This species is listed as Vulnerable because it has a small range which is severely fragmented and decreasing. Consequently its small population is suspected to be declining and is likely to suffer a rapid decline over the next three generations.
del Hoyo, J.; Collar, N. J.; Christie, D. A.; Elliott, A.; Fishpool, L. D. C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International.
Mesitornis variegata Collar et al. (1994), Mesitornis variegata Collar and Andrew (1988), Mesitornis variegata Sibley and Monroe (1990, 1993), Mesitornis variegata BirdLife International (2000)
31 cm. Low-slung, rail-like terrestrial bird with full tail and rather small head. Upperparts rufous-brown, with grey patch on upper mantle and wide, dark-bordered supercilium. Bill rather short, dark greyish and straight. Slight blue eye-ring, whitish face, with black malar stripes merging into variable pale chestnut breast-band. Lower breast covered in scattered black crescents, narrowly barred belly, mottled blackish. Similar spp. Told from terrestrial couas Coua by whitish supercilium, shorter legs, and narrower, longer bill. Brown Mesite M. unicolor lacks white, spotted underparts and striking head-pattern. Hints Walks slowly over the leaf-covered floor of primary forest, flicking over leaves in search of invertebrates.
Collar, N. J.; Stuart, S. N. 1985. Threatened birds of Africa and related islands: the ICBP/IUCN Red Data Book. International Council for Bird Preservation, and International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, Cambridge, U.K.
Hawkins, A. F. A. 1994. Conservation status and regional population estimates of the White-breasted Mesite Mesitornis variegata, a rare Malagasy endemic. Bird Conservation International 4: 279-303.
Langrand, O. 1990. Guide to the birds of Madagascar. Yale University Press, New Haven, USA.
Morris, P.; Hawkins, F. 1998. Birds of Madagascar: a photographic guide. Pica Press, Robertsbridge, UK.
ZICOMA. 1999. Zones d'Importance pour la Conservation des Oiseaux a Madagascar.
Further web sources of information
Explore HBW Alive for further information on this species
Text account compilers
Benstead, P., Ekstrom, J., Evans, M., Symes, A., Taylor, J.
Ekstrom, J., Hawkins, F.
IUCN Red List evaluators
Butchart, S., Taylor, J.
BirdLife International (2015) Species factsheet: Mesitornis variegatus. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 28/02/2015. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2015) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 28/02/2015.
This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.
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Additional resources for this species
|Current IUCN Red List category||Vulnerable|
|Species name author||Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, 1838|
|Population size||5300 mature individuals|
|Distribution size (breeding/resident)||6,100 km2|
|Links to further information|
|- Additional Information on this species|