Tablas Drongo Dicrurus menagei has been split from Hair-crested Drongo D. hottentottus following del Hoyo et al. (2009). D. menagei is found only on Tablas Island in west-central Philippines, where by 1997 it was considered probably extinct after many decades without any reports. Observations since 1998, however, have confirmed that the species is extant, albeit rare (Allen 2006).
It is found in relatively mature, closed-canopy forest, with occasional records from the edge of clearings, but it is absent from open areas (Allen 2006). Evidence suggests that the species’s habitat is in decline. Extensive forest clearance is believed to have taken place on Tablas Island since the beginning of the 20th Century, with a substantial proportion of the island now used for cultivation and livestock-rearing. Rice fields are common in lowland areas, while rough pasture and coconut plantations are found in the hills. Remnants of original forest over 10 m tall are present only around the summit and south-eastern slopes of Mt Palaupau, where forest is maintained as a watershed for nearby settlements. There are reportedly very few registered forest patches that exceed 100 ha, and apparently a complete lack of mature forest in the south of the island (Allen 2006; del Hoyo et al. 2009). This suggests a high degree of habitat fragmentation; however, to be considered severely fragmented over 50% of the species’s habitat must be in patches too small to support viable populations. Small-scale logging is still a threat (del Hoyo et al. 2009), suggesting that habitat is still being lost.
Although data are lacking on its population size and exact distribution, it is proposed that this species be listed as Endangered under criterion B1a+b(i,ii,iii,iv,v), on the basis that it occupies an Extent of Occurrence (EOO) liberally estimated at 680 km2 (approximate total area of Tablas Island), in which its habitat is provisionally considered to be severely fragmented, and ongoing declines are suspected in the EOO, Area of Occupancy, area, extent and quality of habitat, number of locations or sub-populations and number of mature individuals. These declines are suspected because of ongoing habitat loss and degradation.
Comments are invited on this proposed listing and additional information is requested to assist in the evaluation of the species’s threat status.
Allen, D. (2006) New records and other observations of birds on the island of Tablas, Philippines. Forktail (22): 77-84.
del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A. and Christie, D. A. eds. (2009) Handbook of the Birds of the World, vol. 14: Bush-shrikes to Old World Sparrows. Barcelona, Spain: Lynx Edicions.