Swynnerton's Robin Swynnertonia swynnertoni Scientific name definitions

Flemming P. Jensen
Version: 2.0 — Published February 4, 2022

Conservation and Management

Swynnerton’s Robin is a restricted-range species known from only seven montane forest sites, some of which are very small. The size and quality of its habitats are declining in many places, leading to an increasingly fragmented distribution and probably a declining population. It is therefore considered Vulnerable by BirdLife International (17).

Effects of Human Activity

Threats and Conservation Efforts

The main threat is from forest clearance and habitat degradation.

In Mozambique, the mid-elevation and montane forest cover on Mt. Gorongosa has been much reduced, but areas above 700 m elevation were incorporated into the Gorongosa National Park in 2010. Forest at higher levels on Mt. Mabu was under relatively little pressure in 2009 (35).

In Zimbabwe, Chirinda Forest, Stapleford Forest and part of the Bvumba Highland forests are protected areas gazetted by law (C. Chirara, in litt. 2012 in 17). However, the species is also threatened by changes in the forest understory owing to the spread of the non-native Hedychium, an ornamental ginger in the Bvumba Highlands (S. L. Childes, in litt. 1999 in 17), and by clearance for gardens by new settlers (C. Chirara, in litt. 2012 in 17). Uncontrolled fire is also a big problem in the Bvumba Highlands (C. Chirara, in litt. 2012 in 17).

In Tanzania, the Udzungwa Mountains population in Mwanihana forest and the eastern half of Ndundulu-Luhombero forest has been included in Udzungwa Mountains National Park since 1992. These forests are generally well secured with relatively few cases of illegal cutting (FPJ). The western part of Ndundulu-Luhombero, Nyumbanitu, Ukami, and Iyondo forests were in 2008 included in Kilombero Nature Reserve. In the first years, the protection of these forests has been problematic and has in some areas allowed significant illegal activities to take place, including timber cutting along the forest edge (FPJ), but since 2021 a cooperation with the national park authorities has improved the protection of the reserve. Uzungwa Scarp Forest was designated Uzungwa Scarp Nature Reserve in 2012. This forest is surrounded by rural communities on all sides with the forest boundaries not always clearly defined or respected by the local people and there is no doubt that management of this important area is facing significant challenges (FPJ).

The small lowland population in the East Usambara foothills is probably at serious risk from pole-cutting, firewood collection, cultivation and illegal pitsaw logging, but some birds are present in Marimba Forest Reserve which is better protected (4; L. Hansen, in litt. 2007 in 17). Conservation projects in the East Usambaras are working to increase the amount of forest, including all lowland remnants, in protected areas (4), and to link the forest patches together through a network of corridors.


No specific management efforts have been directed at Swynnerton’s Robin, though efforts to protect montane forest and East Usambara Mountains (Tanzania) lowland forests are likely to benefit this and other forest bird species.

Recommended Citation

Jensen, F. P. (2022). Swynnerton's Robin (Swynnertonia swynnertoni), version 2.0. In Birds of the World (P. G. Rodewald, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow.swyrob1.02