The conservation status of the forest birds of the Taita Hills, Kenya


Brooks, T.; Lens, L.; Barnes, J.; Barnes, R.; Kihuria, J.K.geche; Wilder, C.

Bird Conservation International 8(2): 119-139

1998


The forests of the Taita Hills of south-east Kenya are of great importance to conservation, holding three endemic birds and many other endemic taxa. We surveyed birds in their remaining forest fragments in July-August 1996, and followed up these surveys with collection of remote sensing imagery of the area, an assessment of museum specimens and a thorough literature review. In this paper we assess the conservation status in the Taita Hills of their 47 species of forest birds. We conclude with general recommendations for the conservation of the area.

Bird
Conservation
International
(1998)
8:119-139.
©
BirdLife
International
1998
The
conservation
status
of
the
forest
birds
of
the
Taita
Hills,
Kenya
THOMAS
BROOKS,
LUC
LENS,
JIM
BARNES,
ROGER
BARNES,
JOHN
KAGECHE
KIHURIA
and
CHRISTINE
WILDER
Summary
The
forests
of
the
Taita
Hills
of
south-east
Kenya
are
of
great
importance
to
conservation,
holding
three
endemic
birds
and
many
other
endemic
taxa.
We
surveyed
birds
in
their
remaining
forest
fragments
in
July—August
1996,
and
followed
up
these
surveys
with
collection
of
remote
sensing
imagery
of
the
area,
an
assessment
of
museum
specimens
and
a
thprough
literature
review.
In
this
paper
we
assess
the
conservation
status
in
the
Taita
Hills
of
their
47
species
of
forest
birds.
We
conclude
with
general
recommendations
for
the
conservation
of
the
area.
Introduction
Recent
taxonomic
changes
have
thrust
the
forests
of
the
Taita
Hills
of
south-east
Kenya
into
conservation
infamy,
for
three
of
their
endemic
bird
taxa
are
now
considered
full
species
and
listed
as
Critical
by
Collar
et
al.
(1994).
The
forests,
which
presently
cover
less
than
400
ha,
are
included
in
an
Endemic
Bird
Area
with
the
Eastern
Arc
mountains
of
Tanzania
(Stattersfield
et
al.
1997),
with
which
they
have
close
biogeographical
affinities
(Lovett
1985).
Despite
this
importance
for
conservation,
however,
there
has
never
been
a
detailed
study
of
the
area's
avifauna.
We
studied
birds
in
the
remaining
forest
patches
of
the
Taita
Hills
in
July—August
1996,
as
part
of
a
wider
project
to
assess
the
times
to
extinction
of
bird
species
following
deforestation.
We
aim
here
to
use
our
results
to
provide
baseline
data
on
the
conservation
status
of
the
forest
birds
of
the
Taita
Hills.
Physical
geography
The
Taita
Hills
(Figure
i)
lie
in
south-eastern
Kenya
at
03°20'S,
38°15'E,
about
15o
km
inland
from
the
coast
and
covering
an
area
of
about
250
km'.
They
are
isolated
from
other
mountainous
areas
to
the
south-east
(Shimba
Hills),
south
(Pare
and
Usambara
Mountains),
south-west
(Mt
Kilimanjaro),
west
(Ngulia
and
Chyulu
Hills)
and
north-west
(Kenyan
highlands)
by
the
vast
plains
of
Tsavo
(c.
700
m
altitude).
Dry
bushland
runs
up
into
the
lower
slopes
of
the
hills,
grading
into
moist
forest,
farmland
or
plantation
at
1,200
m.
The
hills
are
composed
of
soft
metamorphic
rocks
overlain
by
a
quartzite
cap
(Beentje
1987).
Mean
rainfall
in
Wundanyi
Town
(at
i,zoo
m)
is
1,329
mm
per
year
(that
in
the
hilltop
forests
probably
exceeds
1,5o0
mm
per
year),
with
rainfall
peaks
in
April
and
November
(Beentje
1987).
Thomas
Brooks
et
al.
120
To
Nairobi
N
Mbololo
Choke
.
M
abira
Ngangao
Rouge
Juu
Yale
Wundanyi
*Vol
Mgenge.
Wesu
Vuria
ora
Fururull
Mau
*
*
Mwac
a
To
Taveta
To
Mombasa
Cha
is
10
km
Mwatate
Sagalla
Figure
i.
The
Taita
Hills.
Areas
shaded
black
are
indigenous
forest,
dots
represent
towns
and
other
sites
mentioned
in
the
text.
Thick
lines
show
major
roads,
thin
lines
delimit
the
approximate
area
above
1,200
M.
The
Taita
Hills
are
themselves
divided
into
three
distinct
isolates.
Sagalla
Hill
(also
known
as
Ndara)
lies
due
south
of
the
town
of
Voi,
and
is
separated
from
the
rest
of
the
Taita
Hills
by
the
Voi
River,
level
with
the
rest
of
Tsavo
at
700
m.
To
the
north-east
of
the
range
lies
the
Mbololo
massif
(also
known
as
Mraru,
Wangonya
or
Ndi)
which
is
itself
separated
from
the
rest
of
the
hills
by
a
valley
at
about
goo
m.
The
main
body
of
the
hills,
known
as
Dabida,
includes
their
highest
peaks
of
Vuria
and
Ngangao,
and
the
district
capital
-
of
Taita-Taveta,
Wundanyi,
lies
in
the
centre
of
this
massif.
Isolated
from
the
Taita
Hills
5o
km
to
the
south-east
lies
Mt
Kasigau
(1,50o
m),
which
is
reported
to
have
biogeographical
similarities
with
the
Taitas
(Collar
and
Stuart
1988).
We
did
not
visit
the
site
due
to
constraints
of
time
and
safety.
A
survey
of
Mt
Kasigau
is
urgently
required.
Of
the
three
units
of
the
Taita
Hills,
Sagalla
retains
the
smallest
area
of
moist
forest:
c.
4
ha,
all
of
which
now
lies
at
c.
1,500
m.
The
natural
forest
is
split
into
two
sections,
one
along
the
hill's
crest
and
one
running
down
a
small
stream
from
the
crest.
It
is
completely
surrounded
by
a
large
plantation
of
Pinus,
established
in
1955
(Beentje
1987).
The
slopes
of
the
hill
(c.
1,200-1,500
m)
below
the
forest
are
intensively
farmed,
with
the
village
of
Sagalla
lying
at
c.
1,200
m.
The
Mbololo
massif
retains
c.
200
ha
of
moist
forest,
mainly
between
c.
1,800
m
and
the
peak
at
2,209
m.
This
forest
is
bisected
along
the
hill
crest
by
a
track
Forest
birds
of
Taita
Hills,
Kenya
121
cleared
in
the
197os
(Beentje
1987),
and
has
a
large
Pinus
plantation
on
its
northern
edge.
Below
this
the
forest
has
largely
been
cleared
for
intensive
agriculture
(although
no
roads
up
Mbololo
are
accessible
to
two-wheel-drive
vehicles).
On
the
steep
north-east
flank
of
the
massif
undisturbed
forest
runs
further
down
the
hill.
Elsewhere,
however,
only
tiny
(i-ha)
fragments
of
moist
forest
(Ronge
Juu
and
Mwabira,
on
the
south-west
flank)
survive
along
stream
valleys
as
low
as
c.
1,200
m.
These
fragments
are
surrounded
by
the
huge
Ronge
plantation
of
Mexican
pine
Pinus
patula,
which
is
managed
mainly
for
sap
production:
only
a
tiny
fraction
of
this
forest
remains
natural
(Collins
and
Clifton
1984).
Ngangao
(also
known
as
Umengo)
lies
between
c.
1,700
and
2,149
m
on
the
northern
edge
of
the
hills.
At
92
ha
(Wass
1995
lists
this
area
as
149
ha)
it
is
the
largest
forest
in
the
main
Taita
massif.
It
is
flanked
by
intensive
agriculture
and,
to
the
west,
by
steep
cliffs.
The
forest
includes
several
plantations
of
Pinus,
some
dating
back
to
1955
(Tetlow
1987),
Cupressus
and
Juniperus.
Chawia
(c.
5o
ha)
lies
on
the
south-western
tip
of
the
hills
at
c.
1,500
m,
on
top
of
the
Bura
Bluffs
and
overlooking
the
town
of
Mwatate.
This
forest
has
been
heavily
degraded
by
the
planting
of
exotic
trees
(Pinus
and
Eucalyptus)
and
the
cutting
of
saplings.
Fururu
(c.
5
ha,
although
Wass
1995
lists
this
area
as
17
ha
and
IUCN
1996
as
14.12
ha)
lies
on
the
ridge
crest
north
of
Chawia,
at
c.
1400
m,
and
has
also
been
interplanted
with
Eucalyptus.
The
peak
of
Vuria
(2,228
m),
on
the
western
edge
of
the
hills,
retains
c.
1
ha
of
heavily
degraded
forest
at
c.
2,000
m
on
its
slopes.
