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Mrs Moreau's Warbler Bathmocercus winifredae
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
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This species has a small range, within which it has a severely fragmented distribution, and in several parts of which its habitat is declining in both extent and quality. It is therefore considered Vulnerable.

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.

Taxonomic note
The newly described taxon rubehoensis (‘Rubeho Warbler’: Bowie et al. 2009) was named as a species characterised by: deeper red head (1); more conspicuously mottled underparts (1–2); proportionately slightly longer bill (no score); 1.6% distance in mtDNA (no score). Vocal differences are not described. However, the taxon, acknowledged otherwise to be very poorly known in the field, was recognised in 1993 by one of authors, by its ‘characteristic song’, which implies that this must be very close to that of the better known winifredae. Our scoring above is based on the original description without access to specimen material. However, there seem to be no grounds for regarding rubehoensis as anything more than a subspecies of winifredae.

Scepomycter winifredae Sibley and Monroe (1990, 1993)

13-15 cm. Medium-sized forest warbler, found in dense and tall herbaceous vegetation, especially in glades and disturbed forest. Uniform olive-brown, with marginally darker wings and tail. Rich rufous to henna-red face, throat and breast, and with fine buffy vermiculations on belly, vent and flanks. Female duller version of male. Voice Extraordinary piercing, whistled song usually delivered as duet. Hints Travels through undergrowth in pairs, constantly moving, up to 6 m above ground.

Distribution and population
Bathmocercus winifredae is found in four mountain forests in eastern Tanzania. In the Uluguru and Ukaguru Mountains, it is widespread within a very narrow altitudinal belt (Evans and Anderson 1993, Svendsen and Hansen 1995), although the density of territories is variable (Svendsen and Hansen 1995), while in the Udzungwas there is a single record from Mwanihana Forest, where it has not been recorded since the late 1980s, despite much searching (J. Fjeldså in litt. 2007, 2012, L. Hansen in litt. 2007), and the sole record is now thought to have probably been an error (J. Fjeldså in litt. 2012). In Ukwiva Forest Reserve (100 km2) in the Rubeho Mountains, between the Udzungwas and Ukagurus, the species was found to be fairly common (Fjeldså et al. 1997), but probably localised and patchy in occurrence (J. Fjeldså in litt. 2007).

Population justification
The population size is preliminarily estimated to fall into the band 10,000-19,999 individuals. This equates to 6,667-13,333 mature individuals, rounded here to 6,000-15,000 mature individuals.

Trend justification
The population is suspected to be in decline owing to ongoing habitat destruction.

It occurs in the understorey of montane forest, and prefers disturbed areas where there is very dense undergrowth or lush herbaceous vegetation, e.g. natural clearings, near streams, areas disturbed by landslides, elephants and buffalo (Fjeldså et al. 1997), and even heavily disturbed, low forest (Fjeldså et al. 1997). It is often trapped in mist-nets at 1-1.5 m above the ground (L. Hansen in litt. 2007). It feeds on a wide variety of invertebrates. The breeding season is from October to March, but the nest and clutch-size are not known to science.

Extremely inaccessible terrain within the Uluguru Nature Reserve has protected the main montane forest block in the Ulugurus, but forest here only covers c.120 km2 and the lower slopes are being steadily cleared for farming (J. Fjeldså in litt. 2007, N. Burgess in litt. 2007, 2012). Most parts of the Rubeho mountains have high human populations and Brachystegia woodland on the slopes is maintained by frequent burning  (Bowie et al. 2009); the highlands may have been more extensively cleared in the past (J. Fjeldså in litt. 2007, Bowie et al. 2009). Forest reserves in the Ukagurus are protected by their inaccessibility. While the species depends entirely on forest for its survival, it may tolerate considerable human disturbance in the forest interior as long as dense herbaceous vegetation is allowed to regenerate (J. Fjeldså in litt. 2007), since clearings are its natural habitat (Svendsen and Hansen 1995).

Conservation Actions Underway
The Uluguru forests are included in the Uluguru Nature Reserve (N. Burgess in litt. 2012). There are two water PES projects doing some agricultural work and also a reforestation project by WCST in the Bunduki gap (N. Burgess in litt. 2012). Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct a survey to estimate its population size and range. Establish a scheme to monitor trends in its population and range. Monitor rates of forest clearance and degradation within the species's range. Increase the area of suitable habitat that has protected status. Continue to involve local people in forest management practices that will benefit the species.

Bowie, R. C. K.; Fjeldså, J.; Kiure, J. 2009. Multilocus molecular DNA variation in Winifred's Warbler Sceptomycter winifredae suggests cryptic speciation and the existence of a threatened species in the Rubeho-Ukaguru Mountains of Tanzania. Ibis 151: 709-719.

Buckley, P.; Matilya, J. G. 1998. Saving Tanzania's mountain forests. World Birdwatch 20: 16-19.

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.

Evans, T. D.; Anderson, G. Q. A. 1993. Results of an ornithological survey in the Ukaguru and East Usambara mountains, Tanzania. Scopus 17: 40-47.

Fjeldså, J.; Howell, K.; Andersen, M. 1997. An ornithological visit to the Rubeho Mountains, Tanzania. Scopus 19: 73-82.

Jensen, F. P.; Brøgger-Jensen, S. 1992. The forest avifauna of the Uzungwa Mountains, Tanzania. Scopus 15: 65-83.

Sibley, C. G.; Monroe, B. L. 1993. A supplement to 'Distribution and taxonomy of birds of the world'. Yale University Press, New Haven, USA.

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

Search for photos and videos, and hear sounds of this species from the Internet Bird Collection

Text account compilers
Benstead, P., Ekstrom, J., Shutes, S., Starkey, M., Symes, A., Taylor, J.

Burgess, N., Fjeldså, J., Hansen, L., Svendsen, J.

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

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Bathmocercus winifredae. Downloaded from on 26/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 26/10/2016.

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 - Mrs Moreau’s warbler (Bathmocercus winifredae) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Vulnerable
Family Sylviidae (Old World warblers)
Species name author (Moreau, 1938)
Population size 6000-15000 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 6,700 km2
Country endemic? Yes
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species
- Projected distributions under climate change