This discussion was first published as part of the 2015 Red List update. At the time a decision regarding its status was pended, but to enable potential reassessment of this species as part of the 2017 Red List update this post remained open and the date of posting was updated.
Tessmann’s Flycatcher (Muscicapa tessmanni – BirdLife species factsheet, recently moved to genus Fraseria) is currently listed as Data Deficient, but sufficient information may now be available to support listing the species as Least Concern.
F. tessmanni is found in West Africa where it is known from Sierra Leone, Liberia, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria (from which there have been no recent records; Elgood et al. 1994), Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo and mainland Equatorial Guinea (Dowsett 1993). The species is reportedly rare throughout much of its range although it is locally common in at least some areas, e.g. in and around Bia National Park, west Ghana (Dowsett-Lemaire and Dowsett 2005). It has possibly been overlooked owing to its similarities with Dusky-blue Flycatcher Bradornis comitatus, the two species often occurring together (Holbech 1996, F. Dowsett-Lemaire and R. Dowsett in litt. 2007).
F. tessmanni occupies mid-levels of forest edge and small gaps in primary forest (Dowsett-Lemaire and Dowsett 1999a, 2000a), with a record from thicket on the edge of a small swamp in a large area of intact forest (F. Dowsett-Lemaire and R. Dowsett in litt. 1998, F. Dowsett-Lemaire in litt. 2010). It has never reliably been recorded far from areas of primary forest (F. Dowsett-Lemaire and R. Dowsett in litt. 2007).
The population size of F. tessmanni is unknown, however the species has a large range and it is now considered to be common in south-west Ghana, where it has a wide distribution (F. Dowsett-Lemaire in litt. 2013). Given its wide distribution in Ghana, it is also likely to be widespread across the border in Côte d’Ivoire (F. Dowsett-Lemaire in litt. 2013). It is therefore unlikely that the species has a population small enough to qualify it for listing as Threatened under Criteria C or D.
F. tessmanni is threatened by the conversion of forest to more intensive farms and plantations and small populations could be disappearing throughout its range (M. Gartshore in litt. 1999). However, F. tessmanni is known to occur at forest edges and a lack of data makes it impossible to assess whether its population is declining due to forest loss.
Given the large range of F. tessmanni and its likely large population size, it is proposed that the species is listed as Least Concern.
Information is requested on the severity of threats, population size and trends of this species. Additional comments on the proposed listing are also welcome
Dowsett, R.J. 1993. Afrotropical avifaunas: annotated country checklists. In: Dowsett, R.J., Dowsett-Lemaire, F. (ed.), A contribution to the distribution and taxonomy of Afrotropical and Malagasy birds, pp. 1-322. Tauraco Press, Liège, Belgium.
Dowsett-Lemaire, F. & Dowsett, R.J. 1999. Birds of the Parque Nacional de Monte Alen, mainland Equatorial Guinea, with an updating of the country’s list. Alauda 67: 179-188.
Dowsett-Lemaire, F. & Dowsett, R.J. 2000. Birds of the Lobéké Faunal Reserve, Cameroon, and its regional importance for conservation. Bird Conservation International 10: 67-87.
Dowsett-Lemaire, F. & Dowsett, R.J. 2005. The avifauna of the dry evergreen forests of Mali. Malimbus 27(2): 77-111.
Elgood, J.H., Heigham, J.B., Moore, A.M., Nason, A.M., Sharland, R.E. and Skinner, N.J. 1994. The birds of Nigeria. British Ornithologists’ Union, Tring, U.K.
Holbech, L.H. 1996. Faunistic diversity and game production contra human activities in the Ghana high forest zone, with reference to the Western Region. Institute of Zoology, University of Copenhagen, 1996.