Finally,
Mwachora
and
Macha,
on
the
southern
edge
of
the
hills
just
south
of
Wundanyi,
retain
only
2
ha
of
forest
each
on
their
peaks
at
1400
m.
Human
geography
Human
settlement
of
the
Taita
Hills
dates
back
at
least
2,000
years
to
the
arrival
of
the
Mbisha,
an
East
Rift
Southern
Cushitic
people
who
cultivated
grain
using
irrigation
and
manuring.
From
about
the
tenth
century,
these
people
merged
with
Bantu
who
moved
north
from
the
Pare
mountains,
bringing
yam
and
increasingly
banana
cultivation
with
them
and
establishing
subcultures
on
Sagalla
or
"Saghala"
and
Dabida
or
"Dawida"
(Ehret
1988).
This
contrasts
with
the
statements
of
Beentje
(1987,
p.
24),
that
"the
Taita
Hills
were
occupied
by
the
Kitaita
in
the
17th-18th
century;
before
their
arrival,
Wanderobo
(known
to
the
Kitaita
as
Wambisha)
were
present,
probably
in
small
numbers",
and
Collins
and
Clifton
(1984:
p.
10),
that
"it
is
perhaps
only
in
the
last
Soo
years
that
people
have
been
cultivating
in
the
region".
By
1848
maize
had
taken
over
as
the
staple
crop,
and
it
remains
so
today
(Harris
1972).
By
1948
the
Taita
Hills
had
a
human
population
of
40,000
(Harris
1972),
and
this
continues
to
increase,
with
the
population
growth
in
1971
in
Werugha
(Ngangao)
being
6.3%
(Tetlow
1987)
The
total
population
of
the
area
is
now
estimated
to
be
over
250,000,
reach-
ing
densities
of
1,416
people
per
km
2
(for
example,
in
Mgange),
according
to
an
unpublished
report
by
the
East
Africa
Wildlife
Society
(http:/
/
www.cheetah.demon.nl/taita.html).
The
Taita
Hills
forests
have
been
fragmented
for
many
years.
Hobley
(1895,
p.
55
0
)
wrote
that
"the
top
of
Mwatate
mountain
[Chawial
is
partly
covered
with
luxuriant
growth
of
bracken
fern",
and
that
(p.
554)
"the
western
face
of
Ndara
is
entirely
uncultivated,
and
covered
with
dense
bush,
but
the
summit
is
Thomas
Brooks
et
al.
122
extensively
cultivated,
and
is
extremely
fertile".
Hildebrandt
(1877)
and
Thompson
(1887,
p.
43)
also
mention
cultivation
on
Sagalla.
Edward
Heller
wrote
in
his
diary
(held
by
the
Smithsonian
Institution)
in
November
1911
(p.
68)
that
"the
Wataita
have
cultivated
the
mountain
slopes
as
high
up
as
the
head
of
all
the
streams
and
springs.
They
clean
the
slopes
absolutely,
even
the
stream
beds
are
bare
of
brush".
Loveridge
(1937,
p.
483)
states
that
"The
Teita
porters
who
carried
my
loads
up
the
almost
precipitous
ascent
of
Mount
Mbololo,
told
me
that
they
could
remember
when
forest
clothed
the
mountain
side.
Today
only
about
a
thousand
acres
of
it
survive
as
a
narrow
strip,
two
or
three
miles
in
length,
running
along
the
hog-backed
ridge
at
4,80o
ft.
This
relic
patch
appeared
to
vary
from
one
to
two
hundred
yards
in
width.
It
is
now
under
the
protection
of
the
Forestry
Department
of
Kenya".
Although
the
details
of
Loveridge's
(1937)
estimates
are
inconsistent
(3
miles
X
200
yards
=
218
acres,
"1"o
acres"),
it
is
clear
that
a
considerable
amount
of
forest
was
cleared
from
the
Taita
Hills
in
the
pre-colonial
era.
Nevertheless,
several
pieces
of
evidence
do
point
to
considerable
recent
loss
of
forest
in
the
Taita
Hills.
Beentje
(1987)
estimates
from
early
196os
aerial
photographs
a
forest
cover
of
145
ha
on
Vuria
(which
had
been
lost
by
the
time
that
our
photographs
were
taken
in
February
1967),
and
illustrates
(p.
25)
the
extent
of
forest
loss
between
1962
and
1985
for
five
forests.
By
overlaying
a
grid
and
counting
squares,
these
losses
can
be
seen
to
be:
Mbololo
<50%,
Ngangao
50%,
Chawia
85%,
Sagalla
95%,
Vuria
99%.
These
losses
were
largely
due
to
conversion
to
plantation.
Early
plant
collections
also
indicate
that
the
now-deforested
Wesu,
Yale
and
Susu
once
held
forest
(Beentje
1987).
By
the
195os
the
Kenyan
Forest
Department
had
begun
to
play
a
role
in
the
Taita
Hills
forests
through
the
establishment
of
plantations.
However,
it
was
not
until
the
Presidential
Decree
of
1977
banning
the
cutting
of
indigenous
trees
without
a
licence
(Beentje
1987)
that
much
concern
was
given
to
the
indigenous
forests.
The
many
abandoned
saw
pits
in
Ngangao,
Chawia
and
Mbololo
probably
date
to
this
time.
A
District
Forest
Officer
was
appointed
to
Wundanyi
from
Mombasa
in
1981,
and
in
1982
the
first
forest
guard
was
stationed
at
Ngangao
(Tetlow
1987).
Forest
guards
and
other
staff
are
now
permanently
stationed
at
Ngangao,
Chawia,
Fururu,
Vuria,
Sagalla
and
Ronge.
Some
of
Ngangao
was
cleared
by
the
local
Mwarangu
Youth
Polytechnic
in
the
mid-198os
(Beentje
1987,
Tetlow
1987),
and
the
collection
of
firewood
and
timber,
both
under
licence
and
illegally,
continues
on
a
small
scale
in
all
forests.
Nevertheless,
the
Forest
Department
does
seem
to
have
stalled
the
deforestation
of
the
Taita
Hills,
at
least
for
the
present.
The
legal
history
of
the
Taita
Hills
forests
is
difficult
to
trace.
The
County
Council
of
Taita—Taveta
approved
22
forest
areas
for
gazettement
in
1973,
including
Ngangao
(139
ha),
Mbololo
(370
ha),
Sagalla
(128o
ha)
and
Chawia
(86
ha),
and
a
further
to
areas
were
approved
a
year
later
(Beentje
1987).
A
total
of
43
forests
had
been
approved
for
gazettement
by
1984
(Tetlow
1987).
However,
none
had
been
gazetted
by
1987
(contra
Collins
and
Clifton
1984,
who
state
that
Chawia
was
gazetted),
by
which
time
15%
of
the
area
approved
had
been
deforested
(Beentje
1987).
A
total
of
27
largely
plantation
forests
(including
Fururu,
Macha
and
Mwachora)
that
were
mapped
by
Mwangangi
and
Mwaura
(1992-1993)
and
finally
gazetted
under
legal
notice
235/1991
(IUCN
1996)
cover
Forest
birds
of
Taita
Hills,
Kenya
123
an
area
of
approximately
1,200
ha. However,
we
can
find
no
record
to
date
of
the
main
natural
forests
of
Sagalla,
Mbololo,
Ngangao,
Chawia
and
Vuria
ever
having
been
gazetted.
History
of
biological
exploration
in
the
Taita
Hills
The
history
and
anthropology
of
the
Taita
Hills
are
well
known
(see
reviews
by
Ehret
and
Nurse
1981
and
by
Harris
1978,
respectively),
but
few
biological
studies
have
been
carried
out.
We
summarize
what
studies
there
have
been
below,
with
reference
to
the
literature
and
to
museum
specimens
in
the
AMNH
(American
Museum
of
Natural
History,
New
York,
U.S.A.),
ANSP
(Academy
of
Natural
Sciences,
Philadelphia,
U.S.A.),
BMNH
(British
Museum
[Natural
History],
Tring,
U.K.),
FMNH
(Field
Museum
of
Natural
History,
Chicago,
U.S.A.),
MCZ
(Museum
of
Comparative
Zoology,
Harvard,
U.S.A.),
NMK
(National
Museums
of
Kenya,
Nairobi,
Kenya),
USNM
(United
States
National
Museum,
Washington,
D.C.,
U.S.A.),
and
YPM
(Yale
Peabody
Museum,
Newhaven,
U.S.A.).
J.
M.
Hildebrandt
collected
around
the
base
of
the
Taita
Hills
in
1877
(Cabanis
1878),
F.
J.
Jackson
collected
at
"Ndii",
apparently
at
low
altitude,
on
several
occasions
in
the
188os
and
189os
(specimens
mainly
in
FMNH),
and
D.
Akeley
collected
around
Voi
in
1906
(FMNH).
The
first
collection
of
birds
from
high
altitude
was
that
of
Mearns,
who
described
the
Taita
Thrush
Turdus
helleri,
as
"Planesticus
helleri"
(Mearns
1913a,
No.
217722),
and
the
Taita
White-starred
Robin
Pogonocichla
stellata
helleri
(Mearns
1913b,
No.
