The Arabuko-Sokoke Forest, the stronghold for the East Coast Akalat, is a forest that has benefited from significant conservation attention. Forest loss takes place albeit not a very high rate. However, the loss of forest is mainly highest in Akalat suitable habitats. The Akalat is a forest specialist that prefers canopied shaded forest areas with dead logs and moss. Dead logs are getting scarce and even areas that look like good forests are more open shrinking the habitat for the Akalat further. This small bird nests on the ground using moss which is rare as dead wood has also reduced and the nests are predated by snakes. There may be no data to show the rate of decline but no doubt the population has not improved. My strong recommendation is to main the NT status until new data becomes available. Down listing the status of this species may significantly reduce the attention given to this forest leading to more serious conservation concerns. Precautionary approach needs to be considered.
East coast Akalat is doing ok on Zanzibar (survery 2021- January). But all forests are under threats due to serious lack of firewood on Zanzibar. Palms has been started (since when?) to be utilized for various purpose including firewood despite it is poor as firewood (local info 2021). Jozani and Unguja Ukuu are best sites (sound recordings was made and uploaded to Xeno-canto.org).
If I should estimate the population it would be around 100 pairs (not more).
Ngezi forest on Pemba was also survey non was found.
I see that there is a lot of speculation on the population status. The reality is that habitats of this species are shrinking. I am not aware of any fieldwork in Tanzania that estimated a good number of these birds in any forest in the recent past. I have spend over 3 weeks in Pugu and Ruvu South forests, doing point counts and mist netting. In the Pugu forest only a single bird was trapped and 3 birds captured in Ruvu South where Baker and Baker (2002) suggested to be a strong hold for this species. In each of these forests I used over 8640 meter-net hours, and over 100 census points were conducted in Pugu forests and 50 points in Ruvu South respectively. This bird occurs in a very low density.
From the habitat and biodiversity assessment conducted by the Tanzania Forest Conservation Group (see the link below), there is a clear indication that the forests have been seriously degraded. Habitat degradation in the coastal forests in Tanzania is increasing due to the high demand of forest products by the ever growing human population. Some of these forests have been fragmented by human development activities such as roads and railways. Invasive plant species are also seen as a potential major threat in these already stressed forests.
Pugu and Kazimzumbwi: http://www.tfcg.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/TFCG-Survey-of-Pugu-and-Kazimzumbwi-FRs-in-2011-and-2012–FINAL.pdf.
I will be happy if the current status, near-Threatened, is retained until we have solid fieldwork outputs on the population and habitat quality. The forest cover changes may not be showing the quality of the habitats that this bird requires.
Many thanks to everyone who has contributed to this discussion. We greatly appreciate the time and effort invested by so many people in commenting. The window for consultation is now closed. We will analyse and interpret the new information and post a preliminary decision on this species’s Red List status on this page in early July.
Thank you once again,
BirdLife Red List Team
Based on available information, our preliminary proposal for the 2021 Red List would be to list East Coast Akalat as Near Threatened, approaching the threshold for listing as threatened under Criterion A3c+4c.
With the additional habitat degradation and the removal of dead logs and moss, it is suspected that the species may experience declines in the range of 20-25% over three generations in the future.
There is now a period for further comments until the final deadline in late July, after which the recommended categorisations will be put forward to IUCN.
The final 2021 Red List categories will be published on the BirdLife and IUCN websites in December 2021, following further checking of information relevant to the assessments by both BirdLife and IUCN.
Recommended categorisation to be put forward to IUCN
The final categorisation for this species has not changed. East Coast Akalat is recommended to be listed as Near Threatened, approaching listing as threatened under Criterion A3c+4c.
Many thanks for everyone who contributed to the 2021 GTB Forum process. The final 2021 Red List categories will be published on the BirdLife and IUCN websites in December 2021, following further checking of information relevant to the assessments by both BirdLife and IUCN.
Comments are closed.
Sign up here to receive email alerts regarding BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums
Thank you for signing up!
Contact the BirdLife Red List Team under redlistteam [at] birdlife [dot] org.