This species has a small and severely fragmented range, within parts of which there is a continuing decline in the extent and quality of its forest habitat and, by inference, its population too. It is therefore considered Vulnerable.
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 populationApalis chariessa
15 cm. Small warbler of forest. Black upperparts. Bright, golden-yellow underparts. Conspicuous white wing panels. White throat with black breast-band. Exceptionally long tail. Female paler, lacks breast-band. Voice Rapid, repeated tee-luu dee-lu.
has a disjunct range in Kenya
(possibly extinct), Tanzania
. In Kenya, the nominate subspecies is known only from the lower Tana river, but has not been seen since 1961 (Butynski 1994, L. Bennun in litt
1999, Oyugi and Amutete 1999). In Tanzania, subspecies macphersoni
is found in the Uluguru and Udzungwa Mountains, where a density of 17 pairs/km2
was recorded at one site, otherwise being uncommon to relatively common at other sites (Svendsen and Hansen 1995, Butynski 2003). The Udzungwas hold the largest population of the species, occurring at nine localities, with a best guess of 'a couple of thousand' individuals (Dinesen et al
. 2001). This race also occurs in a small area of forest on Mt Chiperone in Mozambique (Benson 1950), as well as at nine main sites in south-eastern Malawi (500-1,550 m), where the total population was c.100 pairs in 1983 (Dowsett-Lemaire 1989), but has certainly declined since then (F. Dowsett-Lemaire and R. J. Dowsett in litt.
1999, 2000). At Mt Namuli, the species is restricted to strips of riparian forest on the lower slopes (F. Dowsett-Lemaire in litt
. 2008). It is very rare on Mt Mulanje, with two records on the southern slopes at 1,000 m and 1,300 m in 2006 (F. Dowsett-Lemaire in litt
. 2008). Population justification
Forests in the Udzungwas contain the largest population of the species, with a best guess of 'a couple of thousand individuals'. In Malawi, the population is thought to be around 100 individuals or more (L. Dinesen in litt
. 2007), in Mozambique the species only occupies a small area of forest, and in Kenya it may be extinct. In light of this information, the species is placed in the range band for 2,500-9,999 individuals. This equates to 1,667-6,666 mature individuals, rounded here to 1,500-7,000 mature individuals.Trend justification
The population is suspected to be in decline owing to the clearance and degradation of forests across the species's range, although the likely rate of decline has not been estimated.Ecology
This is a leaf- and twig-gleaning insectivore of the forest canopy and edge. It is most frequent in tall, wet, luxuriant forest, generally below 1,600 m (Svendsen and Hansen 1995)
, but up to 2,000 m (Dinesen et al.
. It inhabits forest dominated by Albizia
spp., being most abundant on the edges of forest or in riparian strips, and avoiding substantial blocks of primary forest (F. Dowsett-Lemaire in litt
. It is often seen feeding in Albizia
trees, and has been observed to forage almost exclusively in the canopy up to 35 m above the ground, but on a few occasions, has been seen down to 3-4 m in light gaps (Dinesen et al.
The lower Tana river forests are threatened by encroachment for agriculture and unsustainable tree-felling for poles and canoes (L. Bennun in litt
. Its population in south-eastern Malawi is under severe threat, with forest clearance continuing at all sites, there will soon be very little habitat remaining (F. Dowsett-Lemaire in litt.
outside some small patches on private tea-estates (F. Dowsett-Lemaire and R. J. Dowsett in litt.
. Forest on Mt Chiperone is untouched at present, but clearance for small-scale agriculture and logging is likely to occur in the near future (V. Parker in litt.
. In the Udzungwas, several forest fragments are under increasing pressure, although the species's survival is not immediately threatened in this area (L. Dinesen in litt
. No protection measures are planned for the habitat occupied by the species on Mt Namuli, and it is expected to disappear from the area (F. Dowsett-Lemaire in litt
. Conservation Actions Underway
In Tanzania, conservation action in the Uluguru Mountains is aiming to assist local initiatives and increase the involvement of local communities in forest management (Buckley and Matilya 1998)
. The Udzungwa Mountains National Park is supported by a community forestry programme. Several other parts of its range in the Udzungwas are protected in forest reserves, and participatory forest management activities are supported at several sites, although pressure on some forest patches continues to increase (L. Dinesen in litt
. In Kenya, some lower Tana river forests, where this species may still occur, are part of a major conservation programme. Conservation Actions Proposed
Initiate a campaign in Malawi of land reform and conservation of water resources through the maintenance of remaining forest reserves (M. Dyer in litt
. 1999, F. Dowsett-Lemaire and R. J. Dowsett in litt.
. Survey the lower Tana river forests to clarify whether it still occurs there. Assess its status on Mt Chiperone (V. Parker in litt.
. Conduct further surveys on Mt Namuli to determine the exact location of the main population there (F. Dowsett-Lemaire in litt
. Establish a programme to monitor its population and habitat on a regular basis in Tanzanian and Malawian forests.
Benson, C. W. 1950. A collection from Chiperoni Mountain, Portuguese East Africa. Bulletin of the British Ornithologists' Club 70: 51.
Buckley, P.; Matilya, J. G. 1998. Saving Tanzania's mountain forests. World Birdwatch 20: 16-19.
Butynski, T. M. 1994. Uluguru Violet-backed Sunbirds Anthreptes neglectus at Tana, Kenya. Scopus 18: 62-64.
Butynski, T. M.; Ehardt, C. L. 2003. Notes on ten restricted-range birds in the Udzungwa Mountains, Tanzania. Scopus 23: 12-27.
Dinesen, L.; Lehmberg, T.; Rahner, M. C.; Fjeldsa, J. 2001. Conservation priorities for the forests of the Udzungwa Mountains, Tanzania, based on primates, duikers and birds. Biological Conservation 99: 223-236.
Dinesen, L.; Lehmberg, T.; Svendsen, J. O.; Hansen, L. A. 1993. Range extensions and other notes on some restricted-range forest birds from West Kilombero in the Udzungwa Mountains, Tanzania. Scopus 17: 48-59.
Dowsett-Lemaire, F. 1989. Ecological and biogeographical aspects of forest bird communities in Malawi. Scopus 13: 1-80.
Oyugi, J.; Amutete, A. 1999. Avifauna of the lower Tana River forests: a preliminary survey. Research Reports of the Centre for Biodiversity, National Museums of Kenya: Ornithology 35.
Svendsen, J. O.; Hansen, L. A. 1995. Report on the Uluguru Biodiversity Survey 1993. Royal Society for the Protection of Birds/Tanzania Forestry Research Institute/Centre for Tropical Biodiversity, Sandy, U.K.
Further web sources of information
Explore HBW Alive for further information on this species
View photos and videos and hear sounds of this species from the Internet Bird Collection
Text account compilers
Ekstrom, J., Evans, M., Shutes, S., Starkey, M., Symes, A., Taylor, J.
Bennun, L., Dinesen, L., Dowsett, R., Dowsett-Lemaire, F., Dyer, M., Parker, V.
IUCN Red List evaluators
Butchart, S., Taylor, J.
BirdLife International (2015) Species factsheet: Apalis chariessa. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 30/07/2015.
Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2015) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 30/07/2015.
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.
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