What is the status of the Southern (Mashona) Hyliota Hyliota australis in South Africa?
Abstract: The status of the Southern (Mashona) Hyliota Hyliota australis in South Africa is assessed using newly collated bird and habitat distribution data. The three potential scenarios are discussed, and it is emphasized that all are of considerable interest. (1) If the Hyliota is isolated in the Soutpansberg, it is one of the rarest breeding species in South Africa and needs active conservation management. (2) If it is a vagrant, then the source populations need to be identified as the conventional wisdom suggests movement over much shorter distances than the known populations on the Zimbabwean Plateau and outliers in northern Gonarezhou National Park. (3) A third scenario relying on both periodic breeding and periodic immigration is favoured – suggesting a metapopulation operating across the Save-Limpopo Valley and adjacen plateau areas. The implications for its conservation management are discussed and attention is drawn to the riparian corridors which are under pressure from humans outside conservation areas and from elephants inside them.