Loveridge's Sunbird Cinnyris loveridgei


Justification of Red List Category
This species is listed as Endangered because it has a very small range, and occurs in only one forest tract (divided into two sections with a reforestation corridor between them), where its forest habitat is being slowly, but continuously, degraded. Improved land management would reduce pressure to expand farmland, and hence reverse habitat degradation. In such a case, where habitat extent and quality remained stable, the species could be downlisted to a lower category of threat.

Population justification
The total population has been estimated at between 21,000 and 166,000 individuals, with a likely figure of 37,000 individuals (Tøttrup et al. 2004). Assuming two-thirds of the individuals are mature, this equates roughly to 24,700 (14,000- 110,700) mature individuals.

Trend justification
The species's population is believed to be declining very slowly due to ongoing habitat loss and degradation (A. Tøttrup in litt. 2006; N. Burgess in litt. 2006). Between 2008-2019, 4.7% of forest was lost from this species's range (Global Forest Watch 2020), which equates roughly to a loss of 4.3% over three generations. As this species appears intolerant of habitat degradation, it is suspected that the population is declining at a similar rate. The overall rate of past decline is placed in the band 1-9% to account for uncertainty. Between 2016-2019, 3.4% of forest was loss from this species's range (Global Forest Watch 2020), which equates roughly to a loss of 8.3% over three generations. The overall rate of future decline is placed in the 1-15% band to account for uncertainties.

Distribution and population

This species is entirely confined to the Uluguru Nature Reserve (previously split into Uluguru North, Uluguru South and Bunduki Forest Reserves) in Tanzania, although it may occasionally wander to Shikurufumi and Kasanga Forest Reserves.


This species prefers sub-montane to montane forest between 1,200 and 2,560 m in altitude (A. Tøttrup in litt. 2005; Tøttrup and Larsen 2005), and appears to be rather intolerant of habitat degradation (N. Cordeiro in litt. 2006; A. Tøttrup in litt. 2006), although it has been known to wander into, and occasionally breed in, non-forest habitats (Cheke et al. 2001; N. Cordeiro in litt. 2006). The breeding season is believed to be protracted, lasting from at least August to March (Tøttrup and Larsen 2005). Closed nests contain two or three eggs, are made of grass and moss, and are hung from branches several metres (mean 3.1 m, range 1.5-10 m) above the ground (Tøttrup and Larsen 2005). Observations suggest that only the female incubates the eggs (Tøttrup and Larsen 2005). The diet is comprised largely of nectar, supplemented with insects (Cheke et al. 2001; Tøttrup and Larsen 2005). The species is often gregarious around flowering plants and trees, but also feeds alone and in pairs, and joins mixed flocks (Tøttrup and Larsen 2005).


Extensive habitat loss, mostly due to conversion to cultivation, has occurred in the Ulugurus (Burgess et al. 2002; Hall et al. 2009), but this has so far generally been at lower altitudes than those preferred by this species (Tøttrup et al. 2004). Slow loss and degradation of forest habitat within the Uluguru Nature Reserve in the main threat to this species (N. Burgess in litt. 2012). This has consisted of cutting for firewood and some timber, leading to loss of tree cover and consequent increases of thicket tangles and invasive brambles (N. Burgess in litt. 2006). There is evidence to suggest that in the absence of indigenous trees, plantations can provide useful habitat for this forest-specialist species, and act as a corridor between forest patches (Werema and Howell 2016). However, it is unclear how much effect such slow degradation is having on the species's population, but it is presumed to be declining as a result. 

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
The full range of the species now comes under the protection of the Uluguru Nature Reserve, which was created by the government in 2009 and linked three existing reserves, known as Uluguru North, Uluguru South and Bunduki Forest Reserves. The boundaries of the Uluguru Nature Reserve have been cleared and planted in recent years, and management agreements have been made with surrounding communities (N. Burgess in litt. 2012).  The deforested Bunduki ‘corridor’ that links the northern and southern forest blocks within the Uluguru Nature Reserve is in the process of being replanted with native tree species (N. Burgess in litt. 2012).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Carry out further surveys to obtain a more accurate estimate of the population. Conduct repeat surveys to monitor the species's population trends. Monitor the clearance and degradation of forest in its range. Conduct research to further clarify the tolerance of this species to habitat degradation. Improve management effectiveness of the Uluguru Nature Reserve.


11cm. Small sunbird with long curved bill. Male has head and upperparts iridescent green. Thin violet breast band, with large trianglular orange-red breast patch separating large yellow lateral feather tufts, and yellow-olive flanks to vent. Female is greenish-olive above, with head and throat greyer, and underparts yellower. Similar spp. Male similar to Regal Sunbird Nectarinia regia of the Albertine Rift, but has duller yellow-olive flanks and vent, rather than red vent. Female very similar to Moreau's and Eastern Double-collared Sunbird Nectarinia moreaui and fuelleborni. Distinguished from these species by range and voice. Voice Song is a 3-4 second fast and rolling rattle of high-pitched tsi notes, often preceeded by a few introductory double tsp-tee notes. Call is a sharp chip, tsk or pzit.


Text account compilers
Clark, J.

Burgess, N., Butchart, S., Cordeiro, N., Ekstrom, J., Fjeldså, J., Pilgrim, J., Robertson, P., Starkey, M., Symes, A., Taylor, J., Tøttrup, A.P. & Westrip, J.R.S.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Species factsheet: Cinnyris loveridgei. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 09/08/2022. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2022) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 09/08/2022.