Bird Conservation International

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Bird Conservation International (2009), 19:254-264 Cambridge University Press
Copyright © BirdLife International 2009
doi:10.1017/S0959270909008363

Research Articles

Breeding distribution and population decline of globally threatened Grey-necked Picathartes Picathartes oreas in Mbam Minkom Mountain Forest, southern Cameroon


TAKU AWA IIa1 c1, GUILLAUME DZIKOUKa3 and KEN NORRISa2

a1 Centre for Agri-Environmental Research (CAER), Department of Agriculture, University of Reading, Earley Gate, PO Box 237, Reading RG6 6AR, U.K. and Cameroon Biodiversity Conservation Society, PO Box 3055, Messa, Yaounde, Cameroon.
a2 Centre for Agri-Environmental Research (CAER), Department of Agriculture, University of Reading, Earley Gate, PO Box 237, Reading RG6 6AR, U.K.
a3 Cameroon Biodiversity Conservation Society, PO Box 3055, Messa, Yaounde, Cameroon.
Article author query
awa t [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]
dzikouk g [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]
norris k [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]

Summary

The Grey-necked Picathartes Picathartes oreas, considered ‘Vulnerable’, is an enigmatic ground-dwelling bird endemic to the central African equatorial rainforest and belongs to a family of only two species. Its distribution extends to the two Endemic Bird Areas within Cameroon (Guinea Congo forest biome and Cameroon mountain arc) and its population is thought to be in decline throughout its range due to increasing habitat fragmentation and disturbance. During March–April 2003 and June and October 2007 we surveyed Grey-necked Picathartes in the north-western region of the Mbam Minkom Mountain Forest. In January–March 2006 we surveyed the entire mountain range and found 90 breeding and 24 potential breeding sites, mostly located on the western slopes. From the complete survey, we estimated the population at 44 breeding individuals. Populations were highest in the north-west region but had apparently declined from 40 breeding individuals in 2003 to 20 in 2007. This region accounted for 41% of the entire population on the mountain range during the 2006 survey. The Mbam Minkom/Kala Important Bird Area was designated based on the presence of Grey-necked Picathartes but is under high pressure of imminent destruction from agricultural encroachment and illegal timber exploitation. These results have important implications for decision making in delimiting forest boundaries and core areas for protection in the development of management plans. We suggest possible remedial actions, appropriate repeatable methods for future monitoring and opportunities for community involvement in the management and conservation of the site.

(Received May 22 2008)

(Accepted November 03 2008)

Correspondence:

c1 Corresponding author; e-mail: takuawa@yahoo.co.uk