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Abyssinian Longclaw Macronyx flavicollis
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
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This species is classed as Near Threatened because it probably has a moderately small population, which is potentially in decline owing to the conversion and alteration of its grassland habitat. Evidence that suggests it has a small, declining population might qualify the species for 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.

Distribution and population
Macronyx flavicollis is endemic to the highlands of Ethiopia, where it is absent only in the extreme north and west (Keith et al. 1992). The species is widespread, but was described as uncommon at all of the nine sites where it was recorded during a survey of Important Bird Areas during 1995-1996 (EWNHS 1996). Previously it had been described as "locally scarce to abundant" (Keith et al. 1992), and a survey in 1989 suggested that it was less common than in the 1970s (Ash and Gullick 1989).

Population justification
The population size of this species has not been quantified; it was considered uncommon in the 1990s.

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

It is a bird of open grassland, including tussock-grassland on moorland, and has once been found nesting in crops (Keith et al. 1992). It occurs from 1,200 to 4,100 m and is commonest between 1,800 and 2,750 m (Keith et al. 1992). This species forages on the ground and its diet comprises insects and other invertebrates (del Hoyo et al. 2004). Breeding occurs mainly in June-August, occassionally in February. The nest, in which 2-3 eggs are laid, is a grass cup lined with fibre or horsehair, situated on the ground amoung young crops or grass (del Hoyo et al. 2004).

If its sensitivity to habitat alteration is similar to that of related species such as Sharpe's Longclaw Macronyx sharpei, then it could well be declining as a result of the increasing levels of cultivation and grazing that are a consequence of the continuing expansion of Ethiopia's human population.

Conservation Actions Underway
No targeted conservation action is known for the species. Conservation Actions Proposed
Carry out surveys to assess the population size. Monitor population trends through regular surveys. Study the impact on the species of changing land-use. Carry out research into the species's ecology. Protect areas of suitable habitat.

Ash, J. S.; Gullick, T. M. 1989. The present situation regarding the endemic breeding birds of Ethiopia. Scopus 13: 90-96.

del Hoyo, J.; Elliott, A.; Christie, D. 2004. Handbook of the Birds of the World, vol. 9: Cotingas to Pipits and Wagtails. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.

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

Keith, S.; Urban, E. K.; Fry, C. H. 1992. The birds of Africa vol. IV. Academic Press, London.

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

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

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Macronyx flavicollis. Downloaded from on 22/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 22/10/2016.

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 - Abyssinian longclaw (Macronyx flavicollis) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Near Threatened
Family Motacillidae (Wagtails and pipits)
Species name author Rüppell, 1840
Population size Unknown mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 371,000 km2
Country endemic? Yes
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species
- Projected distributions under climate change