Acrocephalus brevipennis was until recently believed to be confined to Santiago, Cape Verde Islands, where it is now only locally distributed, mainly in the interior, with a few isolated sites in the south and west. It has apparently died out on Brava (no records since 1969 and formerly scarce) and was believed to have died out on São Nicolau (where it was formerly numerous). However, a previously unreported specimen collected on São Nicolau in October 1970, was discovered in the collection of the Centro de Zoologia, Lisbon, providing the impetus for a thorough search of the island4 and, in 1998, surveys located eight territories confined to the north-west of the island (though its long-term prospects for survival here are poor)5. In October 2004, a population was discovered on Fogo, in the fertile northeast of the island, with at least 32 males recorded, 16 of which were seen to be paired7. The species is suspected to also occur in the northwest of Fogo7. In addition, the species may have formerly occurred on Santo Antão2. On Santiago, the species was recently reported from Tarrafal, far to the north of the species's known range9. The total population was estimated at c.500 pairs in the early 1990s2, and probably numbers 1,000-1,500 birds based on its known range in 20079.
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