Rubeho Akalat Sheppardia aurantiithorax was described in 2004 (Beresford et al 2004). It is endemic to Tanzania, where it is restricted to montane forest at 1,800-2,200 m in the Rubeho highland, the small Wota forest in the Wota Mountains, north-west of the Rubehos and in the Ukaguru Mountains (the Extent of Occurrence is estimated to be 552 km2). There is also one record from 400 m north-east of the Uluguru Mountains, although it is not known what its current status is there. Although it is reasonably common within its narrow altitudinal range, the species’s habitat is threatened by encroachment for agriculture, and this is presumably fragmenting and diminishing the population. The species therefore appears to qualify as Endangered under criterion B1a+b(i,ii,iii,v), owing to an Extent of Occurrence less than 5,000 km2, known from less than five locations and declining, and possibly also under C2a(ii), fewer than 2,500 mature individuals and declining. This bird has the lores and top of supraocular region basally white, followed by band of dark saffron yellow, tipped clove brown; auriculars and malar region clove brown washed saffron yellow. Forehead to nape basally blackish slate, distally tawny olive. Dorsal feathers, tertials, and coverts slate, distally copper; rump feathers and trailing edge of rectrices more copper. Rectrices dorsally sepia, ventrally bistre; remiges dorsally clove brown, ventrally lighter shade of same; underwing coverts basally drab, tipped pale to dark ochre yellow. Chin feathers basally white, distally orange ochraceous; throat, upper breast, and underwing coverts basally blackish slate and distally orange ochraceous. Breast basally slate, distally dark ochre yellow, flanks and tibiotarsals basally slate, distally tawny olive; abdomen feathers basally blackish slate, distally cream buff; vent orange ochraceous. Bill black, eyes grey-brown, legs and feet grey with ochraceous soles.
Beresford P., J. Fjeldsa & J. Kiure (2004) A new species of akalat (Sheppardia) narrowly endemic in the Eastern Arc of Tanzania The Auk 121:23-24