Obscure Berrypecker Melanocharis arfakiana is currently listed as Data Deficient, on the basis that there is insufficient information available to evaluate the species’s threat status using the IUCN criteria. Recent records have shown the species to be more widespread than previously thought, although its known range is patchy and suggests that it is localised in occurrence (del Hoyo et al. 2008). It may be genuinely scarce; however, it has been suggested that the species has been overlooked in many areas owing to its cryptic nature, and is in fact widespread (del Hoyo et al. 2008).
Up-to-date information on this species is requested to help in the re-evaluation of its status. In particular, estimates of the population size and details of potential threats and their impacts would be useful. Forest in the species’s geographical and altitudinal ranges is under some threat from logging and clearance for agriculture; however, it appears to be tolerant of degraded forest (B. Whitney in litt. 2000), which coupled with recent records suggests it qualifies as Least Concern. Given the species’s patchy range, however, it could conceivably qualify for a higher threat category under the B1 and/or C1 criteria, as its known Extent of Occurrence is estimated at less than 20,000 km2 and its population could be approaching or fewer than 10,000 mature individuals, and may be declining due to habitat loss. This illustrates the need for more data on this species, and any contributions would be welcomed.
del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A. and Christie, D. A. eds. (2008) Handbook of the Birds of the World. Vol. 13: Penduline-tits to Shrikes. Barcelona, Spain: Lynx Edicions.