Modeling the potential distribution of the threatened Grey-necked Picathartes Picathartes oreas across its entire range



Tsetagho G, Bradfer-Lawrence T, Taku AI, Abernethy KA, Abwe EE, Angwafo ET, Atuo F, Fichtler M, Fotso R, Shirley MH, Morgan BJ, Languy M, Maisels F, Oslisly R & Whytock RC (2023) Modeling the potential distribution of the threatened Grey-necked Picathartes Picathartes oreas across its entire range. Bird Conservation International, 33, Art. No.: e65.

Understanding the distribution and extent of suitable habitats is critical for the conservation of endangered and endemic taxa. Such knowledge is limited for many Central African species, including the rare and globally threatened Grey-necked Picathartes Picathartes oreas, one of only two species in the family Picathartidae endemic to the forests of Central Africa. Despite growing concerns about land-use change resulting in fragmentation and loss of forest cover in the region, neither the extent of suitable habitat nor the potential species’ distribution is well known. We combine 339 (new and historical) occurrence records of Grey-necked Picathartes with environmental variables to model the potential global distribution. We used a Maximum Entropy modelling approach that accounted for sampling bias. Our model suggests that Grey-necked Picathartes distribution is strongly associated with steeper slopes and high levels of forest cover, while bioclimatic, vegetation health, and habitat condition variables were all excluded from the final model. We predicted 17,327 km2 of suitable habitat for the species, of which only 2,490 km2 (14.4%) are within protected areas where conservation designations are strictly enforced. These findings show a smaller global distribution of predicted suitable habitat forthe Grey-necked Picathartes than previously thought. This work provides evidence to inform a revision of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List status, and may warrant upgrading the status of the species from “Near Threatened” to “Vulnerable”.

Habitat suitability; Picathartes oreas; Protected area; Species distribution modelling

Additional co-authors: Luke Powell, Thomas Smith, Henri A. Thomassen, Matthias Waltert, Jared Wolfe

Bird Conservation International: Volume 33

Publication date31/12/2023
Publication date online30/06/2023
Date accepted by journal30/04/2023
PublisherCambridge University Press (CUP)

People (2)


Professor Katharine Abernethy

Professor Katharine Abernethy

Professor, Biological and Environmental Sciences

Professor Fiona Maisels

Professor Fiona Maisels

Honorary Professor, Biological and Environmental Sciences