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Threatened bird species on two little-known mountains (Chiperone and Mabu) in northern Mozambique

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The montane forests of northern Mozambique and southern Malawi support several bird species of global conservation concern, and particularly in Malawi are seriously threatened by deforestation. However, the status of these in northern Mozambique remains poorly known. We report that some 1 600 ha of mid-altitude and montane evergreen forest still exists on Mt Chiperone, and that two globally threatened bird species last reported from this locality in 1950, Thyolo Alethe Alethe choloensis (IUCN status Endangered) and White-winged Apalis Apalis chariessa (Vulnerable), still occur there. Mt Mabu, which to the best of our knowledge was previously biologically undescribed, also has extensive evergreen forest (possibly >5000 ha) and also supports two globally threatened bird species, Thyolo Alethe and East Coast Akalat Sheppardia gunningi (Vulnerable). Range extensions of several forest bird taxa of lesser conservation concern are also reported. The evergreen forests on both mountains appear not to have suffered from any substantial human encroachment and do not seem to be under imminent threat, although more extensive surveys are needed. Our records of Thyolo Alethe suggest that its global population is substantially larger than previously thought and that uplisting to Critically Endangered might not be warranted.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2008

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