Justification of Red List Category
This species is relatively poorly known, with scattered records across West Africa. It is described as rare, and so the population size is suspected to be small; though this may be in part due to under recording. Habitat clearance and degradation is suspected to be causing a continuing decline in this species's extent of occurrence and area of occupnacy. While this species can tolerate disturbed habitat, it does appear mainly reliant on forest and so continuing forest destruction may cause population declines. Therefore, the species is listed as Near Threatened, but more accurate population estimates may mean that the species could warrant re-assessment.
The population size of this species has not been quantified, but it is described as rare; and the population size is suspected to be low. However, it is likely to be under recorded because its song was unknown until 2000, and it is mainly vocal in the afternoon when observers are less active (Dowsett-Lemaire and Dowsett 2009).
The population is suspected to be in decline owing to ongoing habitat destruction and degradation.
Melignomon eisentrauti has been collected from Cameroon (two records), Liberia (near Mt Nimba, the Wonegizi Mountains, the slopes of Mt Balagizi and south of Vahun) (Gatter 1997), Sierra Leone (Gola Forest), Côte d'Ivoire (Taï Forest, Mt Peko, Marahoué National Park, Cavally and Géoulé Forest Reserves [Rainey et al. 2003], and most recently, Anguédédou Forest Reserve, plus probably Banco National Park [Lachenaud 2006]), Ghana (multiple areas in the south-west [Dowsett-Lemaire and Dowsett 2014]) and Nigeria (Cross River National Park in 2004 [L. D. C. Fishpool in litt. 2006]). It is likely to occur more widely in West Africa and is probably overlooked in surveys (Holbech 1992, 1996), perhaps due to singing in the afternoon (Dowsett-Lemaire 2008), but is undoubtedly rare and remains poorly known (Bowden et al. 1995).
It is found in the mid-strata and canopy of mainly semi-evergreen rain forest in its primary as well as degraded forms (Dowsett-Lemiare and Dowsett 2014), and while it is associated with forest it possibly may make use of other habitats close to forest (J. Lindsell in litt. 2007). At Mt Nimba, it has been observed along logging roads (Gatter 1997). It feeds on insects (including by flycatching and gleaning from bark), pollen, small fruits and seeds (Allport et al. 1989, Bowden et al. 1995, Dowsett-Lemaire and Dowsett 2014). It calls mainly in the afternoon, and as such has probably been under-recorded (Dowsett-Lemaire and Dowsett 2009). It is presumably a brood-parasite, but the host species remains unknown (Butchart 2007), although it has been seen being chased by Sharpe’s Apalis Apalis sharpii suggesting that this may be a possible host species (Hugo Rainey pers. obs.). Recent records have been from semi-deciduous forest in Cote d’Ivoire suggesting that this may be a favoured habitat (H. Rainey in litt. 2007).
Although habitat throughout the species's range is under much pressure as a result of logging, agricultural encroachment and mining (Stattersfield et al. 1998), lack of records and uncertainty over its dependence on primary forest makes it impossible to assess how rapidly its population is declining due to forest loss. Protected areas such as Marahoué National Park in Côte d'Ivoire, and Forest Reserves in Ghana have been degraded by human settlement or are ear-marked for logging (L. Fishpool in litt. 2016).
Conservation Actions Underway
It has been recorded in Marahoué National Park, Cavally, Géoulé and Anguédédou Forest Reserves (Côte d'Ivoire), Boin and Sui River Forest Reserves, Opon Mansi and Ben West Forest Reserves, Mpameso and Bobiri Forest Reserves, Nsuta, Kakum National Park, Atewa Range, and Worobong South Forest Reserves (Ghana [Dowsett-Lemaire and Dowsett 2014]), North Lorma National Forest (Liberia), and Okomu National Park and Cross River National Park (Nigeria). However, note that Forest Reserves of Ghana are often ear-marked for logging and Marahoué National Park has become degraded following human settlement after a period of civil unrest (L. Fishpool in litt. 2016).
Difficult to locate. 18 cm. Small, unobtrusive, forest honeyguide. Upperparts dark olive green to brown with paler underparts, especially on throat and lower breast, belly and flanks. The toes and part tarsi are bright yellow. Similar spp. Other similar sized honeyguides have dark feet and tarsi. Zenker's Honeyguide is darker overall, especially on underparts and has less white in the tail. Juvenile Yellow Whiskered Greenbul is similar and has bright yellow feet and part tarsi but lacks white outer tail feathers. Voice Song a series of about 13 clear, emphatic notes each rising in pitch, with the whole series slightly descending and slowing towards the end: tuu-i tuu-i tuu-i tuu-i... tuu tuu tuu (Rainey et al. 2003). Hints Any forest honeyguide seen in central or west Africa should be carefully examined for this species. Calls in the afternoon, from 7 hours after dawn (Dowsett-Lemaire 2008).
Text account compilers
Westrip, J., Symes, A., Shutes, S., Martin, R
Borrow, N., Lindsell, J., Rainey, H., Fishpool, L.
BirdLife International (2019) Species factsheet: Melignomon eisentrauti. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 16/11/2019. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2019) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 16/11/2019.