Justification of Red List Category
This species is listed as Near Threatened because evidence shows that it is more tolerant of habitat modification than previously thought. Rapid rates of deforestation in its range are nevertheless suspected to be driving a moderately rapid population decline (it almost qualifies for listing as threatened under criteria A2c+3c+4c).
The population size is preliminarily estimated to fall into the band 10,000-19,999 mature individuals.
The population is suspected to be in moderately rapid decline, owing to the clearance of forest in the species's range primarily for commercial timber extraction and subsistence agriculture. The rate of decline is not thought to be more severe because the species shows some tolerance of modified habitats.
Bleda eximius is found in the Upper Guinea forests from south-eastern Guinea, Sierra Leone (localities include Gola Forest, the Western Area Peninsular Forest and Kangari Hills Forest Reserve [Okoni-Williams et al. 2001]), Liberia (common resident from the coast to the northern border at Voinjama [Gatter 1997]), Côte d'Ivoire (Taï National Park [Gartshore et al. 1995], Yapo Forest, where rare in 1993 [Demey and Fishpool 1994], Cavally Forest Reserve, where rarely observed [H. Rainey in litt. 2007], Mt Nimba and, in 1999, found in the Bossematié area [Waltert et al. 1999]) and southern Ghana (with a continuous range from Cape Three Points and the Côte d’Ivoire border, north to Bosumkese Hill, east to the Atewa Range and Worobong South Forest Reserves, and south-east to Kakum National Park where it is common; it is also described as abundant in the Western Region [Holbech 1992, 1996], e.g. Boi-Tano, Draw River and Krokosua [H. Rainey in litt. 2007]). It vocalises relatively infrequently outside the rainy season (H. Rainey in litt. 2007, F. Dowsett-Lemaire in litt. 2011), and most observers and fieldworkers visit suitable habitat when the species is less vocal, resulting in underestimates of local abundance (Dowsett-Lemaire and Dowsett 2009, F. Dowsett-Lemaire in litt. 2010, 2011). The species is suspected to be in decline owing to habitat loss; however, the rate of decline may not be as rapid as once thought, as evidence suggests that it is tolerant of forest degradation, such as that caused by logging and road-building (Dowsett-Lemaire and Dowsett 2009, F. Dowsett-Lemaire in litt. 2010).
The species's optimal habitat may be closed-canopy lowland forest up to 1,400 m, in Ghana preferring undisturbed, wet evergreen forest (Holbech 1992, 1996), and it appears to have more restricted habitat requirements than the Yellow-bearded Greenbul Criniger olivaceus (H. Rainey in litt. 2007). However, in Liberia, it is found in high forest and also mature secondary forest (Gatter 1997), and it shows tolerance to forest degradation, as caused by logging and road-building, for example (Dowsett-Lemaire and Dowsett 2009, F. Dowsett-Lemaire in litt. 2010). It forages mainly on the ground in dense understorey vegetation, and is a follower of ant columns (P. Robertson in litt. 1998, F. Dowsett-Lemaire in litt. 2011).
Remaining large tracts of forest in Liberia are under intense and increasing pressure from commercial logging and a consequent increase in settlement and smallholder agriculture (Fauna and Flora International 2000). Elsewhere in the Upper Guinea region, forest survives in fragmented patches which are under intense pressure for logging and agriculture (Fauna and Flora International 2000). Overall, there has been a slight decrease recently in the rate of forest loss in the Upper Guinea Region, mostly owing to a decrease in Côte d'Ivoire, where the return of peace may allow the rate to increase again (H. Rainey in litt. 2007), although an evaluation of the rate of habitat loss since the end of the conflict here is required to understand the threat faced by the loss of this habitat (H. Rainey in litt. 2016). Forests on the Guinea and Côte d'Ivoire border, on and near Mt Nimba, have little effective protection and clearance for agriculture, industry and logging is taking place rapidly (H. Rainey in litt. 2007).
Conservation Actions Underway
Taï National Park and periphery habitat (including Haute Dodo and Cavally Forest Reserves) in Côte d'Ivoire is the largest and best-preserved area of Upper Guinea forest (Gartshore et al. 1995), but management needs to be improved (H. Rainey in litt. 2007). The Gola Forest Reserve in Sierra Leone is a protected area, as are the Kangari Hills and the Western Area Peninsular Forest, but the legal protection is not always enforced (Okoni-Williams et al. 2001). In Ghana, it occurs in a number of protected areas, including Bia, Ankasa and Kakum national parks, Dadieso Forest Reserve and Boin River Forest Reserve (F. Dowsett-Lemaire in litt. 2011).
20cm. Green-and-yellow bulbul. Greenish-brown upperparts and yellow underparts. Yellow tips to outertail obvious at times. Similar spp. Differs from Bristlebill B. syndactyla by the yellow-tipped green, not uniform rusty, tail. Voice Descending in pitch, with tremulous lisping quality rather similar to that of B. syndactyla. Hints Inconspicuous and difficult to observe on the forest floor and lower stratum of forests, where it hides among shrubs. Frequent member of mixed-species flocks.
Text account compilers
Starkey, M., Benstead, P., Ekstrom, J., Taylor, J., Shutes, S., Symes, A., Westrip, J.
Rainey, H., Dowsett-Lemaire, F., Thompson, H.S., Hall, P., Robertson, P., Fishpool, L., Allport, G.
BirdLife International (2020) Species factsheet: Bleda eximius. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 23/01/2020. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2020) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 23/01/2020.