VU
Mauritius Cuckooshrike Lalage typica



Justification

Justification of Red List Category
This species is classified as Vulnerable because it has a very small range and population. If conservation action to rehabilitate native ecosystems allows substantial increases in both the range and population of this species, it may eventually be downlisted to Near Threatened.

Population justification
Currently there are probably c.300-350 pairs (C. Jones in litt. 2000), which is interpreted as indicating a population of 600-700 mature individuals, roughly equating to 900-1,100 individuals in total. However, caution may be necessary as the number of pairs is based on counts of singing males, and doubling these numbers may be misleading (R. Safford in litt. 2007). It is possible that the species exhibits a skewed sex ratio, in which case the effective breeding population would be lower than presently assumed (R. Safford in litt. 2007).

Trend justification
The population has increased since 1975, through expansion into lowland areas and an increase in density in traditional areas (Safford 1997; C. Jones in litt. 2000). Though there have been increases in some regions, declines are suspected in others (V. Tatayah in litt. 2012), therefore the current population trend is uncertain but suspected to be stable in the absence of further data.

Distribution and population

Coracina typica is endemic to Mauritius, occurring at Macchabé-Brise Fer, Black River Peak and Gorges and the southern scarp from Bel Ombre to Combo (Safford and Beaumont 1996, Safford 2013). In 1993, the total population was c.260 pairs, with about one third at Macchabé-Brise Fer. Highest densities (25 territories/km2) were estimated on Macchabé Ridge, and on the plateau 1 km east of Brise Fer Peak (Safford 1997). Currently there are probably c.300-350 pairs (C. Jones in litt. 2000). Since 1975, the population has increased by expansion into lowland areas in the Black River Gorges and Combo (areas contiguous with the previous range), and by an increase in density in traditional areas (Safford 1997, C. Jones in litt. 2000).

Ecology

It inhabits the forest canopy and appears to be strictly territorial throughout the year (Cheke 1987b). It is mostly found in native, moist, upland, tropical evergreen forest above 460 m (range from 250 m to the highest point of the island at 824 m (Cheke 1987b, Safford and Beaumont 1996, Safford 1997), but also in adjacent areas of degraded or altered forest. Its distribution within forest seems to be linked to food availability (Safford 1997). Its diet consists mainly of large, arboreal arthropods and geckos (Safford and Beaumont 1996). Monogamous and territorial, it is resident on territories year round, seen singly or in pairs (Safford 2013). Breeding takes place between late September and late February, with clutches of 2-3 eggs (Safford 2013).

Threats

Habitat loss and degradation, through invasion by exotics and poor regeneration of native plants, has caused this species to decline since human colonisation (Lorence and Sussman 1986), and will remain a long-term threat (R. Safford in litt. 1999). There is circumstantial evidence that organochlorine pesticide-use in the 1950s and 1960s caused a population decline, from which it is now recovering (Safford and Jones 1997). Introduced predators and, to a lesser extent, cyclones take a heavy toll on nests. The introduced Common Mynah Acridotheres tristis eats similar food to C. typica, and may compete (Cheke 1987b).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
The Black River National Park covers most of its range. It has responded well to rehabilitation of native ecosystems in Conservation Management Areas, which has included exclusion of introduced animals and replacement of exotic plants with native species (Safford and Jones 1998, C. Jones in litt. 2000).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct a full population census and calculate densities in relation to habitat-types (C. Jones in litt. 2000). Continue rehabilitation of native forests and development of Conservation Management Areas (R. Safford in litt. 1999, C. Jones in litt. 2000). Start translocating pairs to the Bambous Mountains (C. Jones in litt. 2000): an apparently suitable area, too isolated for natural recolonisation (Safford 1997, Safford and Jones 1997). Eventually, translocate individuals to Mauritian islets, after rehabilitation of islet ecosystems and trial translocations of captive-reared birds over the next few years (Safford and Jones 1998, C. Jones in litt. 2000).

Identification

22 cm. Unobtrusive and secretive arboreal bird. Male grey above and white below. Female very different, having rich rufous underparts and brownish upperparts. Voice Most often located by melodic trill or harsher tschrek.

Acknowledgements

Text account compilers
Ekstrom, J., McClellan, R., Pilgrim, J., Shutes, S., Symes, A., Taylor, J., Warren, B. & Westrip, J.

Contributors
Jones, C., Safford, R. & Tatayah, V.


Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2019) Species factsheet: Lalage typica. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 12/12/2019. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2019) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 12/12/2019.