Yellow-throated apalis (Apalis flavigularis)

GenusApalis (1)
SizeLength: 11 - 12 cm (2)
Weight10 - 12 g (2)

The yellow-throated apalis is classified as Endangered (EN) on the IUCN Red List (1).

An endangered warbler, the yellow-throated apalis (Apalis flavigularis) is distinguished from other species of the Apalis genus by its vivid yellow colouration. The yellow-throated apalis is now considered to be a distinct species; however, until 1994 it was classified as a subspecies of the bar-throated apalis (Apalis thoracica).

The male yellow-throated apalis has a black head and tail, and a black breast-band which divides a striking yellow throat and chest. Its back and wings are bright green, and its legs are pink.

The female yellow-throated apalis is slightly smaller than the male and usually has a narrower breast-band. In comparison to the striking plumage of the adult yellow-throated apalis, the juvenile has a much duller colouration (2) (3).

Consisting of a series of loud, monotonous ‘preep’ sounds, the song of the male yellow-throated apalis is by no means musical (2). Calls produced by the female bear a resemblance to those of the male, but occur at a faster rate and have a higher pitch. The alarm call of the yellow-throated apalis is a repetitive series of ‘peep’ notes (3).

The yellow-throated apalis is endemic to Malawi. Its range is restricted to three mountain chains, Mount Mulanje, Mount Zomba and Mount Malosa, which are found in the southeast of the country (3).

The yellow-throated apalis predominantly inhabits evergreen forests, although it is also found in riparian forests and thickets close to the forest edge. It is generally found at elevations of 600 to 2,400 metres above sea level (3).

The diet of the yellow-throated apalis consists mainly of insects, which are gleaned from foliage or, occasionally, caught in flight. The yellow-throated apalis is a territorial bird and spends most of the year in solitude. However, this solitary lifestyle is abandoned in favour of monogamous pairing during the breeding season, which occurs between October and December (2).

During the breeding season, nests are constructed to accommodate clutches of two to three eggs. Nests consist of a dome-shaped outer layer of moss and an inner lining of fine plant material. Nests vary considerably in size and are found among foliage between one and three metres above the ground (2) (3).

The yellow-throated apalis is considered fairly common within the areas it inhabits, but it is classified as Endangered on the IUCN Red List because of its restricted range. Demand for timber and land for agriculture, driven by a rapid increase in the human population of south-eastern Malawi, has resulted in deforestation, and therefore habitat loss, within this species’ range (3). Habitat loss is a serious threat to the yellow-throated apalis and is responsible for a continuing decrease in its population size (2).

All of the areas inhabited by the yellow-throated apalis are within forest reserves and are therefore legally protected. However, this level of protection has not been sufficient to prevent habitat loss.

Fortunately, a number of conservation actions have been proposed to safeguard the remaining areas inhabited by the yellow-throated apalis. These include increasing public awareness and support for forest conservation, enhancing the level of protection of the remaining forest habitat and monitoring habitat and populations on a regular basis (3).

Learn more about the yellow-throated apalis:

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:

  1. IUCN Red List (January, 2012)
  2. del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A. and Sargatal, J. (2006) Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 11: Old World Fly-catchers to Old World Warblers. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.
  3. BirdLife International (November, 2011)