Appert’s tetraka (Bernieria apperti)

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Appert's greenbul perched
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Appert’s tetraka fact file

Appert’s tetraka description

KingdomAnimalia
PhylumChordata
ClassAves
OrderPasseriformes
FamilySylviidae
GenusBernieria (1)

Appert’s tetraka is a small and slender forest songbird, discovered in 1972 in a remote part of south-west Madagascar (2) (3). It was initially thought to be a close relative of the African greenbuls, hence its original common name, but recent molecular evidence indicates it belongs within a genus of warblers endemic to Madagascar (4). Its pretty but non-showy plumage comprises greenish upperparts that blend subtly with a greyish head and nape, with white throat feathers, below a pale pink bill, that become yellow-peach down the breast and belly (2) (5). The call of Appert’s tetraka is a thin, high-pitched tsee tsee, which it frequently repeats over and over when feeding in groups (5).

Also known as
Appert’s greenbul.
Synonyms
Phyllastrephus apperti.
French
Bulbul d'Appert.
Size
Length: 15 cm (2)
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Appert’s tetraka biology

Apperts tetraka is a sociable bird, often found in family groups of two to eight, and occasionally in multispecies flocks with the common tetraka (Bernieria madagascariensis) (2). It forages for small invertebrates at low levels, flitting between the branches of small shrubs and the dead leaves littering the forest floor (2) (5). Owing to its remote location, this species’ reproductive biology remains unknown.

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Appert’s tetraka range

The distribution of Appert’s tetraka is highly localised in southwest Madagsacar, with records existing for only two sites, Zombitse-Vohibasia National Park and Analavelona Classified Forest (2).

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Appert’s tetraka habitat

At Zombitse-Vohibasia, where it is relatively tolerant of low levels of timber exploitation, Appert’s tetraka occurs in the dense under-storey of dry deciduous forest between 600 to 800 metres (2) (3). At Analavelona, Appert’s tetraka is found in remnant evergreen forest near the summit of an isolated mountain at around 1,300 metres above sea level (2) (6).

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Appert’s tetraka status

Classified as Vulnerable (VU) on the IUCN Red List (1).

IUCN Red List species status – Vulnerable

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Appert’s tetraka threats

While clearance of forests for crops and charcoal production is considered the main threat to Appert’s tetraka, conservation efforts at Zombitse-Vohibasia have been so successful that there has been no new clearance in over ten years (2). Moreover, there is evidence to suggest that this bird is relatively tolerant of selective logging, and may even temporarily benefit from the habitat succession normally associated with treefalls. Analavelona is not protected, but, being relatively isolated, the current rate of forest clearance is not thought to present a high-level of threat (2) (3). Consequently, despite having an extremely small range, this species is only listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List (2).

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Appert’s tetraka conservation

Since 1994, WWF has been working with its partners to promote a community centred approach to conservation at Zombitse-Vohibasia, and have been integral in ensuring that a newly discovered sapphire mine is properly managed with respect to the local environment (7). In 2002, the area received statutory protection when the government formally recognised the cultural and biological value of Zombitse-Vohibasia by designating it as a National Park (2) (3) (7). As a result, much of the diverse forest habitat occupied by Appert’s tetraka, which in the past was heavily logged, is no longer under immediate threat. It is also anticipated that Analavelona will be included as part of WWF Zombitse-Vohibasia Conservation Project in the future. Further proposed conservation measures include monitoring Appert’s tetraka population trends over the coming years and implementing research to establish to what extent it is tolerant of forest exploitation (2).

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Find out more

For further information on conservation in Madagascar see:

For more information on this and other bird species please see:

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Authentication

This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact: arkive@wildscreen.org.uk
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Glossary

Deciduous
A plant that sheds its leaves at the end of the growing season.
Endemic
A species or taxonomic group that is only found in one particular country or geographic area.
Invertebrates
Animals with no backbone.
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References

  1. IUCN Red List (December, 2007)
    http://www.iucnredlist.org
  2. BirdLife International (October, 2008)
    http://www.birdlife.org
  3. Mustoe, S.H., Capper, D.R., Lowen, J.C., Rakotomalala, D., Leadley, J.D. and Randrianarivo, T. (2000) Biological surveys in Zombitse-Vohibasia National Park, south-west Madagascar, unpublished report. Cambridge, U.K.
  4. Cibois, A., Slikas, B., Schulenberg, T.S. and Pasquet, E. (2001) An endemic radiation of Malagasy songbirds is revealed by mitochondrial DNA sequence data. Evolution, 55: 1198 - 1206.
  5. Sinclair, I. and Langrand, O. (2004) Birds of the Indian Ocean Islands: Madagascar, Mauritius, Seychelles, Reunion and the Comoros. Struik, Cape Town, South Africa.
  6. WWF (October, 2008)
    http://www.worldwildlife.org/wildworld/profiles/terrestrial/at/at0118_full.html
  7. WWF (October, 2008)
    http://www.panda.org/about_wwf/where_we_work/africa/news/index.cfm?uNewsID=2693
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Image credit

Appert's greenbul perched  
Appert's greenbul perched

© Louise Jasper

Louise Jasper
21 St Peters Road,
Huntingdon,
PE29 7AA
United Kingdom
Tel: 01480393574
louisedjasper@gmail.com
http://louisedjasper@gmail.com

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