Sunday 19 May
Short-billed crombec (Sylvietta philippae)
Short-billed crombec fact file
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Short-billed crombec description
The short-billed crombec is a little-known, diminuitive warbler, endemic to the Horn of Africa. The most striking features of this species are its yellow underparts and bright pinkish-brown legs. The head is ashy grey, with narrow white streaks running from the base of the bill over the top of the eyes, while its upperparts are a lighter greyish-olive (2) (3). Like other warblers, this species is highly vocal, producing a song consisting of a repeated ti-chirr-cheesis, and a loud, metallic tchink call when agitated (4) (5).
- Crombec de Philippa.
- Length: 8 cm (2)
Short-billed crombec biology
Little is known about the biology of the short-billed crombec. The few field observations that exist record that it generally feeds on insects, such as tiny beetles and small, green caterpillars (3), foraging for its prey around the flowers, leaves and thorny branches of Acacia bushes (3) (5). The breeding season appears to be from May to June, with both the male and female providing food for the young (2) (5).Top
Short-billed crombec range
The majority of the short-billed crombec’s population is situated in Somalia, where it can be found in the north-western, central and south-western regions (6). It is also found in south-eastern Ethiopia, around the Somalian border, although its range is likely to extend further westwards (5).Top
Short-billed crombec habitat
The short-billed crombec inhabits arid scrubland, favouring dense thickets of white-flowered Acacia and gum-producing Commiphora species, as well as other bushes that grow where the soil is either rocky or red and sandy (2).Top
Short-billed crombec status
Classified as Data Deficient (DD) on the IUCN Red List (1).Top
Short-billed crombec threats
Although the short-billed crombec appears to be fairly common (2), its small, restricted range means that it could be vulnerable to detrimental human activities and unforeseen natural events. Currently, its habitat is under threat from overexploitation of Acacia species for use in charcoal production, and Commiphora species for gum collection. In addition, overgrazing is destroying much of the vegetation that this species relies upon for foraging and shelter (6).Top
Short-billed crombec conservation
The first steps towards conserving this species are to survey its populations and investigate its ecology, only then can the impacts of habitat loss on its population be accurately assessed and any necessary conservation measures implemented (6). Unfortunately, due to the breakdown of centralised government in Somalia, it may prove difficult to carry out these aims in the immediate future (7).Top
Find out more
To learn more about conservation organisations in Somalia visit:
- Resource Management Somali Network:
For more information on this and other bird species please see:
- BirdLife International:
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- A species or taxonomic group that is only found in one particular country or geographic area.
- IUCN Red List (November, 2008)
- del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A. and Sargatal, J. (2006) Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 11: Old World Flycatchers to Old World Warblers. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.
- Williams, J.G. (1955) A new species of Sylvietta from Italian Somalia. Ibis, 97: 582 - 583.
- Burnie, D. (2001) Animal. Dorling Kindersley, London.
- Ash, J.S. (1982) The Somali Short-billed Crombec Sylvietta philippae in Somalia and Ethiopia. Bulletin of the British Ornithological Club, 102: 89 - 92.
- BirdLife International (November, 2008)
- Resource Management Somali Network (November, 2008)
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