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Grey-headed Greenbul Phyllastrephus poliocephalus
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 suspected to be in moderately rapid decline owing to habitat loss and degradation.

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
Phyllastrephus poliocephalus is restricted to the montane forests of eastern Nigeria and western Cameroon, where it was discovered on the southern slopes of Mt Manenguba in the 1990s (Dowsett-Lemaire and Dowsett 1999), but is not found in the Bamenda Highlands (Stuart 1986) (earlier records from Mt Oku are now known to be in error [Dowsett-Lemaire and Dowsett 1998]). It is common to very common in suitable habitat (P. Hall in litt. 1999, Dowsett-Lemaire and Dowsett 2000).

Population justification
The global population size has not been quantified, but the species is described as common in suitable habitat (del Hoyo et al. 2005).

Trend justification
The population is suspected to be in moderately rapid decline owing to on-going habitat loss and degradation (del Hoyo et al. 2005).

It inhabits tall, mature rainforest at intermediate elevations (Stuart 1986), and also occurs in secondary forest and secondary growth but always near primary forest (Rodewald et al. 1994). It is found at 500-1,800 m, rarely to 2,000 m, being most abundant at 1,200-1,800 m on Mt Kupe (del Hoyo et al. 2005). It feeds on insects, and forages mainly in the middle-strata and canopy, periodically descending to 3-4 m. Observations from Cameroon suggest that breeding takes place in November-April (del Hoyo et al. 2005).

Forest within the species's range is threatened by unsustainable exploitation for timber and firewood, uncontrolled burning and encroachment for agriculture (Stattersfield et al. 1998). The montane and semi-montane forests of western Cameroon are under increasing pressure for conversion to gardens and, especially in recent years, for establishing vast oil palm plantations, which have encroached upon some of the Bakossi block of forest, for example (F. Dowsett-Lemaire in litt. 2013).

Conservation Actions Underway
It occurs in Banyang-Mbo Wildlife Sanctuary and Rumpi Hills Forest Reserve in Cameroon (del Hoyo et al. 2005). Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct surveys to obtain a total population estimate. Monitor population trends through regular surveys. Monitor rates of habitat loss and degradation. Increase the area of habitat that is protected.

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.

Dowsett-Lemaire, F.; Dowsett, R. J. 1998. Surveys of Oku Mt and other IBAs in NW Province (Cameroon), February-March 1998.

Dowsett-Lemaire, F.; Dowsett, R. J. 1999. Survey of birds and amphibians on Mt Manenguba, Mt Nlonako, north Bakossi and around Kupe in 1988-99.

Dowsett-Lemaire, F.; Dowsett, R. J. 2000. Further biological surveys of Manenguba and Central Bakossi in March 2000, and an evaluation of the conservation importance of Manenguba, Bakossi, Kupe and Nlonako Mts, with special reference to birds.

Rodewald, P. G.; Dejaifve, P. A.; Green, A. A. 1994. The birds of Korup National Park and Korup Project Area, Southwest Province, Cameroon. Bird Conservation International 4: 1-68.

Stattersfield, A. J.; Crosby, M. J.; Long, A. J.; Wege, D. C. 1998. Endemic bird areas of the world: priorities for bird conservation. BirdLife International, Cambridge, U.K.

Stuart, S. N. 1986. Conservation of Cameroon montane forests. International Council for Bird Preservation, Cambridge, U.K.

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

Hall, P., Dowsett, R. & Dowsett-Lemaire, F.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Phyllastrephus poliocephalus. Downloaded from on 21/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 21/10/2016.

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 Near Threatened
Family Pycnonotidae (Bulbuls)
Species name author (Reichenow, 1892)
Population size Unknown mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 31,400 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species
- Projected distributions under climate change