New Britain Thicketbird Megalurulus grosvenori


Justification of Red List Category
This species is classified as Vulnerable because it is thought to have a very small population. However it has not been seen since it was discovered in 1959 and it might prove to be more threatened.

Population justification
There is no evidence for estimating the population size except for negative records from sites slightly lower than the species' single known historical location. The population size is provisionally placed in the band 250-999 mature individuals.

Trend justification

Buchanan et al. (2008) calculated the rate of habitat loss within the range of this species as c.5% over three generations based on the rate of apparent habitat loss from remote sensing images, but this seems unlikely given its attitudinal range and needs ground-truthing. Less detailed analysis is available for later years but the overall rate of forest loss has slowed, with about 2.2% of forest was lost plus 5.2% degraded across New Britain (mostly in the lowlands) between 2002 and 2014 (Bryan and Shearman 2015). 

Distribution and population

Megalurulus grosvenori is known from two specimens from the island of New Britain, Papua New Guinea. These were collected in 1959 in the Whiteman Mountains; after the first specimen was collected, only one other pair was found during four days of specific searching (Gilliard 1960). Other historic collectors and recent observers (K. D. Bishop in litt. 1994, Clay 1994, D. Gibbs in litt. 1994, G. Dutson pers. obs. 1997-1998) have failed to find this species. However, very few observers have reached the necessary altitudes and thicketbirds are skulking and rarely seen unless calling. It is likely to be replaced at lower altitudes by Rusty Thicketbird Ortygocichla rubiginosa which has been seen up to 1,400 m (G. Dutson pers. obs. 1997-1998).


The specimens were collected in montane forest on karst limestone at c.1,700 m. Believed to forage on the ground, low stems and up to one metre in bushes (Dutson 2011). 


Forest at the altitudes this species probably inhabits is little threatened by logging or clearance, although small scale habitat degradation has been noted above 1,600 m (Buchanan et al. 2008). This species may possibly be at risk from introduced predatory mammals.

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
None is known.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Identify and effectively protect a network of reserves, including some containing large areas of montane forest and some large community based conservation areas. Continue to monitor trends in forest loss. Conduct searches to rediscover this species.


Text account compilers
Derhé, M., Dutson, G. & Mahood, S.

Beehler, B., Bishop, K., Dutson, G., Gibbs, D. & Wilkinson, R.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2019) Species factsheet: Megalurulus grosvenori. Downloaded from on 15/11/2019. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2019) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 15/11/2019.