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Beautiful Sunbird (Cinnyris pulchellus) Fact Sheet: Population & Conservation Status

Population Status

  • Common and widespread throughout its range, where habitat is suitable (Fry et al. 2000; Cheke et al. 2001; Cheke and Mann 2008)
    • West Africa: Senegal, Gambia, Mauritania (Cheke et al. 2001)
    • Ghana, Togo, Nigeria (Cheke et al. 2001)
      • Resident and wet-season visitor
    • Also, Ethiopia, Sudan south of Atbara, and north Uganda (Cheke et al. 2001)
  • May be seasonally common (Cheke et al. 2001)
  • Of limited conservation concern (Dowsett-Lemaire and Dowsett 2014)
    • Habitat changes
      • Sunbirds generally able to adapt if changes not too severe [sunbirds, general] (Cheke and Mann 2008)
      • Use human-altered habitats (e.g., gardens)
    • Cagebird trade (Cheke and Mann 2008; BirdLife International 2012)
      • Attractive plumage, but only minor international use as cagebirds/pets
      • Singing abilities not admired
      • Difficult to keep in managed care

Conservation Status

IUCN

  • Least Concern (2016 assessment) (BirdLife International 2016)
  • Large range (see Distribution)
    • Estimated extent: 5.65 million km2 (BirdLife International 2012)
  • Stable population trend
    • Population size has not been quantified
    • Described as common (IUCN cites Cheke et al. 2001)

CITES

  • Not listed (as of Oct 2018) (UNEP 2018)
  • Occurs in many protected areas
    • For example, Comoé National Park (Ivory Coast), Waza National Park (Cameroon), Awash National Park (Ethiopia), Murchison Falls National Park (Uganda), Serengeti and Arusha National Parks (Tanzania) (Cheke and Mann 2008)
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Threats to Survival

Potentially, habitat loss and degradation

  • Types of habitat loss
    • Logging forests for conversion to agriculture (Winkler et al. 2015)
    • Logging riparian habitat (Dowsett-Lemaire and Dowsett 2014)
    • Flooding of C. pulchellus habitat by humans (Dowsett-Lemaire and Dowsett 2014)
    • Replacing native tree species with non-natives (Cheke and Mann 2008)
  • Difficult to quantify effects of habitat degradation [sunbirds, general] (Cheke and Mann 2008)
    • May shift habitat use to human-made habitats
      • Occurrence in these areas may misleadingly give an impression of a stable, adaptable population
      • Sunbirds differ in their ability to adapt to urban areas (cities) (Pauw and Louw 2012)

Management Actions

[sunbirds, general] (Cheke and Mann 2008)

Sunbird species with small, restricted ranges are at high risk.

Protection of sunbird habitat

  • Long-term conservation of important habitats
    • Prevention of illegal forestry, coastal forestry, and destruction of other habitats
  • Prevention of severe habitat fragmentation
  • Conservation awareness programs, especially regarding land use and water use

Garden Dweller

Beautiful Sunbird drinking from a hose

A Beautiful Sunbird, Cinnyris pulchellus, drinks from a garden hose. Male in non-breeding plumage, with elongated tail feathers.

Sunbirds use human-made habitats, such as gardens, in addition to natural habitats.

Image credit: © Philippe Boissel at Flickr. All rights reserved. Used with permission from the artist.

Image details: Taken 06 February 2012 in Senegal.

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