Grey-headed Greenbul Phyllastrephus poliocephalus


Justification of Red List Category
This species is listed as Near Threatened because it is suspected to be in moderately rapid decline owing to habitat loss and degradation.

Population justification
The global population size has not been quantified, but the species is described as common in suitable habitat (del Hoyo et al. 2005).

Trend justification
The population is suspected to be in moderately rapid decline owing to on-going habitat loss and degradation (del Hoyo et al. 2005).

Distribution and population

Phyllastrephus poliocephalus is restricted to the montane forests of eastern Nigeria and western Cameroon, where it was discovered on the southern slopes of Mt Manenguba in the 1990s (Dowsett-Lemaire and Dowsett 1999), but is not found in the Bamenda Highlands (Stuart 1986) (earlier records from Mt Oku are now known to be in error [Dowsett-Lemaire and Dowsett 1998]). It is common to very common in suitable habitat (P. Hall in litt. 1999, Dowsett-Lemaire and Dowsett 2000).


It inhabits tall, mature rainforest at intermediate elevations (Stuart 1986), and also occurs in secondary forest and secondary growth but always near primary forest (Rodewald et al. 1994). It is found at 500-1,800 m, rarely to 2,000 m, being most abundant at 1,200-1,800 m on Mt Kupe (del Hoyo et al. 2005). It feeds on insects, and forages mainly in the middle-strata and canopy, periodically descending to 3-4 m. Observations from Cameroon suggest that breeding takes place in November-April (del Hoyo et al. 2005).


Forest within the species's range is threatened by unsustainable exploitation for timber and firewood, uncontrolled burning and encroachment for agriculture (Stattersfield et al. 1998). The montane and semi-montane forests of western Cameroon are under increasing pressure for conversion to gardens and, especially in recent years, for establishing vast oil palm plantations, which have encroached upon some of the Bakossi block of forest, for example (F. Dowsett-Lemaire in litt. 2013).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
It occurs in Banyang-Mbo Wildlife Sanctuary and Rumpi Hills Forest Reserve in Cameroon (del Hoyo et al. 2005).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct surveys to obtain a total population estimate. Monitor population trends through regular surveys. Monitor rates of habitat loss and degradation. Increase the area of habitat that is protected.


Text account compilers
O'Brien, A., Robertson, P., Symes, A., Taylor, J. & Westrip, J.

Hall, P., Dowsett, R. & Dowsett-Lemaire, F.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2020) Species factsheet: Phyllastrephus poliocephalus. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 13/07/2020. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2020) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 13/07/2020.