Rufous-winged Illadopsis Illadopsis rufescens


Justification of Red List category
This species is listed as Near Threatened because it is suspected to be experiencing a moderately rapid population decline owing to forest clearance and degradation. Any evidence that the species's population is in rapid decline might qualify it for uplisting to a higher threat category.

Population justification
The global population size has not been quantified: it was estimated to number 9,604 individuals in Gola Forest in 1989. The forest covers less than 5% of the species's range, and so the population can be preliminarily estimated to number at least 190,000 individuals. Given the considerable uncertainty associated with this estimate, it is best placed in the band 100,000-499,999 individuals.

Trend justification
Given ongoing habitat destruction and fragmentation (del Hoyo et al. 2007), which continues to increase in at least part of its range (Arcilla et al. 2015), this species is likely to be in decline but measures of decline across its range are not currently available.

Distribution and population

Illadopsis rufescens is restricted to the Upper Guinea Forests Endemic Bird Area of West Africa, ranging from Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Côte d'Ivoire to Ghana and western Togo (del Hoyo et al. 2007). It has also been recorded from Senegal and Benin (Dowsett and Forbes-Watson 1993), but doubt has been cast over these records (F. Dowsett-Lemaire in litt. 2007). It has been considered generally common, with a density of 4-8 pairs / km2 having been recorded in Liberia (Gatter 1997) and, in 1989, been thought likely to be quite common in Taï National Park, Côte d'Ivoire (Gartshore 1989). Whilst it was still reported to be moderately common in Mt Peko National Park and in gallery forest in Mt Sangbe National Park (H. Rainey in litt. 2007), surveys in Western Region, Ghana, have found it to be absent from most small forest reserves (smaller than 100 km2) and to be present only in small numbers where it occurred (Holbech 1996), being uncommon in Boi-Tano Forest Reserve and rare in Krokosua Forest Reserve (H. Rainey in litt. 2007). Modern accounts describe the species as generally uncommon to rare (del Hoyo et al. 2007). 


This species is widespread in the forest zone, occurring in primary forest, mature secondary regrowth, coastal thickets and, less commonly, logged and disturbed forest (Gatter 1997, del Hoyo et al. 2007). It occurs at 760-1,220 m in Sierra Leone and 535-1,400 m in Liberia (del Hoyo et al. 2007). It forages on the ground and low down in the understorey (Gatter 1997) for beetles, grasshoppers, termites and other insects, as well as small snails and small amphibians. It appears to breed year-round (del Hoyo et al. 2007).


It is threatened throughout its range by forest clearance due to commercial logging and agricultural encroachment and, in Ghana, it may suffer severe reduction in numbers if logging intensifies (Holbech 1996).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
The species occurs in Taï National Park (Gartshore 1989), Mt Peko National Park, Mt Sangbe National Park and Boi-Tano and Krokosua forest reserves (H. Rainey in litt. 2007), at least.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct surveys to obtain a total population estimate. Survey areas where the species has been recorded in Benin and Senegal, and re-evaluate the records from these countries. Monitor population trends through regular surveys. Monitor rates of habitat loss and degradation across its range. Increase the area of suitable habitat that has protected status.


Text account compilers
Ekstrom, J., Khwaja, N., O'Brien, A., Robertson, P., Taylor, J. & Westrip, J.

Demey, R., Dowsett-Lemaire, F. & Rainey, H.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Species factsheet: Illadopsis rufescens. Downloaded from http://datazone.birdlife.org/species/factsheet/rufous-winged-illadopsis-illadopsis-rufescens on 25/09/2023. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2023) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://datazone.birdlife.org on 25/09/2023.