Re-assessment of the conservation status of Malawi's 'Endangered' Yellow-throated Apalis Apalis flavigularis

Tiwonge I. Mzumara, Philip A R Hockey*, Amanda R. Ridley

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

The forest-associated Yellow-throated Apalis Apalis flavigularis is the only bird endemic to Malawi. The species is confined to three mountain massifs in the south of the country and is classified as globally 'Endangered'. This study re-evaluates its conservation status by assessing its population size and habitat preferences on Mount Mulanje, where forest patches are threatened by illegal logging and an increasing frequency of uncontrolled fires. These fires also cause a proliferation of invasive plant species, especially the Himalayan yellow raspberry Rubus ellipticus. We surveyed the Yellow-throated Apalis in 41 forest patches during the breeding season. The apalises favoured forest edge habitat, occurring in forest patches as small as 0.01 ha. Their occurrence was positively correlated with the presence of R. ellipticus, although this relationship may be driven primarily by canopy architecture and the existence of an understorey shrub layer. At a conservative estimate, 7,900 Yellow-throated Apalises were calculated to be present in cedar forest habitat alone on Mount Mulanje. Given that the birds occurred in other native forests at the same altitude at densities of 8.6-10.9 birds ha-1, the true population size on Mount Mulanje alone is likely to approach or even exceed IUCN's most optimistic estimate of the global population (10,000).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)184-192
Number of pages9
JournalBird Conservation International
Volume22
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2012

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