Justification of Red List Category
This species has a very large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km² combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population size has not been quantified, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
The population size of this species has not been quantified. It is apparently not uncommon at some sites (del Hoyo et al. 2002), but has been described more widely as 'uncommon' (F. Dowsett-Lemaire in litt. 2013, Rwanda Birding Association per J. Hogg in litt. 2013) and 'rarely seen' (A. Plumptre in litt. 2013).
This species's population is inferred to be in decline owing to the continued destruction, degradation and fragmentation of the Albertine Rift forests (T. Butynski in litt. 2013; Ryan et al. 2017; Global Forest Watch 2020).
Indicator pumilio is restricted to the Albertine Rift mountains in Rwanda, Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), possibly also occurring in Burundi (Fry et al. 1988). It has been described as 'uncommon' ( F. Dowsett-Lemaire in litt. 2013, Rwanda Birding Association per J. Hogg in litt. 2013) and 'rarely seen' (A. Plumptre in litt. 2013), although it is apparently not uncommon at some sites (del Hoyo et al. 2002). This unobtrusive species appears to lack an advertising song and thus is difficult to detect, so it is possible that its apparent overall rarity may simply be a result of under-recording (Dowsett-Lemaire 1990).
The species favours montane forest at 1,500-2,400 m, and feeds on beeswax and insects (Fry et al. 1988). In Nyungwe Forest, Rwanda, it occurs in semi-open forest in drier areas (Dowsett-Lemaire 1990). Its breeding season in eastern DRC is probably August-December, also May-June and possibly February (del Hoyo et al. 2002). It probably parasitises the nests of tinkerbirds Pogoniulus spp. or small woodpeckers (del Hoyo et al. 2002).
Forest within parts of its range is highly threatened as a result of shifting agriculture and illicit logging, exacerbated by high population pressure (Butynski et al. 1997; Hall et al. 1998; Omari et al. 1999), and the destruction, degradation and fragmentation of the Albertine Rift forests is on-going (T. Butynski in litt. 2013; Ryan et al. 2017). Gishwati Forest in Rwanda has been eroded greatly but this may have ceased (J. Hogg in litt. 2013). Mukura Forest in Rwanda (which may be suitable for the species, although it has not been recorded there) has been damaged recently by illegal mining and associated tree felling (J. Hogg in litt. 2013). The montane forests of the eastern sector of Congo-Kinshasa (DRC) continue to suffer degradation facilitated by on-going and protracted civil war (F. Dowsett-Lemaire in litt. 2013).
Conservation Actions Underway
The species occurs within the Bwindi-Impenetrable National Park, Kahuzi-Biéga National Park, Virunga National Park and Nyungwe Forest Reserve.
Text account compilers
Butynski, T.M., Dowsett-Lemaire, F., Evans, M., Finch, B., Hogg, J., Ntahuga, L., O'Brien, A., Plumptre, A.J., Robertson, P., Symes, A., Taylor, J. & Westrip, J.R.S.
BirdLife International (2022) Species factsheet: Indicator pumilio. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 23/01/2022. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2022) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 23/01/2022.