Justification of Red List Category
This species has a very large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size has not been quantified, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
The overall population trend is decreasing, although some populations have unknown trends (Wetlands International 2006).
Behaviour This species is sedentary, but may make local movements when grassland habitats dry out or are burnt (del Hoyo et al. 1996). It may also make altitudinal movements in South Africa in relation to seasonal fluctuations in the number of invertebrates (del Hoyo et al. 1996). The species generally breeds during the rains (del Hoyo et al. 1996), nesting in solitary territorial pairs (and remaining territorial even during the non-breeding season) (Taylor and van Perlo 1998), and forages diurnally (del Hoyo et al. 1996). Habitat The species inhabits small streams and marshy patches in dry upland or montane grassland with long or short grass, bracken, brambles or Protea, and near forest edges, in fields of crops (e.g. lucerne and millet) (del Hoyo et al. 1996, Urban et al. 1996), and occasionally in Psoralea-Osmitopsis fynbos in South Africa (Taylor and van Perlo 1998). It requires dense cover with clear ground for foraging (del Hoyo et al. 1996). Diet Its diet consists of insects (such as beetles, cockroaches, adult and larval Lepidoptera, ants, termites, grasshoppers, crickets and flies), earthworms, small spiders and vegetable matter such as grass and sedge seeds (del Hoyo et al. 1996, Taylor and van Perlo 1998). Breeding site The nest is a bowl of dry grass and rootlets built into a grass tuft (del Hoyo et al. 1996, Urban et al. 1996).
This species is threatened by the loss of its grassland habitat through overgrazing, afforestation and too frequent burning.
Text account compilers
Ekstrom, J., Butchart, S., Malpas, L.
BirdLife International (2020) Species factsheet: Sarothrura affinis. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 22/01/2020. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2020) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 22/01/2020.