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Pollen's Vanga Xenopirostris polleni
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
Please email us with any relevant information

This species is listed as Near Threatened because it is thought to have a moderately small population which is expected to experience a moderately rapid population decline over the next ten years, owing to forest clearance and degradation. Any evidence that it has a small population, or is undergoing a rapid population decline, might qualify the species for uplisting to a higher threat category.

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.

A solid, thick-billed vanga. Males are black-hooded, with the upper breast in addition black; the underparts are whitish and the back grey. The bill is pale blue. Females are similar but the hood covers only the head and the breast is pink- or orange-tinged. Similar spp. Males are distinguished from Ashy Cuckoo-shrike Coracina cinerea and females from Tylas Vanga Tylas eduardi by the conspicuous deep pale blue bill. Hints Rather scarce, apparently most common in mid- and high-altitudes in southern Malagasy rainforest, where it may be found stripping moss off branches in mixed-species flocks. This and the next species share the characteristic Xenopirostris whistle, a loud tseeang.

Distribution and population
Xenopirostris polleni is patchily distributed in primary humid evergreen forest throughout eastern Madagascar. It is fairly common between Andohahela and Ranomafana, from sea-level to 1,950 m, but seems to be much scarcer in the northern half of its range (Goodman et al. 1997, Hawkins and Goodman 1999).

Population justification
The population size of this species has not been quantified; it is considered locally common to scarce.

This species occupies the middle and upper levels of undisturbed rainforest (Langrand 1990). It often joins other large vangas in mixed-species flocks, foraging for invertebrates (e.g. caterpillars, insects and spiders) on dead wood, especially under dead bark and in twigs (Langrand 1990, Morris and Hawkins 1998). Nesting has been observed in October-December, and its clutch-size is two eggs.

The species's forest habitat is threatened by slash-and-burn cultivation for subsistence farming (Du Puy and Moat 1996) and commercial logging (A. F. A. Hawkins in litt. 1995). If present trends continue, much of the remaining forest, especially at lower altitudes, will disappear within decades (Du Puy and Moat 1996).

Conservation Actions Underway
No direct conservation action is known for this species. Conservation Actions Proposed
Carry out surveys to obtain a total population estimate. Monitor population trends through regular surveys. Monitor rates of habitat loss and degradation across its range. Protect important areas of habitat for the species.

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.

del Hoyo, J.; Elliott, A.; Christie, D. 2009. Handbook of the Birds of the World, vol. 14: Bush-shrikes to Old World Sparrows. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.

Du Puy, D. J.; Moat, J. 1996. A refined classification of the primary vegetation of Madagascar based on the underlying geology: using GIS to map its distribution and to assess its conservation status. In: Lourenço, W.R. (ed.), Proceedings of the International Symposium on the biogeography of Madagascar, pp. 205-218. ORSTOM, Paris.

Goodman, S. M.; Hawkins, A. F. A.; Domergue, C. 1997. A new species of vanga (Vangidae, Calicalicus) from southwestern Madagascar. Bulletin of the British Ornithologists' Club 117: 5-10.

Hawkins, A. F. A.; Goodman, S. M. 1999. Bird Community Variation with Elevation and Habitat in Parcels 1 and 2 of the Réserve Naturelle Intégrale d'Andohahela, Madagascar. Fieldiana Zoology News Series No. 94, pp. 175-186. Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago, IL.

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.

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., Shutes, S., Starkey, M., Symes, A., Taylor, J.

Hawkins, F., Langrand, O.

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

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Xenopirostris polleni. Downloaded from on 25/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 25/10/2016.

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 - Pollen’s vanga (Xenopirostris polleni) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Near Threatened
Family Vangidae (Vangas)
Species name author (Schlegel, 1868)
Population size Unknown mature individuals
Population trend Unknown
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 61,300 km2
Country endemic? Yes
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species