Ursula's Sunbird Cinnyris ursulae


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). Therefore, this species is now listed as Least Concern.

Population justification
The global population size has not been quantified, but the species is described as uncommon, although probably overlooked (Cheke et al. 2001).

Trend justification
The population is suspected to be in decline owing to ongoing habitat destruction, however the rate of decline has not been quantified.

Distribution and population

Cinnyris ursulae is restricted to Mt Manenguba (discovered on the southern slopes in 1999 [Dowsett-Lemaire and Dowsett 1999c]), Mts Kupe and Nlonako, forest near Dschang, the Bakossi Mountains, Rumpi Hills and Mt Cameroon, Cameroon, and Bioko, Equatorial Guinea (Perez del Val 1996). On Bioko, the species is known from only a few records (Perez del Val 1996). Surveys in 1991 and 1992 found it to be common in the Rumpi Hills (Rodewald et al. 1994). In 1998, it was found to be common in the Bakossi Mountains (Dowsett-Lemaire and Dowsett 1998d). In the 1980s, it was recorded as being frequent to common on Mts Cameroon and Nlonako (Stuart 1986) and throughout the 1990s it is known to have been common throughout the forest on Mt Kupe (Bowden 1998a).


The species generally inhabits primary and secondary forest, as well as low shrubs at forest edges and in upland habitat (Cheke and Mann 2001). On Bioko, the species is known only from primary forest between 1,000 and 1,200 m (Perez del Val 1996). In Cameroon, it is a species of intermediate altitudes, from 950-2,050 m, where it is found in mature forest and forest clearings (Stuart 1986). It has been recorded down to at least 1,100 m in the Bakossi Mountains (Dowsett-Lemaire and Dowsett 1998d). It feeds on invertebrates, including ants and spiders, as well as nectar and seeds (Cheke and Mann 2001). The nest, in which 1-2 eggs are laid, is made from moss, roots and spiders' webs, with a side entrance, and is situated on a low branch, creeper, liana or shrub (Cheke and Mann 2001).


It appears to be dependent on largely undisturbed forest within quite a small range, and so is potentially at risk from further forest clearance.

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
It has been recorded from Nta Ali (Cheke and Mann 2001) and Rumpi Hills (Rodewald et al. 1994, Cheke and Mann 2001) Forest Reserves, at least.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct further surveys to obtain a total population estimate. Monitor population trends through regular surveys. Monitor rates of deforestation within its range. Increase the area of suitable habitat that has protected area status.


Text account compilers
O'Brien, A., Robertson, P., Shutes, S., Symes, A., Taylor, J. & Westrip, J.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2020) Species factsheet: Cinnyris ursulae. Downloaded from on 13/07/2020. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2020) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 13/07/2020.