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Dwarf Honeyguide Indicator pumilio
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
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This species is listed as Near Threatened because it is thought to be in moderately rapid decline owing to agricultural encroachment and logging.

Taxonomic source(s)
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.

Distribution and population
Indicator pumilio is restricted to the Albertine Rift mountains in Rwanda, Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), possibly also occurring in Burundi (Fry et al. 1988). It has been described as 'uncommon' ( F. Dowsett-Lemaire in litt. 2013, Rwanda Birding Association per J. Hogg in litt. 2013) and 'rarely seen' (A. Plumptre in litt. 2013), although it is apparently not uncommon at some sites (del Hoyo et al. 2002). This unobtrusive species appears to lack an advertising song and thus is difficult to detect, so it is possible that its apparent overall rarity may simply be a result of under-recording (Dowsett-Lemaire 1990).

Population justification
The population size of this species has not been quantified. It is apparently not uncommon at some sites (del Hoyo et al. 2002), but has been described more widely as 'uncommon' (F. Dowsett-Lemaire in litt. 2013, Rwanda Birding Association per J. Hogg in litt. 2013) and 'rarely seen' (A. Plumptre in litt. 2013).

Trend justification
This species's population is suspected to be in moderately rapid decline owing to the continued destruction, degradation and fragmentation of the Albertine Rift forests (T. Butynski in litt. 2013).

The species favours montane forest at 1,500-2,400 m, and feeds on beeswax and insects (Fry et al. 1988). In Nyungwe Forest, Rwanda, it occurs in semi-open forest in drier areas (Dowsett-Lemaire 1990). Its breeding season in eastern DRC is probably August-December, also May-June and possibly February (del Hoyo et al. 2002). It probably parasitises the nests of tinkerbirds Pogoniulus spp. or small woodpeckers (del Hoyo et al. 2002).

Forest within parts of its range is highly threatened as a result of shifting agriculture and illicit logging, exacerbated by high population pressure (Butynski et al. 1997; Hall et al. 1998; Omari et al. 1999), and the destruction, degradation and fragmentation of the Albertine Rift forests is on-going (T. Butynski in litt. 2013). Gishwati Forest in Rwanda has been eroded greatly but this may have ceased (J. Hogg in litt. 2013). Mukura Forest in Rwanda (which may be suitable for the species, although it has not been recorded there) has been damaged recently by illegal mining and associated tree felling (J. Hogg in litt. 2013). The montane forests of the eastern sector of Congo-Kinshasa (DRC) continue to suffer degradation facilitated by on-going and protracted civil war (F. Dowsett-Lemaire in litt. 2013).

Conservation Actions Underway
The species occurs within the Bwindi-Impenetrable National Park, Kahuzi-Biéga National Park, Virunga National Park and Nyungwe Forest Reserve. Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct surveys to obtain a total population estimate. Monitor population trends through regular surveys. Monitor rates of habitat loss and degradation within the species's range. Increase the area of suitable habitat included in protected areas. Tackle illicit logging through patrols by local rangers.

Butynski, T. M.; Agenonga, U.; Ndera, B.; Hart, J. F. 1997. Rediscovery of the Congo Bay (Itombwe) Owl Phodilus prigoginei. Bulletin of the African Bird Club 4(1): 32-35.

del Hoyo, J.; Elliott, A.; Sargatal, J. 2002. Handbook of the Birds of the World, vol. 7: Jacamars to Woodpeckers. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.

Dowsett-Lemaire, F. 1990. Eco-ethology, distribution and status of Nyungwe Forest birds, Rwanda. In: Dowsett, R.J. (ed.), Enquête faunistique et floristique dans la Forêt de Nyungwe, Rwanda, pp. 31-85. Tauraco Press, Ely, U.K.

Fry, C. H.; Keith, S.; Urban, E. K. 1988. The birds of Africa vol III. Academic Press, London.

Hall, J. S.; Saltonstall, K.; Inogwabini, B.-I.; Omari, I. 1998. Distribution, abundance and conservation status of Grauer's gorilla. Oryx 32: 122-130.

Omari, I.; Hart, J. A.; Butynski, T. M.; Birnashirwa, N. R.; Upoki, A.; M'Keyo, Y.; Bengana, F.; Bashonga, M.; Baguruburnwe, N. 1999. The Itombwe Massif, Democratic Republic of Congo: biological surveys and conservation, with an emphasis on Grauer's gorilla and birds endemic to the Albertine Rift. Oryx 33: 301-322.

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
Evans, M., O'Brien, A., Robertson, P., Symes, A. & Taylor, J.

Butynski, T., Dowsett-Lemaire, F., Finch, B., Hogg, J., Ntahuga, L. & Plumptre, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Indicator pumilio. Downloaded from on 27/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 27/10/2016.

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 - Dwarf honeyguide (Indicator pumilio) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Near Threatened
Family Indicatoridae (Honeyguides)
Species name author Chapin, 1958
Population size Unknown mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 35,600 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species
- Projected distributions under climate change