Sao Tome Short-tail Amaurocichla bocagei is restricted to São Tomé, São Tomé e Príncipe, where it occurs in the central and southern parts of the island. Known from only six records prior to 1928, it was rediscovered in 1990, in the valleys of the Xufexufe and Ana Chaves rivers (4.1-6.3 pairs and 5.6 pairs per 1 km of river, respectively) (Atkinson et al. 1991). In 1997, it was reported to be seen and heard in almost every forested river basin in the Agua Ribeira near Formoso Grande and around São Miguel (S. d’Assis Lima in litt. 1997). It is currently listed as Vulnerable under criterion D1 because it was thought to have a small population, estimated at 250-999 mature individuals (based on an assessment of known records, descriptions of abundance and range size), given the limited area of suitable habitat believed to be available to it. The overall population is thought to be stable, although it is reported that the species has deserted areas of habitat near Bombaim (F. Olmos in litt. 2007), perhaps indicating a local decline.
It was once thought to be restricted to forest below 600 m (Jones and Tye 2006) and associated with water (Atkinson et al. 1991), but it has since been found to occur at over 1,000 m in the headwaters of the Ana Chaves river (F. Olmos in litt. 2007), to be fairly common in some montane forests above 1,300 m (Maia and Alberto 2009, Olmos and Turshak 2010) and show no association with water in either low elevation or montane forest (Olmos and Turshak 2010). The species appears to be more widespread than previously thought, necessitating an upwards revision of its population estimate. If the population is now estimated to number >1,000 mature individuals, the Sao Tome Short-tail would qualify for downlisting to Near Threatened (if it approaches the population threshold for Vulnerable) or Least Concern on the IUCN Red List.
Information is requested on the population size and distribution of this species, and comments on the proposed downlisting are welcome.
Atkinson, P., Peet, N. and Alexander, J. (1991) The status and conservation of the endemic bird species of Sao Tomé and Príncipe, West Africa. Bird Conservation International 1: 255-282.
Jones, P. and Tye, A. (2006) The Birds of São Tomé & Príncipe with Annobón: Islands of the Gulf of Guinea. An Annotated Checklist. BOU Checklist No. 22. Oxford, UK: British Ornithologists’ Union & British Ornithologists’ Club.
Maia, H. A. and Alberto, A. C. (2009) The occurrence of São Tomé Short-tail Amaurocichla bocagei and Newton’s Fiscal Lanius newtoni. Bulletin of the British Ornithologists’ Club 129(4): 213-216.
Olmos, F. and Turshak, L. G. (2010) Bird observations from São Tomé: Monte Carmo as a priority conservation site. Bulletin of the African Bird Club 17(1): 54-65.
- Archived 2010-2011 topics: Are São Tomé’s pigeons more threatened by hunting than current Red List status suggests?
- Archived 2010-2011 topics: São Tomé Thrush (Turdus olivaceofuscus): list as Near Threatened?
- Archived 2010-2011 topics: Principe Thrush (Turdus xanthorhynchus): newly split and Critically Endangered?
- Archived 2010-2011 topics: Lesser Kestrel (Falco naumanni): downlist to Near Threatened or Least Concern?
- Archived 2011-2012 topics: St Helena Plover (Charadrius sanctaehelenae): downlist to Vulnerable?