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Grand Comoro Flycatcher Humblotia flavirostris
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This species is classified as Endangered since it has a very small range, occurring at only one location, an active volcano, where there has been a continuing decline in the extent and quality of its forest habitat. It may be adapting to these changes, but the habitat remains threatened and insufficiently protected.

Taxonomic source(s)
Dowsett, R. J.; Forbes-Watson, A. D. 1993. Checklist of birds of the Afrotropical and Malagasy regions. Tauraco Press, Li
Sibley, C. G.; Monroe, B. L. 1990. Distribution and taxonomy of birds of the world. Yale University Press, New Haven, USA.

14 cm. Small, dark-capped and streaked forest flycatcher. Upperparts brownish with white edgings to secondary coverts. Crown heavily striped and appears as dark cap in the field. Underparts buffy, heavily overlaid with dark brown streaking. Yellowish-orange bill and legs. Voice Soft, sharp trill. Hints It flycatches from the lowest branches of small trees or bushes, often feeding in small parties of two or three, but has never been seen in mixed-species flocks (Louette and Stevens 1992).

Distribution and population
Humblotia flavirostris occurs only on the slopes of Mt Karthala, an active volcano, on Grand Comoro (= Ngazidja) in the Comoro Islands.

Population justification
The population size is preliminarily estimated to fall into the band 10,000-19,999 individuals. This equates to 6,667-13,333 mature individuals, rounded here to 6,000-15,000 mature individuals.

Trend justification
The population is suspected to be in decline owing to the on-going destruction and degradation of the species's forest habitat and the effects of introduced species. The likely rate of decline has not been estimated.

This insectivorous species is present throughout forest on Mt Karthala over a wide altitudinal range (Louette and Stevens 1992). It is limited to areas with remaining tall trees but seems tolerant of shrubby, cultivated or open areas in the forest - it has even been observed in pure Philippia tree-heath above the forest belt (Louette and Stevens 1992). The only known nest was a cup in the upper branches of a 12-15 m high tree in pioneer woodland where at least two young were seen (Herremans et al. 1991b).

With this island's large, increasing human population (Herremans et al. 1991b), the major threat to this species is the clearance of forest for agriculture, which is occurring on all but the poorest soils. Since 1983, intact forest may have declined by over 25% as agriculture has advanced steadily up the slopes of Mt Karthala. Secondary forest in the agricultural belt is dominated by exotic plants, particularly strawberry guava Psidium cattleianum, which could spread into and degrade remaining native forest. Commercial logging occurs in a 50 km2 concession on the south-west slopes. The tree-heath zone is threatened by browsing cattle and by fire used to stimulate growth of palatable shoots. Introduced rats and Common Myna Acridotheres tristis may act as nest predators. If plans to build a road to Mt Karthala's crater are resurrected, exploitation and fragmentation of the forest, and the spread of exotic species, could be accelerated (Safford 2001).

Conservation Actions Underway
A protected area (national park, biosphere reserve or resource management area) on Mt Karthala has been proposed, but has not yet materialised (Louette et al. 1988, Safford 2001). Conservation Actions Proposed
Research the ecology of this species to assess its ability to adapt to degraded habitats. Create a protected area on Mt Karthala to encompass the known range of the species, and develop a land-use strategy (Louette and Stevens 1992, Safford 2001). Consider reforestation of grasslands on the island's central ridge (Safford 2001). Develop an environmental education programme on the island (Louette and Stevens 1992). Encourage locally-organised ecotourism as an alternative source of income for inhabitants of the Mt Karthala area (Safford 2001).

Herremans, M.; Louette, M.; Stevens, J. 1991. Discovery of the nest of Humblot's Flycatcher Humblotia flavirostris. Bulletin of the British Ornithologists' Club 111: 145-146.

Louette, M.; Stevens, J. 1992. Conserving the endemic birds on the Comoro Islands, 1: general considerations on survival prospects. Bird Conservation International 2: 61-80.

Louette, M.; Stevens, J.; Bijnens, L.; Janssens, L. 1988. Survey of the endemic avifauna of the Comoro Islands. International Council for Bird Preservation, Cambridge, U.K.

Safford, R. J. 2001. Comoros. In: Fishpool, L.D.C.; Evans, M.I. (ed.), Important Bird Areas in Africa and associated islands: Priority sites for conservation, pp. 185-190. Pisces Publications and BirdLife International (BirdLife Conservation Series No.11), Newbury and Cambridge, UK.

Further web sources of information
Alliance for Zero Extinction (AZE) species/site profile. This species has been identified as an AZE trigger due to its IUCN Red List status and limited range.

Click here for more information about the Alliance for Zero Extinction (AZE)

Explore HBW Alive for further information on this species

Search for photos and videos, and hear sounds of this species from the Internet Bird Collection

Text account compilers
Ekstrom, J., Pilgrim, J., Shutes, S., Symes, A., Taylor, J., Warren, B.

IUCN Red List evaluators
Butchart, S., Taylor, J.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Humblotia flavirostris. Downloaded from on 26/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 26/10/2016.

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.

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife

To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.

Additional resources for this species

ARKive species - Grand Comoro flycatcher (Humblotia flavirostris) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Endangered
Family Muscicapidae (Chats and Old World flycatchers)
Species name author Milne-Edwards & Oustalet, 1885
Population size 6000-15000 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 200 km2
Country endemic? Yes
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species