217720)
from
Mbololo,
in
November
1911.
He
also
described
now-invalid
races
of
Orange
Ground
Thrush
"Geocichla
gurneyi
raineyi"
(Mearns
1913a,
No.
217721)
and
Hartlaub's
Turaco
"Turacus
hartlaubi
crissalis"
(Mearns
1915,
No.
217621).
All
of
these
specimens
are
in
the
USNM.
Mearns
also
collected
on
Sagalla,
although
his
only
specimens
in
the
USNM
are
of
non-forest
birds.
A.
B.
Percival
collected
a
number
of
specimens
for
V.
G.
L.
van
Someren
on
Sagalla
and
elsewhere
in
1918
and
sporadically
throughout
the
1910s
(specimens
mainly
in
FMNH
and
ANSP
with
a
few
in
AMNH).
V.
G.
L.
van
Someren
apparently
visited
the
area
in
the
1920S
(Beentje
1987)
but
does
not
seem
to
have
recorded
any
ornithological
observations.
There
is
a
specimen
of
Rufous-breasted
Sparrowhawk
Accipiter
rufiventris
in
the
FMNH
(No.
192372)
from
4
July
1927
that
may
have
been
collected
by
him.
Peters
and
Loveridge
(1936)
collected
on
Mbololo
in
April
1934
(see
also
Loveridge
1937),
describing
the
Taita
White-eye
Zosterops
silvanus
from
there
(Peters
and
Loveridge
1935).
Their
specimens
are
in
the
MCZ.
Moreau
(1937)
collected
in
the
main
Taita
Hills
in
November
1937
(specimens
in
BMNH),
describing
the
Taita
Apalis
("Apalis
murina
fuscigularis")
as
a
result.
There
are
two
specimens
(Taita
Thrush
Turdus
helleri
No.
ORN.S.35214
and
Silvery-cheeked
Hornbill
Bycanistes
brevis
No.
ORN.S.1499o)
in
the
YPM
from
the
Taita
Hills,
plus
another
that
is
apparently
lost
(No.
ORN.S
.1o744),
collected
by
J.
G.
Williams
in
October
1938
according
to
F.
Sibley
(in
litt.
1997).
These
are
presumably
part
of
the
large
collection
of
birds
in
the
NMK
from
"Wundanyi
Forest"
and
"Mbololo
Forest"
in
the
"Bura
Hills"
from
October
1938
and
from
"Sagala"
and
"Kasigau"
from
November
1938.
V.
G.
L.
van
Someren
was
Thomas
Brooks
et
al.
124
probably
also
involved
with
this
expedition,
as
he
describes
Yellow-throated
Woodland
Warblers
Phylloscopus
ruficapillus
from
Mbololo
as
the
(now-invalid)
race
mbololo
in
van
Someren
(1939).
J.
G.
Williams
also
collected
two
Turdus
helleri
for
the
AMNH
(No.
748460-1)
on
Mbololo
on
27
January
1947,
but
a
small
series
of
birds
from
the
main
Taita
Hills
from
June
1948
(FMNH)
is
not
labelled.
S.
Keith
collected
a
single
Turdus
helleri
in
Ngangao
for
the
AMNH
(No.
826954)
on
9
January
1963,
and
A.
D.
Forbes-Watson
collected
a
large
series
of
birds
in
Ngangao
and
Chawia
in
August
1965
(specimens
in
USNM).
Considering
other
taxa,
Peters
collected
numerous
mammals,
reptiles
and
amphibians
in
the
187os
at
"Ndi"
on
the
northern
slope
of
Mbololo,
and
Heller
collected
mammals
on
Ngangao
and
Mbololo
with
Mearns
in
1911
(Allen
and
Lawrence
1936).
In
the
Loveridge
expedition,
collections
were
also
made
of
mammals
(Allen
and
Lawrence
1936),
crabs
(Rathburn
1935),
nematodes
(Sandground
1936),
oligochaeta
(Michaelsen
1937)
and
reptiles
and
amphibians
(Loveridge
1935,
1936a,
1936b).
Beentje
(1987,
p.
42)
lists
the
early
botanical
collections
from
the
hills,
all
of
which
were
post-193o
except
for
Hildebrandt's
(1877)
collection.
More
recently,
brief
visits
have
been
made
by
various
ornithologists
and
birdwatchers
including
D.
A.
Turner
in
(at
least)
1973, 1974,
1978
and
1981
(Collar
and
Stuart
1985),
Tetlow
(1987)
in
July—August
1985,
and
the
National
Museums
of
Kenya
in
May—June
1985
(Beentje
1987,
Beentje
et
al.
1987).
These
last
two
visits
were
general
surveys
with
bird
studies
combined
with
work
on
but-
terflies
and
plants.
There
is
a
collection
of
lichens
from
the
Taita
Hills
from
December
1973
in
the
Botanical
Museum,
University
of
Oslo,
Norway
(http:/
/www.toyen.uio.no/botanisk/bot-mus
/lay
/bmltypee.htm)
.
Finally,
Col-
lins
and
Clifton
(1984)
searched
for
the
endemic
butterflies
in
July
1983,
Oakley
(1991)
studied
the
swallowtail
Papilio
nireus
over
1990,
Hebrard
et
al.
(1992)
studied
the
endemic
ceacilian
Afrocaecilia
taitana,
and
Mwangangi
and
Mwaura
(1992-1993)
surveyed
the
forests
briefly
as
part
of
the
Kenya
Indigenous
Forest
Conservation
Project
in
July
1993.
Fieldwork
We
surveyed
nearly
all
of
the
remaining
natural
forest
of
the
Taita
Hills
(Brooks
et
al.
1996,
1997):
five
forest
patches
in
the
main
massif
(Ngangao,
Chawia,
Vuria,
Fururu
and
Mwachora),
two
on
Mbololo
(Ronge
Juu/Mwabira,
and
the
main
forest),
and
Sagalla.
Fieldwork
in
each
site
included
extensive
surveys
with
the
aim
of
locating
every
bird
species
present,
intensive
standardized
mist-netting
(schedules
filed
with
the
East
African
Natural
History
Society)
and
surveys
of
the
structure
and
composition
of
the
forests
(to
be
published
elsewhere).
We
captured
no
birds
with
obvious
brood
patches
and
very
few
in
moult,
but
did
catch
a
number
of
immature
birds.
We
also
interviewed
local
people
about
the
historical
extent
of
the
forest.
We
obtained
forest
cover
data
from
1
:
50,000
aerial
photographs
for
the
main
massif
of
the
Taita
Hills
from
February
1955,
February
1967
and
January
1969,
and
I
:
250,000
Thematic
Mapper
satellite
imagery
for
the
whole
area
from
May
1984.
Finally,
we
searched
the
collections
in
the
AMNH,
ANSP,
BMNH,
FMNH,
MCZ,
NMK,
USNM,
YPM,
and
a
number
of
other
museums
for
Taita
Hills
forest
birds.
Forest
birds
of
Taita
Hills,
Kenya
125
Systematic
list
of
forest
species
Our
categorization
of
forest
specialist
(FF)
and
generalist
(F)
species
follows
that
of
Bennun
et
al.
(in
press):
the
Taita
Hills
forest
avifauna
consists
of
20
FF
and
27
F
species.
Our
global
categories
of
threat
follow
Collar
et
al.
(1994)
and
regional
categories
follow
Bennun
and
Njoroge
(1996);
QSD
(Quarter
Square
Degree)
records
follow
Lewis
and
Pomeroy
(1989).
Distribution,
taxonomy,
nomenclature
and
systematic
order
follow
Zimmerman
et
al.
(1996),
unless
otherwise
stated.
Palearctic
migrants,
being
absent
during
our
survey,
are
not
included.
New
QSD
records
are
marked
"k",
with
updated
QSD
records
in
parentheses,
probable
breeding
records
(for
non-migratory
species
with
obvious
immature
plumages)
with
"P"
and
confirmed
breeding
records
with
"C".
QSD
ioiA
covers
all
of
the
Taita
Hills
except
for
Sagalla,
which
falls
in
QSD
101B.
We
list
non-forest
species
recorded
during
our
fieldwork
in
an
appendix.
Bat
Hawk
Macheiramphus
alcinus
F
Regionally
Near-Threatened
Although
Lewis
and
Pomeroy
(1989)
map
presence
in
QSD
ioiA
and
QSD
io1B,
the
only
record
that
we
can
find
from
the
Taita
Hills
is
of
one
collected
in
Ngangao
on
15
August
1965
(USNM
No.
519082).
Southern
Banded
Snake
Eagle
Circaetus
fasciatus
F
*101A
Globally
Near-Threatened
We
recorded
a
single
individual
of
this
species
at
Chawia
on
15
July.
It
is
a
scarce
coastal
forest
species
in
Kenya,
with
the
only
inland
record
being
of
one
in
riverine
forest
near
Voi
in
March
1971
(Lack
et
al.
1980),
and
so
it
is
likely
that
the
species
is
merely
a
scarce
wanderer
to
the
Taita
Hills.
