|Scientific Name:||Merops mentalis|
|Species Authority:||Cabanis, 1889|
|Taxonomic Notes:||Merops muelleri (Sibley and Monroe 1990, 1993) has been split into M. muelleri and M. mentalis by the BirdLife Taxonomic Working Group on the basis of significant morphological differences, and genetic analysis in Marks et al. (2007).|
|Red List Category & Criteria:||Near Threatened ver 3.1|
|Reviewer(s):||Butchart, S. & Symes, A.|
|Contributor(s):||Dowsett-Lemaire, F. & Lindsell, J.|
|Facilitator/Compiler(s):||Symes, A., Taylor, J.|
This species has been uplisted to Near Threatened on the basis that it is suspected to be undergoing a moderately rapid population decline owing to on-going habitat loss.
|Range Description:||Merops mentalis is found in West Africa, occurring in Sierra Leone, south-eastern Guinea, Liberia, Côte d’Ivoire, southern Ghana, southern Nigeria and western Cameroon (Borrow and Demey 2001, 2004). Despite being widespread, the species generally exists at low densities, even in protected areas (J. Lindsell in litt. 2012).|
Native:Cameroon; Côte d'Ivoire; Ghana; Guinea; Liberia; Nigeria; Sierra Leone
|Range Map:||Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.|
|Population:||The global population size has not been quantified, but the species is reported to be not uncommon and rare to locally common (del Hoyo et al. 2001).|
|Habitat and Ecology:||The species shows some dependence on mature forest, being observed in clearings and along the edges of primary forest and old secondary forest (Borrow and Demey 2001, del Hoyo et al. 2001), although it may also feed over agricultural land where a few large trees (alive or dead) remain standing (del Hoyo et al. 2001, F. Dowsett-Lemaire in litt. 2012). It appears to prefer evergreen and semi-evergreen forest with a broken canopy and small clearings, also frequenting the edges of forest by roads and swamps (F. Dowsett-Lemaire in litt. 2012, J. Lindsell in litt. 2012), but it is clearly reliant on areas of intact forest, and is generally not found amongst tree crops and farmbush (J. Lindsell in litt. 2012). It is usually seen in pairs or small family groups (F. Dowsett-Lemaire in litt. 2012).|
|Major Threat(s):||This species occurs in a region known for rapid and on-going deforestation. Large remnant tracts of forest in Liberia are under intense and increasing pressure from commercial logging and a consequent increase in settlement and small-holder agriculture (Fauna and Flora International 2000). Elsewhere in the Upper Guinea region, forest survives in fragments that are under intense pressure for logging and conversion to agriculture (Fauna and Flora International 2000). Forest in some reserves is being destroyed for teak plantations and cultivation, as well as through illegal logging (e.g. Opro River, Afram Headwaters, Tano Ofin and Atewa Range, Ghana) (F. Dowsett-Lemaire in litt. 2012). The species's tolerance of some forest degradation and fragmentation implies that it is not undergoing a severe decline.|
Conservation Actions Underway
This species occurs in a number of protected areas across its range, although the level of protection afforded to these areas varies considerably.
Conservation Actions Proposed
Carry out an analysis of existing records and conduct surveys to study the species's range and population size. Monitor habitat trends across its range. Conduct research into the species's ecology, habitat requirements and tolerance of habitat fragmentation and degradation. Increase the total area of suitable habitat in the species's range that is protected. Improve the effectiveness of protected area management where necessary.
|Citation:||BirdLife International 2012. Merops mentalis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 30 September 2014.|