Namuli Apalis Apalis lynesi


Justification of Red List category
This species has a small range which is undergoing habitat loss and degradation from illegal logging for planting potato cash crops. The range is now restricted to a few locations, and consequently, this species is classified as Endangered.

Population justification
Surveys in 2007-2008 estimated a population size of 600-700 pairs on Namuli, based on density estimates of 5 pairs/10 ha over an area of 1200-1400 ha (Dowsett-Lemaire, 2010). Due to deforestation, the remaining suitable habitat on Namuli is now estimated to be 300-500 ha (Dowsett-Lemaire pers. comm. 2020), which would equate to roughly 150-250 pairs, or 300-500 mature individuals, based on previous population densities. Assuming the population densities are the same in the 800 ha of suitable habitat on Mabu, this would equate to an additional 400 pairs, or 800 mature individuals, and an overall total of 1100-1300 mature individuals. However, the forest on Mabu is believed to be sub-optimal for this species, and Dowsett-Lemaire (2010) found vastly different population densities at the two sites, with only an estimated few dozen pairs over the whole 800 ha at Mabu. If this is closer to the true population density on Mabu, the population size on Mabu may actually be <100 mature individuals. The population estimate is therefore placed at 400-1300 mature individuals, and due to the sub-optimal habitat quality at Mabu, it is likely that the current population is nearer the lower estimate.

Trend justification
The population is inferred to be experiencing high rates of decline due to substantial habitat loss from deforestation for potato cash crop production (Dowsett-Lemaire, 2010; Timberlake, 2017).

Distribution and population

Apalis lynesi is known from the Namuli and Mabu massifs, Mozambique, where it was common on Mt Namuli (the main peak) in 1932 (Vincent 1933-1935). Studies in 2007/2008 estimated a minimum population of 600-700 pairs on Namuli, based on density estimates of 5 pairs/10 ha (Dowsett-Lemaire, 2010). On Mabu, the species was found to be much rarer, with an estimated few dozen pairs in the 800 ha (Dowsett-Lemaire, 2010). The remaining extent of suitable habitat combined at both sites is now estimated to be c. 21 km2 (F Dowsett-Lemaire 2020 pers. comm.).


It inhabits montane forests, especially along edge habitat and clearings with dense undergrowth. It also inhabits secondary growth vegetation a few metres high (F Dowsett-Lemaire, 2020, pers.comm., 27 February; Ryan, 2020). Breeding records for this species include Ryan et al. (1999) who reported a nest under construction in November, and Dowsett-Lemaire (2010) who found nestlings in November 2007.


While this species can tolerate some habitat disturbance (Ryan 2020), the current rate of clearance is unsustainable if moist forest cover is to remain on Mt Namuli (Timberlake 2017). The forests at Mabu are undisturbed, but the climate there is believed to be too warm and dry for this species (F Dowsett-Lemaire 2020, pers. comm., 27 February). The loss of Afromontane forest due to potato cash crops on Mt Namuli since 2007 is extensive. An estimated 10% has been lost from the greater Manho Forest, and up to 80% has been lost in the Nivolo Valley, below Mt Pesse (Timberlake 2017). Despite the seed bank, there is little evidence of natural forest regeneration, owing to frequent wild fires (Timberlake 2017).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
Mt Namuli is one of the most important sites for bird conservation in Mozambique, but no conservation measures are in place yet. (Ryan et al. 1999).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Stop further forest clearance, and focus agricultural improvement efforts on fields below 1500 m. Establish controls on wild fires to help the potential regeneration of forest vegetation (Timberlake 2017). Conduct longer-term ecological studies on the species.


14-16 cm. Medium-sized warbler of forest. Greyish head, black throat and breast, dark green back and yellow underparts. Silvery-white eye. Similar spp. None in its known range. Voice Repeated pillip pillip.


Text account compilers
Clark, J.

Dowsett-Lemaire, F., Parker, V., Ryan, P.G., Spottiswoode, C., Timberlake, J.R., Starkey, M., Taylor, J., Harding, M., Evans, M., Ekstrom, J., Shutes, S., Symes, A. & Westrip, J.R.S.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Species factsheet: Apalis lynesi. Downloaded from http://datazone.birdlife.org/species/factsheet/namuli-apalis-apalis-lynesi on 27/09/2023. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2023) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://datazone.birdlife.org on 27/09/2023.