However,
the
presence
of
a
substantial
population
in
the
East
Usambara
Mountains
in
Tanzania
indicates
the
possibility
that
a
tiny
breeding
population
exists
in
the
Taita
Hills,
and
future
surveys
should
search
carefully
for
the
species.
African
Goshawk
Accipiter
tachiro
F
CioiA
We
found
this
species
in
Ngangao,
Chawia,
Vuria,
Mwabira
and
Mbololo.
It
has
previously
been
listed
for
the
Taita
Hills
by
Beentje
(1987),
and
for
QSD
ioiA
and
ioiB
by
Lewis
and
Pomeroy
(1989),
although
Tetlow
(1987)
did
not
find
it
at
Ngangao
and
Zimmerman
et
al.
(1996)
do
not
map
it
for
the
area.
We
observed
a
pair
at
a
nest
with
two
recently
fledged
young
on
6-12
August
at
Mwabira,
and
the
species
presumably
breeds
in
most
of
the
remaining
forests
of
the
Taita
Hills.
Rufous-breasted
Sparrowhawk
Accipiter
rufiventris
F
Regionally
Near-Threatened
Lewis
and
Pomeroy
(1989)
map
this
species
for
QSD
ioiA
and
note
that
its
"presence
at
around
1,50o
m
on
the
forest
islands
of
the
Taita
Hills
(D.
A.
Turner
in
litt.)
compares
to
a
record
at
1,900
m
in
the
Usambara
Mts
of
adjacent
NE
Thomas
Brooks
et
al.
126
Tanzania".
However,
Zimmerman
et
al.
(1996)
do
not
map
the
species
for
the
Taita
Hills,
and
if
present,
it
must
be
extremely
scarce
or,
possibly,
a
vagrant.
There
is
a specimen
from
in
the
FMNH
(No.
192372)
from
4
July
1927.
We
did
not
record
the
species.
Great
Sparrowhawk
Accipiter
melanoleucos
F
C1o1A,*C1o1B
We
recorded
A.
melanoleucos
at
Ngangao,
Chawia,
Fururu,
Sagalla
and
Mbololo,
finding
active
nests
at
Chawia
and
Sagalla.
A.
melanoleucos
therefore
appears,
like
A.
tachiro,
to
survive
in
small
numbers
in
most
of
the
Taita
Hills
forests.
Mountain
Buzzard
Buteo
oreophilus
FF
*ioiA
Regionally
Near-Threatened
We
found
B.
oreophilus
in
small
numbers
at
Ngangao,
Chawia
and
Mbololo,
and
although
not
mapped
for
the
area
by
Lewis
and
Pomeroy
(1989)
or
Zimmerman
et
al.
(1996),
it
was
also
recorded
in
the
Taita
Hills
by
Tetlow
(1987)
and
Beentje
(1987).
It
must
be
very
scarce
in
the
region,
with
just
one
or
two
pairs
surviving
in
the
three
largest
forests.
African
Crowned
Eagle
Stephanoaetus
coronatus
FF
CioiA
Regionally
Vulnerable
We
recorded
S.
coronatus
quite
regularly
in
and
over
Ngangao,
Mwachora,
Chawia,
Fururu
and
Mbololo,
observing
display
flights
over
Mwachora,
Fururu
and
Mbololo,
and
an
active
nest,
to
which
birds
regularly
took
Sykes's
monkeys
Cercopithecus
mitis,
on
14-24
July
at
Chawia.
Although
not
recorded
in
the
area
by
Tetlow
(1987)
or
mapped
by
Zimmerman
et
al.
(1996),
it
is
mapped
for
QSD
ioiA
by
Lewis
and
Pomeroy
(1989)
and
was
recorded
by
Beentje
(1987).
Considering
the
species's
size,
a
few
pairs
seem
to
be
surviving
remarkably
well
in
the remaining
forest
of
the
Taita
Hills.
Crested
Guineafowl
Guttera
pucherani
F
(io1A)
Lewis
and
Pomeroy
(1989)
note
this
species
for
QSD
ioiA
as
historical
presence
only,
in
riparian
thickets
at
Ngulia,
although
they
do
show
recent
records
from
this
habitat
from
Voi
(QSD
ioiB).
Zimmerman
et
al.
(1996)
also
omit
the
Taita
Hills
from
the
species's
range.
However,
Beentje
(1987)
lists
it
as
having
been
recorded
by
his
expedition.
We
did
not
find
the
species
in
any
forests,
but
recorded
a
party
of
c.
10
birds
in
dry
scrub,
at
i,000
m
on
the
Voi—Ronge
track
on
16
August.
Similarly,
van
Someren
(1939)
only
found
the
species
in
low-altitude
forest
beneath
the
Chyulus,
not
in
upland
forest.
Tambourine
Dove
Turtur
tympanistra
F
PioiA,
P(1o1B)
Surprisingly,
this
species
appeared
to
be
considerably
scarcer
than
Aplopelia
larvata
in
the
Taita
Hills,
and
we
found
it
at
Ngangao,
Sagalla
and
Mwabira
only.
van
Someren
(1939)
found
a
similar
situation
in
the
Chyulu
Hills.
Lewis
and
Pomeroy
(1989)
map
only
historical
occurrence
in
QSD
io1B,
from
where
Lack
Forest
birds
of
Taita
Hills,
Kenya
127
et
al.
(1980)
note
a
population
decline.
We
caught
immatures
on
9
July
in
Ngangao
and
1
August
in
Sagalla.
Lemon
Dove
Aplopelia
larvata
FF
(ioiA),
*P1o1B
Regionally
Near-Threatened
We
found
this
species
fairly
commonly
at
Ngangao,
Chawia,
Sagalla,
Mwabira,
Ronge
and
Mbololo.
Although
mapped
as
only
historically
present
in
QSD
ioiA
and
absent
from
QSD
ioiB
by
Lewis
and
Pomeroy
(1989),
it
therefore
appears
to
be
surviving
well
even
in
degraded
forest
patches
throughout
the
Taita
Hills.
We
caught
a
single
immature
at
Sagalla
on
1
August.
Hartlaub's
Turaco
Tauraco
hartlaubi
FF
Regional
Responsibility
T.
hartlaubi
remains
a
common
and
noisy
resident
in
all
but
the
smallest
patches
of
forest
in
the
Taita
Hills,
and
we
found
it
at
Ngangao,
Chawia,
Fururu,
Vuria,
Mwabira,
Ronge
Juu
and
Mbololo.
African
Emerald
Cuckoo
Chrysocococcyx
cupreus
F
Britton
(1980),
Lewis
and
Pomeroy
(1989)
and
Zimmerman
et
al.
(1996)
all
list
this
species
for
the
Taita
Hills,
and
although
we
did
not
record
it
during
our
fieldwork,
we
heard
a
bird
singing
in
Vuria
during
a
brief
visit
on
15
December
1996.
There
are
also
two
specimens
from
"Ndii"
from
14
December
1888
(Cornell
University
Museum
No.
CU4279,
FMNH
No.
112538).
It
is
presumably
a
seasonal
wanderer
to
the
area.
African
Wood
Owl
Strix
woodfordii
F
We
found
this
species
quite
commonly
at
Ngangao,
Chawia,
Mwabira
and
Mbololo,
and
it
thus
appears
to
be
surviving
well
in
the
forests
of
the
Taita
Hills.
Lewis
and
Pomeroy
(1989)
map
its
historical
presence
in
QSD
ioiB,
but
we
did
not
find
it
on
Sagalla.
Scarce
Swift
Schoutedenapus
myoptilus
F
We
recorded
two
birds
on
21
July
low
over
forest
at
Chawia.
Although
Zimmerman
et
al.
(1996)
do
not
map
it
for
the
area,
D.
A.
Turner
recently
recorded
birds
in
QSD
ioiA
(Oyugi
1994).
The
species
is
also
known
from
Mt
Kasigau
(QSD
ioiD)
and
from
the
Usambara
Mountains
in
Tanzania
(Lewis
and
Pomeroy
1989),
and
so
its
presence
in
the
Taita
Hills is
not
surprising.
It
is
presumably
a
scarce
wanderer
to
the
area.
Silvery-cheeked
Hornbill
Bycanistes
brevis
F
We
recorded
B.
brevis
commonly
at
Ngangao,
Chawia,
Mwabira,
Ronge
Juu
and
Mbololo,
and
also
in
Wundanyi
town,
although
not
in
Sagalla;
it
is
mapped
for
QSD
loth
by
Lewis
and
Pomeroy
(1989).
Although
not
listed
by
Beentje
(1987),
Thomas
Brooks
et
al.
128
it
appears
to
be
a
common
(although
presumably
non-breeding)
bird
in
the
Taita
Hills.
White-eared
Barbet
Stactolaema
leucotis
F
Lewis
and
Pomeroy
(1989)
show
the
historical
presence
of
this
species
in
QSD
ioiA,
and
Britton
(1980),
Moore
(1984)
and
Zimmerman
et
al.
(1996)
list
it
as
occurring
in
the
Taita
Hills.
