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Rubeho Akalat Sheppardia aurantiithorax
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This relatively recently described species has been classified as Endangered owing to ongoing habitat loss and fragmentation which is thought to be reducing its already very small range.

Taxonomic source(s)
Beresford, P.; Fjeldså, J.; Kiure, J. 2004. A new species of Akalat (Sheppardia) narrowly endemic in the Eastern Arc of Tanzania. The Auk 121(1): 23-34.

Taxonomic note
Described as new to science by Beresford et al. (2004).

Distribution and population
Sheppardia aurantiithorax is endemic to Tanzania, where it is restricted to montane forest at 1,660-2,400 m in the Rubeho highland, the small Wota forest in the Wota Mountains, north-west of the Rubehos, the Ukaguru Mountains (Beresford et al. 2004) and Mt Kiboriani (Fjeldså et al. 2010). There is also one record from 400 m altitude just north-east of the Uluguru Mountains, although this is thought to involve a rare case of straggling outside the breeding season (J. Fjeldså in litt. 2012). Though it was first mist-netted in 1989 it was only described in 2004 (J. Fjeldså in litt. 2007). It is considered fairly common within its narrow altitudinal range (J. Fjeldså in litt. 2007).

Population justification
The population size of this species has not been quantified, but it is described as fairly common.

Trend justification
The species is suspected to be declining at a slow to moderate rate, owing to habitat loss and degradation.

It inhabits the understorey of montane moist plateau forest between 1,660 m and 2,400 m (Fjeldså et al. 2010). It tolerates some habitat degradation (J. Fjeldså in litt. 2007).

Though its range includes one of the largest intact blocks of forest in the Eastern Arc Mountains, logging of large trees and clearance of forest for agriculture are still a threat and forest is very degraded and patchy in parts of its small range (N. Baker in litt. 2006, J. Fjeldså in litt. 2007, Burgess et al. 2007, Hall et al. 2009). Cannabis cultivation in this remote area occurs on a fairly large scale due to the remoteness of the location (N. Baker in litt. 2006).

Conservation Actions Underway
There are a number of forest reserves in the Rubeho mountains, Ukaguru mountains, Uluguru mountains, and covering the Wota forest. These reserves provide some protection, but management effectiveness is low (N. Burgess in litt. 2012).Conservation Actions Proposed
Assess the extent and impact of logging and habitat degradation on populations. Improve management of the Forest Reserves where the species occurs.

Beresford, P.; Fjeldså, J.; Kiure, J. 2004. A new species of Akalat (Sheppardia) narrowly endemic in the Eastern Arc of Tanzania. The Auk 121(1): 23-34.

Burgess, N. D.; Balmford, A.; Cordeiro, N. J.; Fjeldså, J.; Küper, W.; Rahbek, C.; Sanderson, E. W.; Scharlermann, J. P. W.; Sommer, J. H.; Williams, P. H. 2007. Correlations amongst species distributions, human density and human infrastructure across the high biodiversity tropical mountains of Africa. Biological Conservation 134(2): 164-177.

del Hoyo, J.; Elliott, A.; Christie, D. 2005. Handbook of the Birds of the World, vol. 10: Cuckoo-shrikes to Thrushes. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.

Fjeldså, J.; Kiure, J.; Doggart, N.; Hansen, L. A.; Perkin, A. 2010. Distribution of higland forest birds accross a potential dispersal barrier in the Eastern Arc Mountains of Tanzania. Steenstrupia 32(1): 1-43.

Hall, J.; Burgess, N.D.; Lovett, J.; Mbilinyi, B.; Gereau, R.E. 2009. Conservation implications of deforestation across an elevational gradient in the Eastern Arc Mountains, Tanzania. Biological Conservation 142: 2510-2521.

Further web sources of information
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
Mahood, S., Symes, A.

Baker, N., Burgess, N., Fjeldså, J.

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

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Sheppardia aurantiithorax. 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.

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Endangered
Family Muscicapidae (Chats and Old World flycatchers)
Species name author Beresford, Fjelds
Population size Unknown mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 550 km2
Country endemic? Yes
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species