Turner's Eremomela Eremomela turneri


Justification of Red List Category
The range of this species is small and fragmented, with ongoing habitat loss and degradation believed to be causing an ongoing population decline. For these reasons the species qualifies as Near Threatened. 

While it was previously listed as Endangered, the establishment of the use of a Minimum Convex Polygon for the calculation of the species's extent of occurrence (EOO) means that the species does not, and would not have previously qualified as Endangered. However, new population size and occupancy data are a priority and if the population is smaller and more restricted than previously thought, the species will require reassessment.

Population justification
The population in South Nandi Forest has been estimated at c.13,900 birds, and more recently at c. 14,400 birds (Otieno et al. 2011). The population in closed canopy forest in Kakamega has recently been estimated at c. 4,300 individuals (Otieno et al. 2014). Thus, the total population suspected to be >19,999 individuals, and so is tentatively placed in the range bracket of 20,000-49,999 individuals. This roughly equates to 13,333-33,333 mature individuals, rounded here to 13,000-34,000 mature individuals. Robust, repeated survey is required to validate this preliminary estimate and to be able to detect population changes.

Trend justification
The population is suspected to be in decline owing to the effects of forest clearance for cultivation, small-scale and commercial logging activities and intense grazing by livestock. The likely rate of decline has not been estimated.

Distribution and population

Eremomela turneri has a patchy distribution which is very poorly known. In western Kenya, the nominate subspecies occurs in Kakamega and South and North Nandi Forests (Kosgey 1998, Bett et al. 2016). There are also historical records from the Yala river (van Someren 1920) (where the type-specimen was taken) and from near the south of Mt Elgon (van Someren 1920) (no specimen and its presence there has never been confirmed). Subspecies kalindei has been found in east-central Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) at five sites in the south-eastern corner of the equatorial forest belt (Prigogine 1958). There is also one record of this subspecies from north-east DRC and one from extreme south-west Uganda (Chapin 1953), but there are no recent observations from either location, the second of which was probably deforested in the 1960s or 1970s (T. Butynski in litt. 1999). Its stronghold appears to be South Nandi Forest, where the population has been estimated at c.13,900 birds (Kosgey 1998), and c.14,400 birds in 2009 (Otieno et al. 2011), while Kakamega may hold c.4,300 birds in the closed canopy forest (Otieno et al. 2014).


It is found in lowland and mid-altitude forest, mostly in the canopy of large trees (Prigogine 1958, Kosgey 1998) but also along streams, at forest edges and in mature trees remaining in cleared areas (Prigogine 1958). At South Nandi, more than half of sightings were of groups of four (but groups of up to 15 have been recorded from DRC [Prigogine 1958]) and it showed a very strong preference for one large tree species, Croton megalocarpus, occurring in areas of relatively tall, dense canopy (Kosgey 1998). Density of the species in South Nandi and Kakamega appears to be negatively affected by disturbance, in particular logging (Otieno et al. 2011, 2014).


In Kenya, both Kakamega and South Nandi Forests have been damaged by encroachment for cultivation, illegal charcoal production, grazing and logging (Bennun and Njoroge 1999, Kagombe 2015). In Kakamega, intense cattle-grazing from small-scale farms is affecting forest structure and forest regeneration (Bennun and Njoroge 1999). In South Nandi, commercial logging is extracting large volumes of timber in a highly destructive manner, despite a general Presidential ban on logging of indigenous trees, and is targeting this species's preferred tree, C. megalocarpus (Bennun and Njoroge 1999). Covering 18,000 ha after multiple excisions for settlement, the area of closed-canopy forest in South Nandi is now down to c.11 000–12 000 ha, with the rest exotic plantations, tea, cultivation or scrub (Kagombe 2015).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
The northern third of Kakamega Forest is designated as a national reserve and is somewhat better protected than the rest of the forest. A local guides group in Kakamega has started a programme of environmental education and awareness activities, and there are moves to begin similar work around South Nandi (Bennun and Njoroge 1999). However, effective conservation of the forests would require a major project (Bennun and Njoroge 1999).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Initiate major conservation projects for Kakamega and South Nandi Forests (Bennun and Njoroge 1999). Study the species's ecology and life history. Assess its status in Kakamega (Bennun and Njoroge 1999) (using same methods as in South Nandi survey [Kosgey 1998]). Evaluate its distribution and status in DRC and near the Ugandan border, once the security situation permits this. In Kenya, enforce ban on logging of indigenous trees.


8-9 cm. Very small warbler. Grey above. Rufous forehead. White below with black breast-band and grey flanks. Juvenile olive-brown above, with paler underparts and hint of breast-band. Similar spp. Rufous-crowned Eremomela E. badiceps has longer wings, chestnut not restricted to forehead, stronger legs and feet (van Someren 1920). Voice High-pitched titititit, followed by si si chik chik. Hints Commonly feeds alongside Buff-throated Apalis Apalis rufogularis (van Someren 1920).


Text account compilers
Taylor, J., Westrip, J., Shutes, S., Martin, R., Evans, M., Ekstrom, J., Starkey, M., Symes, A.

Butynski, T.M. & Gacheru, P.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Species factsheet: Eremomela turneri. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 11/08/2022. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2022) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 11/08/2022.