to approach the thresholds for the population size criterion of the IUCN Red List (i.e. less than 10,000 mature individuals in conjunction with appropriate decline rates and subpopulation qualifiers). Global population trends have not been quantified, but populations appear to be stable; one site (Panshanu) is within the Magama Forest Reserve, where the vegetation is apparently little changed since 1968 (Payne 1998). It may be more common and widespread than records suggest, as it is difficult to identify outside the breeding season (J. Abalaka in litt. 2007, S. Hogberg in litt. 2007). Therefore, the species is not believed to approach the thresholds for the population decline criterion of the IUCN Red List (i.e. declining more than 30% in ten years or three generations). For these reasons, the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
Countries occurrence:
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO): Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO): No
Estimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2: 10900
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO): Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO): No
Continuing decline in number of locations: Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations: No
Lower elevation limit (metres): 800
Upper elevation limit (metres): 1200
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 extensive habitat loss as much of its range is converted to agriculture.

Current Population Trend: Decreasing
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals: Unknown Continuing decline of mature individuals: Unknown
Extreme fluctuations: No Population severely fragmented: No
Continuing decline in subpopulations: Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations: No All individuals in one subpopulation: No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: It occupies the same habitat as the Rock Firefinch Lagonosticta sanguinodorsalis, bushy and grassy rocky outcrops on the plateau and wooded, grassy inselbergs to the north and east. The species is apparently restricted to areas above 900 m (Payne 1998). V. maryae mimics the songs of L. sanguinodorsalis and, whilst there are no direct observations of brood parasitism, their association as host and brood parasite is assumed, as in other species in which indigobird parasitism has been observed the indigobird male mimics the song of the host that is known to rear its young (P. Hall in litt. 1999).
Systems: Terrestrial
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat: Unknown
Generation Length (years): 3.2
Movement patterns: Not a Migrant

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The Jos Plateau has a high human population density and has consequently suffered from major agricultural expansion. Most of the original woodland vegetation has been lost, with the remainder restricted to inaccessible areas or river margins. One known site (Taboru) is intensely grazed and the remaining wooded vegetation is rapidly being removed for fences and firewood (Payne 1998).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
There are plans to establish a conservation programme at Taboru (P. Hall in litt. 1999). A study of this species and L. sanguinodorsalis began in 2006 (J. Abalaka in litt. 2007).

Citation: BirdLife International. 2012. Vidua maryae. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2012: e.T22728558A38485156. . Downloaded on 04 October 2015.
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