However,
the
only
record
of
the
species
that
we
can
trace
is
of
a
possible
individual
seen
at
Ngangao
on
9
July
1984
by
Tetlow
(1987).
Moustached
Green
Tinkerbird
Pogoniulus
leucomystax
FF
Regional
Responsibility
Although
we
did
not
record
this
elusive
species
during
fieldwork
(at
which
time
we
were
not
familiar
with
its
call),
J.
A.
Tobias
(pers.
comm.)
heard
a
single
bird
during
a
brief
visit
to
Ngangao
on
10
December
1996.
Both
Tetlow
(1987)
and
S.
Whitehouse
(according
to
his
unpublished
report,
"Birding
in
Kenya")
recorded
it
in
forest
in
the
Taita
Hills,
and
it
is
listed
as
present
by
Britton
(198o),
Moore
(1984),
Lewis
and
Pomeroy
(1989)
and
Zimmerman
et
al.
(1996).
It
is
presumably
a
scarce
resident
of
the
larger
patches
of
forest
in
the
area.
Mountain
Greenbul
Andropadus
nigriceps
FF
Regional
Responsibility
This
species
is
apparently
a
scarce
wanderer
from
Tanzania
north
to
the
Taita
Hills,
where
the
one
substantiated
record
is
of
a
bird
on
14
August
1978,
in
company
of
two
A.
milanjensis
(Turner
1979).
Moore
(1984),
Beentje
(1987),
Lewis
and
Pomeroy
(1989)
and
Zimmerman
et
al.
(1996)
also
list
the
species
as
present,
presumably
based
on
this
record.
Stripe-cheeked
Greenbul
Andropadus
milanjensis
FF
A.
milanjensis
remains
common
in
the
larger
patches
of
forest
of
the
Taita
Hills,
and
we
found
it
in
Ngangao,
Chawia,
Fururu,
Ronge
Juu
and
Mbololo.
Grey-olive
Greenbul
Phyllastrephus
cerviniventris
F
*iolB
Regionally
Near-Threatened
This
species
has
not
been
previously
recorded
in
the
Taita
Hills,
but
we
found
it
not
uncommonly
at
1,200-1,500
m
in
Sagalla,
Mwabira
and
Ronge
Juu.
These
records
fit
neatly
into
the
distribution
of
the
species
on
the
eastern
part
of
the
Kenya—Tanzania
border.
The
preference
of
the
species
for
riverine
forest
may
explain
its
survival
in
the
heavily
deforested
lower
altitudes
of
the
Taita
Hills,
as
most
of
the
remaining
forest
here
is
along
streams.
A.
B.
Percival
collected
two
apparently
overlooked
specimens
in
the
"Teita
Hills"
in
December
1918
(AMNH
No.
566711;
ANSP
No.
95993),
and
also
one
in
"Tsavo"
on
i
November
1917
(ANSP
No.
95994).
Forest
birds
of
Taita
Hills,
Kenya
129
Cabanis's
Greenbul
Phyllastrephus
cabanisi
FF
*1o1B
P.
cabanisi
is
common
in
most
of
the
Taita
Hills
forest
patches,
and
we
found
it
at
Ngangao,
Chawia,
Fururu,
Sagalla,
Mwabira,
Ronge
Juu
and
Mbololo.
Yellow-bellied
Greenbul
Chlorocichla
flaviventris
F
*ioiA
Although
not
shown
for
QSD
ioiA
by
Lewis
and
Pomeroy
(1989),
Zimmerman
et
al.
(1996)
note
its
presence
at
Sagalla
and
it
is
mapped
as
recently
present
in
QSD
ioiB
(Lewis
and
Pomeroy
1989).
We
found
it
at
Sagalla,
Mwabira
and
Ronge
Juu,
and,
like
Phyllastrephus
cerviniventris,
it
appears
to
remain
quite
common
in
the
remaining
low
altitude
forest
of
the
Taita
Hills.
Eastern
Nicator
Nicator
gularis
F
We
recorded
this
species
in
low
numbers
at
Sagalla,
where
it
has
been
noted
to
occur
by
Zimmerman
et
al.
(1996).
It
is
mapped
for
QSD
ioiA
by
Lewis
and
Pomeroy
(1989),
but
we
did
not
record
it
in
the
rest
of
the
Taita
Hills.
White-starred
Robin
Pogonocichla
stellata
F
*PioiB
We
found
this
species
commonly
in
every
forest
patch
surveyed,
with
immature
birds
on
8
July
(Ngangao,
3),
26
July
(Vuria,
1),
3o
July
(Sagalla,
1),
31
July
(Sagalla,
1),
1
August
(Sagalla,
2),
2
August
(Sagalla,
1),
9
August
(Mwabira,
i)
and
11
August
(Mwabira,
1).
Red-capped
Robin-Chat
Cossypha
natalensis
F
We
recorded
C.
natalensis
in
small
numbers
at
Sagalla,
although
not
elsewhere
in
the
Taita
Hills,
and
there
are
four
old
specimens
from
Sagalla,
from
August
(AMNH
No.
580540,
FMNH
No.
198120)
and
November
(NMK
No.
6777
and
No.
12119),
and
also
one
from
"Mgama,
Teita"
from
2
July
1919
(ANSP
No.
96678).
These
records
fit
into
the
apparently
resident
population
of
the
species
along
the
eastern
part
of
the
Kenya—Tanzania
border
(Zimmerman
et
al.
1996)
although
previous
records
from
QSDs
ioiA
and
loth
probably
refer
to
migrants
(Lewis
and
Pomeroy
1989).
Ruppell's
Robin-Chat
Cossypha
semirufa
F
PioiA,
*ioiB
We
recorded
this
species
in
small
numbers
in
all
forests
except
for
Vuria,
and
it
seems
that
it
remains
a
relatively
common
bird
in
the
Taita
Hills
forests.
We
captured
an
immature
bird
on
9
July
at
Ngangao.
Orange
Ground
Thrush
Zoothera
gurneyi
FF
PiolA
Regionally
Near-Threatened
We
found
this
species
in
low
numbers
in
deep
forest
understorey
at
Ngangao
and
Mbololo.
In
both
sites
it
was
scarcer
than
Taita
Thrush
Turdus
helleri,
and
being
restricted
to
primary
forest,
it
must
be
highly
threatened
in
the
area.
The
Thomas
Brooks
et
al.
130
Taita
Hills
are
the
only
Kenyan
locality
for
this
Tanzanian
race
Z.
g.
otomitra.
Tetlow
(1987)
suggested
that
micro-habitat
differences
may
separate
this
species
from
T.
helleri,
but
we
frequently
observed,
and
caught
the
two
species
in
the
same
vicinity.
We
caught
a
single
immature
on
8
July
in
Ngangao.
Taita
Thrush
Turdus
helleri
FF
PioiA
Globally
Critical
We
found
this
Taita
Hills
endemic
in
three
forests
only:
Ngangao,
Chawia
and
Mbololo.
Although
it
was
most
often
observed
and
captured
in
shady
forest
understorey,
we
also
saw
birds
at
fruiting
trees
on
forest
edge
on
several
occasions
(Brooks
1997).
We
recorded
juvenile
birds
in
Ngangao
(8
July)
and
Chawia
(17
and
23
July),
and
similarly
Tetlow
(1987)
captured
an
immature
bird
in
Ngangao
in
July
or
August
1985.
Although
considered
by
some
authorities
to
be
a
race
of
Olive
Thrush
T.
olivaceus
(e.g.
Sibley
and
Monroe
1990),
it
does
not
respond
to
tape
recordings
of
that
species
(Collar
et
al.
1994),
and
is
now
widely
thought
to
be
a
distinct
species
(e.g.
Zimmerman
et
al.
1996).
Reports
of
T.
helleri
from
Mt
Kasigau
(Collar
and
Stuart
1985)
require
confirmation
(Zimmerman
et
al.
1996),
while
a
report
from
Mt
Kilimanjaro
(Bednall
1958)
is
now
considered
to
be
extremely
unlikely
(Collar
and
Stuart
1985).
While
not
uncommon
in
the
three
forests
where
it
is
known
to
survive,
we
strongly
recommend
the
retention
of
T.
helleri
as
globally
Critical,
considering
its
tiny
range,
tiny
population
size
and
recent
rapid
population
decline
following
forest
clearance
over
the
last
three
decades.
African
Dusky
Flycatcher
Muscicapa
adusta
F
M.
adusta
remains
relatively
common
in
the
forest
edge
of
the
surviving
large
patches
of
Taita
Hills
forest,
and
we
found
it
at
Ngangao,
Chawia
and
Mbololo.
Ashy
Flycatcher
Muscicapa
caerulescens
F
(ioiA)
We
recorded
a
single
individual,
in
scrub
below
Ngangao,
on
13
July.
Lewis
and
Pomeroy
(1989)
map
its
historical
presence
in
QSD
ioiA
and
recent
presence
in
QSD
ioiB,
but
the
only
other
records
that
we
can
trace
are
specimens
from
Sagalla
from
8
August
1918
(FMNH
No.
197159)
and
November
1938
(NMK).
