Olive-flanked Robin-chat Dessonornis anomalus


Justification of Red List Category
This species has a small range, which is declining as a result of habitat loss. Its range size very closely approaches the threshold for Vulnerable under criterion B1 and so it is proposed that this species be listed as Near Threatened.

Population justification
It is abundant on Mount Mulanji (Collar 2016), but the global population has not been quantified.

Trend justification
The population is inferred to be in decline owing to ongoing habitat destruction and fragmentation.

Distribution and population

D. anomalus (as now defined following the taxonomic change) has a fragmented range, being found only in dense understorey of forested habitats on Mount Mulanji, Malawi and Mount Namuli in Mozambique (Collar 2016).


This species is found only in dense understorey of forested habitats.


In November 2007, it was noted that the extent of mid-altitude forest on the eastern slopes of Mt Namuli was in decline (F. Dowsett-Lemaire in litt. 2008), with threats including fires, encroachment by settlements and iron-smelting. In the past, forest has also been lost on Mount Mulanji (Dowsett-Lemaire 1989), and such habitat loss may be continuing.

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions UnderwayMt Namuli is one of the most important sites for bird conservation in Mozambique, but no conservation measures are in place yet.
Conservation Actions ProposedEstablish and enforce formal protection from commercial logging for forest areas on Mt Namuli, including the more remote southern forest as a core wilderness area (Ryan et al. 1999). Assess the possibility of an ecotourism-based conservation programme involving local people (Ryan et al. 1999). Conduct longer-term ecological studies on the species.


Text account compilers
Butchart, S., Ekstrom, J. & Westrip, J.

Dowsett-Lemaire, F.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Species factsheet: Dessonornis anomalus. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 13/08/2022. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2022) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 13/08/2022.