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)