Initial deadline for comments: 31 January 2012 [note that this has been moved back by about two months].
Monteiro’s Bush-shrike Malaconotus monteiri is currently listed as Data Deficient because there has previously been insufficient information available to assess its status against the IUCN criteria.
The species was known only from a small number of records from a few sites in the escarpment zone of Angola and from Mt Cameroon and Mt Kupe in Cameroon. However, surveys of the Angolan escarpment in 2005 found the species to be more widespread than previously thought, being present from the Dande River south to Gungo (Mills and Dean 2007, Mills 2010). The species’s listing as Data Deficient is partly a result of problems in differentiating this species from the very similar Grey-headed Bush-shrike M. blanchoti (Mills 2010). For example, only one of 14 specimens listed as M. monteiri in the American Museum of Natural History database was found to be correctly identified, with others actually belonging to M. blanchoti (T. Trombone and P. Sweet per Mills 2010). The locations of verified specimens range from the Dande River (probably near Caxito) in the north, and Canjala (Egito) in the south (Mills and Dean 2007, Mills 2010), covering a linear distance of c.400 km (Mills 2010). Records from Mt Moco, Quipeio and Chitau are thought to relate to M. blanchoti and the possibility of the continued presence of M. monteiri in Cameroon requires verification (Mills 2010 and references therein).
During surveys of the Angolan escarpment in 2005, the species was observed at eight out of 13 sites visited (Mills 2010). It occurs in drier forest above and below the main scarp, but not in the moister forest on the main scarp, and is locally fairly common (Mills 2010). Remapping of the species’s range with reference to the information provided by Mills (2010) has resulted in an estimated Extent of Occurrence (EOO) of c.25,400 km2. This estimate approaches the range size threshold for Vulnerable under criterion B1, the species has been recorded from more than 10 locations and there is no evidence that its habitat is severely fragmented (more than 50% in patches too small to support viable populations), suggesting that it qualifies as Near Threatened. Habitat loss through clearance for subsistence agriculture is thought to be on-going (W. R. J. Dean in litt. 1999), thus there are considered to be continuing declines in the area, extent and/or quality of habitat.
Comments are invited on the proposal to list this species as Near Threatened under criterion B1a+b(iii), and further information is requested on the number of locations, level of habitat fragmentation (percentage in patches too small to support viable populations), habitat trends and severity of threats.
Mills, M. S. L. (2010) Angola’s central scarp forests: patterns of bird diversity and conservation threats. Biodiversity Conservation 19: 1883-1903.
Mills, M. S. L. and Dean, W. R. J. (2007) Notes on Angolan birds: new country records, range extensions and taxonomic questions. Ostrich 78: 55-63.