BirdLife species factsheet for Sierra Leone Prinia: http://datazone.birdlife.org/species/factsheet/sierra-leone-prinia-schistolais-leontica
Sierra Leone Prinia, Schistolais leontica (formerly White-eyed Prinia, Prinia leontica) is currently listed as Vulnerable under criteria B1ab(i,ii,iii,v); C2a(i) on the basis that it has a small and localised distribution which is becoming fragmented due to habitat destruction (BirdLife International 2017). It is found in West Africa in the highlands of Guinea, Sierra Leone, northern Liberia and western Côte d’Ivoire in thickets and riparian scrub (Ryan 2017) particularly in the narrow transition zone between submontane grassland and submontane forest (R. Demey in litt. 2009). A reassessment of how a species’s Extent of Occurrence is calculated (now using Minimum Convex Polygons) means that Sierra Leone Prinia would no longer qualify as Vulnerable under criterion B1ab(i,ii,iii,v) as its EOO would be too large.
Looking at population estimates, targeted surveys in Guinea have found the species at six localities with the largest potential population size, at Pic de Fon Classified Forest, estimated at 26 pairs or 52 mature individuals (R. Demey 2012 report per L. Fishpool in litt. 2014). To the best of our knowledge no targeted surveys on this species have occurred elsewhere, and they have not been seen in areas such as Man and Sipilou for >40 years (L. Fishpool in litt. 2014). In Liberia it has previously been suggested that densities of up to 30 birds per hectare could be found (Gatter 1997), but it is restricted to Mount Nimba and other ranges in the county (Gatter 1997). Nimba is now threatened by mining, and more recent work suggests it is now uncommon in Liberia (only seen in 5 localities in 2010-11; L. Fishpool in litt. 2014). Mining also threatens the Pic de Fon population, and the spread of agriculture and small scale logging elsewhere is leading to the loss of this species’s already limited habitat.
The recent subpopulation estimates and the fact that the species is likely now more uncommon around Mount Nimba than previously thought could mean that the global population estimate is now <2,500 mature individuals. However, to qualify as Endangered under criterion C2a(i) the number of mature individuals in each subpopulation cannot exceed 250. We therefore request any further information regarding potential population size estimates for this species particularly with respect to the subpopulation in Liberia, and if there is evidence to suggest that no subpopulation exceeds 250 mature individuals then the Sierra Leone Prinia would warrant uplisting to Endangered under criterion C2a(i). If not, it would remain listed as Vulnerable under the same criterion.
BirdLife International 2017. Species factsheet: Schistolais leontica. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 03/01/2017.
Gatter, W. 1997. Birds of Liberia. Pica Press, Robertsbridge, UK.
Ryan, P. 2017. Sierra Leone Prinia (Schistolais leontica). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from http://www.hbw.com/node/58698 on 3 January 2017).