Monteiro's Bush-shrike Malaconotus monteiri


Justification of Red List Category
This poorly understood species is suspected to have a small population, which is suspected to be declining due to the ongoing destruction of its habitat. The subpopulation structure has not been assessed however, it is thought that the species forms at least two disjunct subpopulations. This species is therefore listed as Near Threatened under criteria C2a(i).

Population justification
The population size has not been quantified. In Angola, recent surveys found it to be relatively rare (Cáceres et al. 2015), while other studies found it more widespread and at least locally very common (Mills and Dean 2007, Mills 2010). A preliminary estimate can be derived based on the population estimate of the closely related Bokmakierie (Telophorus zeylonus), which occurs in a much larger global range, is described as ‘not uncommon’ in Angola and estimated to number 670-6,700 mature individuals (Dean 2000, BirdLife International 2019, see also eBird 2019). Unless more detailed information becomes available, we can tentatively assume Monteiro’s Bush-shrike to have a similar population size, however given that Monteiro’s Bush-shrike has been described as locally very common, it is considered unlikely to have a population smaller than 1,000 mature individuals. The population is therefore tentatively placed in the band 1,000-6,700 mature individuals.

Trend justification
Monteiro’s Bush-shrike is suspected to be in decline due to the ongoing destruction of its habitat. Considerable forest loss has occurred on the Angolan scarp already in the last decades. The major driver of forest loss is the conversion of forests into agricultural land by subsistence farmers. Canopy trees and forest undergrowth, but also overgrown coffee plantations and secondary growth have been removed to give way for cultivations of banana, manioc, sweet potatoes, cassava and maize (W. R. J. Dean in litt. 1999, F. Olmos in litt. 2011, M. Mills in litt. 2019).

Distribution and population

Malaconotus monteiri is known only from a small number of records from a few sites on the escarpment zone of Angola, and recent surveys in Kumbira Forest, Angola, found it to be relatively rare, being found at only 8% of sampling points (Cáceres et al. 2015). However, surveys in 2005 found it to be more widespread than previously thought, with records from eight of the 13 sites visited, ranging from Dande River in the north, to Canjala (Egito) in the south (Mills and Dean 2007, Mills 2010). Its distribution in Cameroon is somewhat unclear; while one specimen collected in the 19th century originated from Mt Cameroon, more recent records of the species are thought to relate to the very similar Grey-headed Bush-shrike (Malaconotus blanchoti) and are perhaps best considered unconfirmed (Mills 2010). In 1992, it was not found during survey work on the Angolan scarp, and a single bird on Mt. Kupe, Cameroon, originally believed to be M. monteiro may be more likely a colour morph of M. gladiator (F. Dowsett-Lemaire, R. J. Dowsett and N. Collar in litt. 2016). 


It occurs in drier forest above and below the main scarp, but not in the moister forest on the main scarp, and appears to be locally fairly common (Mills 2010). It shows some tolerance of habitat modification and transitional habitats, having been recorded in forest under-planted with coffee, moist secondary growth, coffee plantations, thickets and riverine forest (P. Vaz Pinto in litt. 2012).


Considerable forest loss was noted to have occurred during survey work on the Angolan scarp in 1992 and the loss of habitat to subsistence agriculture is continuing; at Gabela 20-70% of canopy trees in places and all the undergrowth in valley bottoms is being cleared to plant bananas and sweet potatoes (W. R. J. Dean in litt. 1999). In other areas, up to 95% of the forest canopy is being removed to plant cassava and maize (W. R. J. Dean in litt. 1999). During a visit to the species's range in 2008, it was found that large areas of overgrown shade coffee plantations and secondary growth in Kumbira Forest and around Seles were being converted to manioc, banana and maize cultivation by subsistence farmers (F. Olmos in litt. 2011).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway

None is known.

Conservation Actions Proposed

Carry out further surveys in Angola to determine the distribution of the species and to better assess how threatened it is and to recommend suitable sites for nature reserves. Monitor rates of habitat loss and degradation in its range. Protect areas of suitable habitat. Genetic material of the one claimed specimen from Mt Cameroon ought to be examined and compared with that of M. monteiri in Angola and M. gladiator in Cameroon (F. Dowsett-Lemaire in litt. 2016).


25 cm. A large green, yellow and grey shrike of the rain forest. The grey head, clear yellow underparts, yellow spotted wings and green mantle are all characters that make this species distinctive. Similar spp. Much paler than Green-breasted Bush-shrike which occurs alongside. Further differs by heavier bill and clear white eye ring. Voice Similar mournful whistle to Green-breasted Bush-shrike but shorter and given in series of five, not three, notes. Hints Best area is forests trails on Mt Kupe, Cameroon.


Text account compilers
Pilgrim, J., Symes, A., Bird, J., Taylor, J., Westrip, J., Smith, D., Shutes, S., Butchart, S., Starkey, M.

Dean, W.R.J., Dowsett-Lemaire, F., Mills, M., O'Kah, E., Olmos, F., Vaz Pinto, P. & Collar, N.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2021) Species factsheet: Malaconotus monteiri. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 05/12/2021. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2021) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 05/12/2021.