By Balogun Kamilu Lekan
The Ibadan malimbe is a 20 centimetres rare songbird endemic to the southwestern part of Nigeria and discovered in 1951. It can be found in areas with lowland forests, farm brush, and urban regions.
It was named after Ibadan for its peculiarity to the city. Scientifically called Malimbe ibadanensis, it belongs to the weaver family, Ploceidae.
They are a popular sight among locals because they are frequently seen perched in openings and along edges.
The Malimbe ibadanensis makes a high-pitched mixture of notes that sound like swizzling and wheezing.
It is characterized by its bright red feathers on the top of its head and surrounding its face, contrasting with its black plumage.
The scarlet colouration on the males’ chests distinguishes them from the female.
Aside from being just a gorgeous avian, the Ibadan malimbe also serves as a pest control creature contributing to the stability of insect populations in their habitat. They hunt in pairs or small groups, eating caterpillars, flying ants, termites, and insects.
The Ibadan malimbe is monogamous. They mate with just a partner and nest together all through their life.
The nest is woven from tendrils of climbing plants with a spiral shape, and strips of palm look like an “inverted sock.”
The males are responsible for constructing the nest, while females like them.
Unfortunately, the population of unique birds is reducing at an alarming rate due to deforestation that destroys their habitat.
According to data from recent surveys it is revealed that there are about 2,469 of the birds remaining in the wild. This calls for rapid ecosystem sustainability in the regions where the birds are found to preserve the specie before they get wiped out
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This species qualifies as Endangered because it probably has a very small population which is suspected to be declining. Its very low numbers and small range imply negative factors whose impact on the species may be continuing.
Destruction and fragmentation of habitats pose a significant threat to many bird species in Nigeria. Those with restricted ranges are especially vulnerable
In addition to its rarity, it is elusive. There were no records between 1980 and late 1987. A survey by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) and the Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) from 1999 to 2002 indicated an estimated population of around 2500 individuals – a contraction of 66% since the 1970s. The most recent records within the IITA Ibadan campus were in 2016, but the current population is unknown. [https://forestcenter.iita.org/index.php/the-ibadan-malimbe/]
, meet the African Ibadan malimbe
Lindsey Jean Schueman
Lindsey Jean Schueman
Writer and Producer, One Earth
One Earth’s “Species of the Week” series highlights the flagship species of each of the 844 unique ecoregions contained within Earth’s bioregions.