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Sombre Chat Cercomela dubia
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
Please email us with any relevant information

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.

Distribution and population
Cercomela dubia is a rare and little-known species from east-central Ethiopia and Somalia. In Ethiopia, there are records from the Awash Valley, including Awash National Park, eastwards, while in Somalia there is a single old record from Mt Wagar, at which it has not been found subsequently despite searches (J. Miskell in litt. 2006). There is no recent information on the status of the species in Somalia; it is also uncertain how many records from Awash have involved confusion with the very similar Brown-tailed Chat C. scotocerca (Butchart 2007).

Population justification
This is a poorly known species and no population estimates are available.

The species seems to favour areas of rock and scrub (EWNHS 1996), in common with the closely related Brown-tailed Chat C. scotocerca and Blackstart C. melanura, so it may have been overlooked.

Reports that refugee camps may have caused at least local declines (P. Robertson in litt. 1998) are erroneous as the camps are not in suitable habitat for this species (J. S. Ash in litt. 1999). No other threats are currently known.

Conservation Actions Underway
It has been recorded in Awash National Park. Conservation Actions Proposed
Survey potentially suitable habitat in east-central Ethiopia and Somalia. Study its ecological requirements and threats.

Ash, J. S.; Miskell, J. E. 1998. Birds of Somalia. Pica Press, Robertsbridge, U.K.

Butchart, S. H. M. 2007. Sombre Chat Cercomela dubia. Bulletin of the African Bird Club 14(2): 143.

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.

EWNHS. 1996. Important Bird Areas of Ethiopia: a first inventory. Ethiopian Wildlife and Natural History Society, Addis Ababa.

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
Benstead, P., Bird, J., Butchart, S., Khwaja, N., Robertson, P., Starkey, M.

Ash, J., Miskell, J., Robertson, P.

IUCN Red List evaluators
Butchart, S., Symes, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Cercomela dubia. 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.

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Data Deficient
Family Muscicapidae (Chats and Old World flycatchers)
Species name author (Blundell & Lovat, 1899)
Population size Unknown mature individuals
Population trend Unknown
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 69,800 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species
- Projected distributions under climate change