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). 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). 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). Therefore, this species is now listed as Least Concern.
The global population size has not been quantified, but the species is described as uncommon (Clement 1999).
The population is suspected to be decreasing owing to habitat clearance and degradation, however the rate of decline has not been quantified.
Crithagra melanochroa is endemic to Tanzania where it is confined to the Njombe highlands and the Udzungwa Mountains (N. Baker in litt.). It is found on Mt Rungwe, north and south of Little Ruaha River near Iringa, and south of Mtandika (Fry and Keith 2004). The species is fairly common in Chita Forest at 1,700 m, and Kigogo Forest and Dabaga at 1,800 m. It also occurs at Mufundi and in the Kisinga Rugaro Forest Reserve in the West Ndundulus, where it is not uncommon (Fry and Keith 2004). It may also occur in forests near the Zambian and Malawian borders.
It is a bird of high forest and bushland, occurring from 1,500 to 3,000 m (Clement et al. 1993). It feeds on fruit and hard seeds of trees and shrubs and also forages on the ground (Clement et al. 1993).
Forest within its range is threatened as a result of clearance for agriculture, replacement with plantations, and selective cutting for timber and firewood (N. Baker in litt.). Although the species's current status is unknown, these threats (combined with its very restricted range) put it at some risk.
Conservation Actions Underway
Some montane forest is protected in the Udzungwa Mountains National Park and various forest reserves.
Text account compilers
Evans, M., O'Brien, A., Robertson, P., Symes, A., Taylor, J. & Westrip, J.
BirdLife International (2019) Species factsheet: Crithagra melanochroa. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 13/11/2019. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2019) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 13/11/2019.