It
seems
that
the
species
survives,
maybe
in
low
numbers,
in
scrub
in
the
heavily
deforested
lower
altitudes
of
the
Taita
Hills.
Yellow-throated
Woodland
Warbler
Phylloscopus
ruficapillus
F
This
species
is
dependent
on
the
larger
remaining
forest
patches
of
the
Taita
Hills,
the
only
site
at
which
it
occurs
in
Kenya,
but
we
found
it
relatively
commonly
at
Ngangao,
Chawia
and
Mbololo.
Evergreen
Forest
Warbler
Bradypterus
lopezi
FF
Regionally
Near-Threatened
We
found
B.
lopezi
to
be
relatively
common
in
forest
undergrowth,
but
only
at
Ngangao,
Chawia,
Fururu
and
Vuria,
not
in
the
eastern
portion
of
the
Taita
Hills.
Considering
this
tiny
range,
the
species
must
be
under
considerable
local
threat.
Forest
birds
of
Taita
Hills,
Kenya
131
Black-headed
Apalis
Apalis
melanocephala
FF
(ioiA),
*1o1B
We
found
A.
melanocephala
in
small
numbers
in
forest
edge
at
Chawia,
Fururu
and
Sagalla.
It
appears
to
be
a
low-density
resident
of
the
surviving
low-altitude
forest
of
the
Taita
Hills.
Considering
its
presence
in
Sagalla
and
the
local
distribution
of
species
such
as
Phyllastrephus
cerviniventris
and
Chlorocichla
flaviventris
here
and
in
Mwabira
and
Ronge
Juu,
its
absence
from
these
last
two
sites
is
surprising.
Taita
Apalis
Apalis
[thoracica]
fuscigularis
FF
Globally
Critical
We
recorded
the
Taita
endemic
A.
[thoracica]
fuscigularis
quite
commonly
in
forest
understorey
in
Ngangao,
Chawia,
Fururu
and
Vuria.
It
seems
that,
like
Bradypterus
lopezi,
the
species
is
restricted
to
the
western
portion
of
the
Taita
Hills,
and,
again
like
that
species,
it
must
be
under
serious
threat
here,
despite
the
fact
that
we
generally
recorded
it
on
the
forest
edge.
We
therefore
recommend
that
it
is
retained
as
globally
Critical,
considering
its
tiny
range
and
population,
and,
presumably,
recent
population
decline.
Many
authorities
(e.g.
Sibley
and
Monroe
1990,
Zimmerman
et
al.
1996)
consider
this
distinctive
taxon
to
be
a
Taita
Hills
endemic
race
of
the
southern
Bar-throated
Apalis
A.
thoracica,
but
we
follow
Collar
et
al.
(1994)
who
consider
it
a
full
species.
Taita
White-eye
Zosterops
[poliogaster]
silvanus
F
Globally
Critical
We
recorded
the
Taita
Hills
near-endemic
Z.
fpoliogaster]
silvanus
commonly
in
every
forest
patch
apart
from
Sagalla,
and
also
in
scrub
below
Ngangao
and
in
remnant
trees
in
Wundanyi
town.
It
was
most
frequently
encountered
at
Ngangao
(where
we
found
it
to
be
the
commonest
bird)
but
was
relatively
scarce
at
Mbololo
and
so
its
abundance
is
apparently
not
closely
related
to
forest
size
or
quality.
Birds
were
seen
in
singles,
pairs
and
large
flocks
of
up
to
c.
25
birds.
Birds
were
occasionally
seen
in
mixed
flocks,
where
they
loosely
associated
with
the
following
species:
Yellow-throated
Woodland
Warbler
Phylloscopus
ruficapillus,
Black-headed
Apalis
Apalis
melanocephala,
Abyssinian
White-eye
Zosterops
abysinnica,
Collared
Sunbird
Anthreptes
collaris
and
Olive
Sunbird
Nectarinia
olivacea.
We
recommend
that
the
species
be
down-listed
from
Critical
(Collar
et
al.
1994)
to
Endangered,
based
on
criterion
B
(extent
of
occurrence
>ioo
but
<5,00o
and
also
area
of
occupancy
>io
but
<50o
km
2
),
subcriteria
Bi
(severe
fragmentation
into
<5
locations)
and
Bea,
b
and
c
(continuing
decline
observed
in
extent
of
occurrence,
area
of
occupancy,
and
area,
extent
and
quality
of
habitat).
It
does
not
(contra
Collar
et
al.
1994)
qualify
under
criteria
C2b
(as
the
species
is
not
restricted
to
a
single
population)
or
Di
(as
there
are
>250
and,
indeed,
probably
>i,000
individuals),
but
does
qualify
under
D2,
as
the
population
occurs
at
only
three
locations:
Mt
Kasigau
(Collar
et
al.
1994),
Mbololo
and
the
main
Taita
Hills
massif.
White-tailed
Crested
Flycatcher
Trochocerus
albonotatus
FF
Four
specimens
in
the
NMK
(No.
6821-4)
from
October
1938,
"Wundanyi
Forest,
Bura
Hills"
and
one
in
the
USNM
(No.
521187)
from
Ngangao,
15
August
1965
Thomas
Brooks
et
al.
132
are
the
only
records
from
the
Taita
Hills
(Lewis
and
Pomeroy
1989).
The
occurrence
of
the
species
in
the
Taita
Hills is
not
in
itself
particularly
surprising,
considering
the
presence
of
a
population
in
the
Usambaras.
However,
the
failure
of
any
recent
surveys
to
record
the
species
suggest
that
it
has
either
become
extinct
in
the
area,
which
would
be
surprising
considering
its
preference
elsewhere
in
Kenya
for
high-altitude
forest
and
tolerance
of
forest
degradation
(Zimmerman
et
al.
1996),
or
that
it
is
an
occasional
wanderer
from
Tanzania
(which
seems
unlikely).
Blue-mantled
Crested
Flycatcher
Trochocerus
cyanomelas
FF
(101A),
*P1o1B
We
found
this
species
quite
commonly
in
forest
understorey
at
Sagalla,
Mwabira
and
Ronge,
and
like
Phyllastrephus
cerviniventris
and
Chlorocichla
flaviventris,
it
appears
to
be
a
resident
of
the
surviving
low
altitude
forests
of
the
Taita
Hills.
There
is
an
overlooked
specimen
from
November
1938
from
Sagalla
(NMK
No.
6565).
We
caught
an
immature
at
Sagalla
on
i
August.
Black-throated
Wattle-eye
Platysteira
peltata
F
*PioiB
We
found
P.
peltata
in
small
numbers
in
Sagalla,
including
an
immature
on
August,
where
it
has
not
previously
been
recorded.
Black-fronted
Bush-Shrike
Malaconotus
nigrifrons
FF
Britton
(1980),
Lewis
and
Pomeroy
(1989)
and
Zimmerman
et
al.
(1986)
list
the
species
as
present
the
Taita
Hills.
However,
we
can
only
trace
historical
specimens,
from
October
1938
(FMNH
No.
201512-3),
3
June
1948
(FMNH
No.
201279)
and
August
1965
(USNM
No.
521615-7),
and
it
seems
that
the
species
is
now
extinct
in
the
Taita
Hills.
Four-coloured
Bush-Shrike
Malaconotus
quadricolor
FF
Regionally
Near-Threatened
There
are
numerous
early
specimens
from
low
altitudes
in
the
Taita
Hills
(ANSP,
NMK,
FMNH),
with
exact
localities
including
Sagalla
(NMK
No.
6766-68,
No.
6772;
FMNH
No.
201344-6),
Bura
(ANSP)
and
Mwatate
(ANSP).
There
is
a
single
recent
record
from
QSD
ioiA
(Lewis
and
Pomeroy
1989),
but
this
concerns
a
bird
trapped
at
Ngulia
in
December
1973
(Backhurst
and
Pearson
1977),
and
Lack
et
al.
(1980)
state
that
the
species
"formerly
occurred
rarely
along
the
Voi
River.
No
recent
records".
The
species
was
probably
never
common
in
the
moist
forest
of
the
Taita
Hills,
and
may
well
now
be
extinct
in
the
area.
Black-backed
Puffback
Dryoscopus
cubla
F
We
recorded
this
species
fairly
commonly
in
forest
edge
at
Ngangao,
Chawia,
Mwabira,
Ronge
Juu
and
Mbololo,
and
also
in
dry
forest
at
1,000
m
at
Choke.
Forest
birds
of
Taita
Hills,
Kenya
1
33
Abbott's
Starling
Cinnyricinclus
femoralis
FF
*ioiA
Globally
Vulnerable
We
recorded
this
species
at
Chawia
only,
with
up
to
20
birds
in
the
forest
canopy
on
15,
16
and
17
July,
and
three
on
25
August.
Reasonable
numbers
of
both
Violet-backed
C.
leucogaster
and
Sharpe's
C.
sharpii
Starlings
were
also
present
at
the
same
time.
The
species
is
known
from
the
Chyulu
Hills
(van
Someren
1939),
possibly
as
a
seasonal
visitor
from
the
population
on
nearby
Mt
Kilimanjaro
(Turner
1977).
The
Chawia
birds
could
therefore
be
either
scarce
residents
or
seasonal
immigrants:
in
either
case,
the
area
may
be
of
significant
importance
for
this
globally
threatened
species.
Sharpe's
Starling
Cinnyricinclus
sharpii
FF
Regionally
Near-Threatened
We
found
C.
sharpii
in
small
numbers
in
forest
canopy
at
Ngangao
and
Chawia.
The
only
other
records
that
we
can
trace
are
two
specimens
in
the
NMK
(No.
6388-9)
from
Wundanyi,
October
1938,
and
presumably
the
species,
like
C.
femoralis,
is
a
rare
resident
in
or
scarce
visitor
to
the
region.
Collared
Sunbird
Anthreptes
collaris
F
We
found
this
species
in
small
numbers
at
Mwabira,
Ronge
Juu
and
Mbololo.
Its
absence
from
the
western
half
of
the
Taita
Hills
is
surprising
and
our
failure
to
record
it
on
Sagalla
even
more
so.
Lewis
and
Pomeroy
(1989)
do
map
records
from
QSD
ioiB,
but
these
are
presumably
from
Tsavo
East
National
Park,
where
it
is
"an
uncommon
resident
along
rivers
and
around
the
Park
HQ"
(Lack
et
al.
1980);
there
are
also
specimens
of
the
species
from
Sagalla
from
August
1918
(FMNH
No.
202183,
AMNH
No.
665832)
and
November
1938
(NMK
No.
5676).
Olive
Sunbird
Nectarinia
olivacea
FF
(101B)
N.
olivacea
is
the
commonest
forest
bird
through
the
Taita
Hills
as
a
whole,
and
we
recorded
it
in
large
numbers
in
forest
at
every
site.
Lewis
and
Pomeroy
(1989)
map
only
historical
presence
in
QSD
ioiB,
where
Lack
et
al.
(1980)
noted
its
apparent
extinction
in
the
Voi
River
forest.
Eastern
Double-collared
Sunbird
Nectarinia
mediocris
F
Regional
Responsibility
We
recorded
N.
mediocris
at
sites
in
the
western
half
of
the
Taita
Hills
only:
Ngangao,
Chawia
and
Vuria.
Its
distribution
in
the
area
appears,
interestingly,
to
be
complementary
with
Collared
Sunbird
A.
collaris.
The
two
species
commonly
occur
together
elsewhere
(Zimmerman
et
al.
1996),
and
so
this may
simply
be
an
altitudinal
effect,
for
A.
collaris
is
typical
of
the
coastal
lowlands
while
N.
mediocris
is
a
montane
species.
However,
N.
mediocris
is
known
from
as
low
as
900
m
in
the
Taitas
(Britton
1980),
and
we
found
A.
collaris
at
1,800
m
in
Mbololo.
Thomas
Brooks
et
al.
134
Green-backed
Twinspot
Mandingoa
nitidula
FF
*1o1B
We
found
this
species
in
small
numbers
in
most
forest
patches:
Ngangao,
Chawia,
Fururu,
Vuria,
Sagalla,
Mwabira
and
Mbololo.
Lewis
and
Pomeroy
(1989)
do
not
map
the
species
for
QSD
io1B,
and
Zimmerman
et
al.
(1996)
show
it
to
be
only
a
visitor
to
the
region,
but
we
found
a
number
of
subadult
birds
(1,
Chawia,
22
Jul;
1,
Vuria,
26
July;
1,
Sagalla,
1
August;
2,
Mwabira,
11
August;
1,
Mbololo,
14
August)
and
it
is
probably
a
relatively
common
resident
in
the
area.
Peter's
Twinspot
Hypargos
niveoguttatus
F
We
recorded
H.
niveoguttatus
fairly
commonly
in
forest
undergrowth
in
Sagalla
and
Mwabira,
suggesting
that
it
is
not
an
uncommon
resident
in
the
remaining
low-altitude
moist
forest
of
the
Taita
Hills.
We
captured
immature
birds
on
30
July,
Sagalla
(1)
and
11
August,
Mwabira
(2).
The
following
forest
generalists
(F)
have
ranges
that
encompass
the
Taita
Hills
(Zimmerman
et
al.
1996)
and
have
been
recorded
in
QSD
ioiA
and
ioiB
and
so
could
possibly
occur,
but
we
have
not
been
able
to
trace
any
records:
African
Hobby
Falco
cuvieri
(QSD
ioiB
only),
African
Green
Pigeon
Treron
calva,
Red-chested
Cuckoo
Cuculus
solitarius,
Yellowbill
Ceuthmochares
aereus,
Bohm's
Spinetail
Neafrapus
boehmi
(QSD
ioiB
only),
Mottled
Spinetail
Telacanthura
ussheri
(QSD
ioiB
only),
Narina's
Trogon
Apaloderma
narina,
Yellow-rumped
Tinkerbird
Pogoniulus
bilineatus,
and
Red-tailed
Ant
Thrush
Neocossyphus
rufus
(FF,
QSD
ioiB
only).
All
of
these
records
are
thus
presumably
based
on
their
sporadic
occurrence
in
Tsavo
East
National
Park,
mainly
in
riverine
forest
(Lack
et
al.
1980).
In
addition,
records
of
five
upland
forest
species
have
been
claimed
from
the
Taita
Hills
but
not
substantiated,
and
their
occurrence
in
the
region
is
doubtful:
three
forest
specialists
(FF),
Eastern
Bronze-naped
Pigeon
Columba
delegorguei
(Moore
1984),
African
Hill
Babbler
Pseudoalcippe
abyssinica
and
Brown
Woodland
Warbler
Phylloscopus
umbrovirens
(Beentje
1987)
and
two
forest
generalists
(F),
White-eyed
Slaty
Flycatcher
Melaeornis
fischeri
(Tetlow
1987),
and
the
regionally
Vulnerable
Ayres's
Hawk-Eagle
Hieraaetus
ayersii
(Moore
1984,
Tetlow
1987,
Beentje
1987).
The
closest
populations
of
all
save
Columba
delegorguei
(for
which
the
closest
locality
is
Kilimanjaro)
are
in
the
Chyulu
Hills
(Zimmerman
et
al.
1996).
Turner
(1979)
suggests
that
Yellow-streaked
Greenbul
Phyllastrephus
flavostriatus
(FF)
may
occur
in
the
Taita
area,
but
there
are
no
known
records
and
the
nearest
populations
are
in
the
South
Pare
and
Usambara
Mountains.
There
is
a
single
specimen
from
Mt
Kasigau
in
the
FMNH
(No.
196465),
collected
by
(or
maybe
for)
V.
G.
L.
van
Someren
in
November
1938
(Turner
1979).
Finally,
there
is
a
mysterious
specimen
of
a
Purple-throated
Cuckoo-Shrike
Campephaga
quiscalina
(ANSP
No.
97625),
collected
in
the
"Teita
Hills"
or
"Leita
Hills"
in
December
1918
by
A.
B.
Percival. The
range
of
this
species
does
not
come
close
to
the
Taita
Hills,
so
maybe
the
specimen
was
in
fact
from
the
Loita
Hills
in
south-western
Kenya,
where
Percival
collected
in
June—August
1918
(ANSP).
Forest
birds
of
Taita
Hills,
Kenya
1
35
Discussion
It
is
beyond
doubt
that
the
Taita
Hills
are
a
critically
important
area
for
conservation,
due
to
their
high
degree
of
biological
uniqueness
and
the
fact
that
only
a
tiny
area
of
natural
habitat
remains.
Besides
three
endemic
species,
these
forests
hold
two
further
species
listed
in
Birds
to
Watch
2
(Collar
et
al.
1994)
and
14
more
listed
on
the
regional
Red Data
List
(Bennun
and
Njoroge
1996).
Forest
clearance
over
the
last
century
has
almost
certainly
caused
the
extinction
of
three
species
in
the
Taita
Hills:
White-tailed
Crested
Flycatcher
Trochocerus
albonotatus,
Black-fronted
Bush-Shrike
Malaconotus
nigrifrons
and
Four-coloured
Bush-Shrike
M.
quadricolor.
Furthermore,
the
fact
that
we
added
no
fewer
than
33
QSD
records
illustrates
the
potential
for
further
new
discoveries
in
the
area.
Action
must
be
taken
to
conserve
this
biodiversity
before
it
is
too
late.
A
number
of
factors
give
cause
for
optimism.
First,
it
seems
that
the
forests
of
the
Taita
Hills
have
been
fragmented
to
a
high
degree
for
a
considerable
time.
While
this
gives
no
room
for
complacency,
for
it
is
imperative
that
they
are
not
further
fragmented,
it
does
give
hope
for
the
medium-term
survival
of
the
area's
resident
forest
species.
Second,
the
listing
of
its
endemic
species
as
Critical
(Collar
et
al.
1994)
has
focused
conservation
action
on
the
Taita
Hills.
The
National
Museums
of
Kenya
are
starting
a
major
project
to
assess
the
biological
impacts
of
forest
fragmentation
in
the
hills,
and
the
East
African
Wildlife
Society
has
initiated
a
community
conservation
project
in
the
Taitas
(http://www.cheetah.demon.nl/
taita.html).
These
projects
deserve
extensive
support
in
their
efforts
to
protect
the
biodiversity
of
the
Taita
Hills.
Most
importantly,
the
Forest
Department
should
be
commended
for
their
careful
management
the
Taita
Hills
forests,
for
biodiversity
in
the
indigenous
forests
and
for
production
in
the
plantations.
Again,
while
there
is
no
room
for
complacency,
it
is
very
encouraging
that
the
last
two
decades
have
seen
forestry
policy
shift
to
take
the
protection
of
indigenous
forests
into
account.
Key
recommendations
for
the
conservation
of
the
Taita
Hills
forests,
based
on
our
observations,
the
literature,
and
an
unpublished
report
on
a
visit
to
the
Taita
Hills
in
April
1994
by
I.
Illingworth,
are
as
follows:
Urgent
implementation
of
the
biological
research
planned
in
the
forests
by
the
National
Museums
of
Kenya
and
associated
institutions.
Urgent
implementation
of
the
outreach
to
local
communities
as
planned
by
the
East
African
Wildlife
Society,
in
particular,
to
discuss
the
benefits
of
conserving
the
remaining
forests.
Based
on
the
results
of
these
projects,
management
plans
for
the
forests
should
be
drawn
up
in
close
conjunction
with
the
Forest
Department
and
the
local
communities.
One
possibility
is
to
have
them
designated
as
National
Monuments
under
the
Antiquities
and
Museums
Act
(1983).
This
could
overlap
with
their
Forest
Department
status
but
would
limit
the
extent
to
which
they
could
be
disturbed
(L.
A.
Bennun
in
litt.).
The
legal
status
of
the
natural
forests
under
the
Forest
Department
should
also
be
clarified
and
the
forests
gazetted
as
soon
as
possible.
In
the
longer
term,
forest
management
should
include
the
removal
of
exotic
trees
from
within
the
forests
(although
those
bordering
the
forests
should
be
Thomas
Brooks
et
al.
136
maintained
as
buffer
zones)
and
the
reforestation
of
cleared
areas
with
native
trees.
Sustainable
forest
use,
based
on
ecotourism
and
the
harvest
of
forest
products
should
also
be
encouraged.
Acknowledgments
We
thank
D.
Barnes,
W.
Barnes,
T.
Butynski,
A.
Cooke,
D.
Eyster,
D.
Gitau,
C.
Jackson,
S.
Karimi,
M.
Kisombe,
L.
Leonard,
J.
Lindsell
and
J.
Sanderson
for
help
with
fieldwork.
On
Sagalla,
we
are
grateful
for
the
hospitality
of
the
family
of
Mr
Julius
K.
Chongo
and
Mrs
Dianah
W.
Kimweri,
especially
Agneta
Kimweri,
Jacob
M.
Kimweri
and
Mary
Chongo
Wilson.
Mrs
J.
Mdamu
(Forester,
Taita-Taveta
District)
and
her
staff
were
very
helpful
to
us,
in
particular
Mr
Frumence
Mwakio
and
Mr
Jonam
Mwandoe
(Ngangao),
Mr
Simon
Mwambeo
and
his
family
(Chawia),
Mr
Sergius
Makanya
(Fururu),
Mr
Johana
Nusu
(Vuria),
Mr Jeremiah
Mintieu
and
Mr
Hilliard
Kimbio
(Sagalla)
and
Mr
Dixon
Mwakwida
(Ronge).
In
the
District
Commissioner's
office,
Wundanyi,
Mr
Joseph
N.
Kariuki
was
especially
helpful.
Further
thanks
go
the
staff
of
the
Ornithology
Department,
National
Museums
of
Kenya,
and
to
J.
Tobias,
for
all
of
their help.
Fieldwork
was
funded
by
National
Geographic
Society
Research
Award
No.
5542-95
to
S.
Pimm
of
the
University
of
Tennessee.
R.
Honea
and
R.
Peplies
obtained
the
land
cover
imagery
thanks
to
the
help
of
the
Government
Survey
(Kenya),
the
Royal
Air
Force
(U.K.),
the
Regional
Centre
for
Services
in
Surveying,
Mapping
and
Remote
Sensing
(Kenya)
and
Ordnance
Survey
International
(U.K.).
P.
Angle,
G.
Barrowclough,
J.
Bates,
S.
Cardiff,
S.
Conyne,
S.
Goodman,
J.
Hinshaw,
T.
Imboma,
C.
Jackson,
M.
LeCroy,
C.
Ludwig,
K.
McGowan,
C.
Milensky,
R.
Paynter,
A.
Pixie,
A.
T.
Peterson,
J.
V.
Remsen,
M.
Robbins,
A.
Rosen,
E.
Rosenbaum,
T.
Schulenberg,
F.
Sibley,
P.
Sweet,
M.
Thompson,
T.
Throckmorton
and
D.
Willard
kindly
helped
us
with
museum
research,
which
was
funded
by
a
Collection
Study
Grant
from
the
American
Museum
of
Natural
History.
G.
Anderson,
K.
Kittelmann,
J.
Lowen,
H.
Merritt,
M.
de
Meyer,
R.
Pople,
J.
Sanderson,
B.
Schmidt,
A.
Stattersfield
and
an
anonymous
reviewer
provided
various
help
with
the
manuscript.
Finally,
we
thank
L.
Bennun,
in
particular,
for
detailed
comments
and
enthusiastic
support
of
our
work.
Appendix.
Non-forest
species
recorded
4
July-19
August
1996
in
the
Taita
Hills
(above
1,000
m).
Grey
Heron
Ardea
cinerea
Hammerkop
Scopus
umbretta
Woolly-necked
Stork
Ciconia
episcopus
Black
Kite
Milvus
migrans
Egyptian
Vulture
Neophron
percnopterus
Hooded
Vulture
Necrosyrtes
monachus
f
Lappet-faced
Vulture
Torgos
tracheliotus
Brown
Snake
Eagle
Circaetus
cinereus
African
Harrier-Hawk
Polyborides
typus
f
Augur
Buzzard
Buteo
augur
Wahlberg's
Eagle
Aquila
wahlbergi
Verreaux's
Eagle
Aquila
verreauxii
Long-crested
Eagle
Lophaetus
occipitalis
f
Lanner
Falcon
Falco
biarmicus
Black
Cuckoo
Cuculus
clamosus
f
Mottled
Swift
Apus
aequatorialis
Little
Swift
Apus
affinis
Speckled
Mousebird
Colius
striatus
Grey-headed
Kingfisher
Halcyon
leucocephala
f
Spot-flanked
Barbet
Tricholaema
lacrymosa
Zanzibar
Sombre
Greenbul
Andropadus
importunus
Common
Bulbul
Pycnonotus
barbatus
f
Cape
Robin-Chat
Cossypha
caffra
f
Common
Stonechat
Saxicola
torquata
Cliff
Chat
Thamnolaea
cinnamomeiventris
(ioiA)
Pale
Flycatcher
Bradornis
pallidus
Lead-coloured
Flycatcher
Myioparus
plumbeus
f
(ioiA)
Singing
Cisticola
Cisticola
cantans
Tawny-flanked
Prinia
Prinia
subflava
f
Grey-backed
Camaroptera
Camaroptera
brachyura
f
Abyssinian
White-eye
Zosterops
abyssinicus
f
White-bellied
Tit
Parus
albiventris
f
Taita
Fiscal
Lanius
dorsalis
Common
Fiscal
Lanius
collaris
(ioiA)
Tropical
Boubou
Lanius
aethiopicus
f
Pied
Crow
Corvus
albus
White-necked
Raven
Corvus
albicollis
Red-winged
Starling
Onychognathus
f
Violet-backed
Starling
Cinnyricinclus
leucogaster
f
Amethyst
Sunbird
Nectarinia
amethystina
f
Forest
birds
of
Taita
Hills,
Kenya
1
37
Brown-breasted
Barbet
Lybius
melanopterus
f
Lesser
Honeyguide
Indicator
minor
f
African
Pied
Wagtail
Motacilla
agu
mp
Striped
Pipit
Anthus
lineiventris
Red-rumped
Swallow
Hirundo
daurica
Lesser
Striped
Swallow
Hirundo
abyssinica
Rock
Martin
Hirundo
fuligula
Variable
Sunbird
Nectarinia
venusta
House
Sparrow
Passer
domesticus
Baglafecht
Weaver
Ploceus
baglafecht
f
Yellow-bellied
Waxbill
Estrilda
quartinia
f
Black-and-white
Mannikin
Lonchura
bicolor
f
Pin-tailed
Whydah
Vidua
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THOMAS
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KAGECHE
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CHRISTINE
WILDER
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40658,
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Department
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569
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Hall,
University
of
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37996-162o,
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LUC
LENS
Laboratory
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B-261o,
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JIM
BARNES
and
ROGER
BARNES
4
Claremont
Drive,
Leeds
LS6
4ED,
U.K.