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Scaled Ground-cuckoo Neomorphus squamiger


Based on a model of future deforestation in the Amazon basin, and the species's susceptibility to habitat fragmentation, it is suspected that its population will decline by 30-49% over the next three generations, and it has therefore been uplisted to Vulnerable.

Taxonomic source(s)
SACC. 2006. A classification of the bird species of South America. Available at:
Sibley, C. G.; Monroe, B. L. 1990. Distribution and taxonomy of birds of the world. Yale University Press, New Haven, USA.
Stotz, D. F.; Fitzpatrick, J. W.; Parker, T. A.; Moskovits, D. K. 1996. Neotropical birds: ecology and conservation. University of Chicago Press, Chicago.

Distribution and population
Neomorphus squamiger is found south of lower Amazonia (the lower rio Tapajós area of Pará), Brazil (Sick 1993, Parker et al. 1996, Payne 1997). It is known from only a handful of skins and a few sight-records from the lower half of the Tapajos-Xingu interfluvium (Parker et al. 1996, Payne 1997, A. Lees in litt. 2011).

Population justification
The global population size has not been quantified, but this species is described as 'rare' (Stotz et al. 1996).

Trend justification
This species is suspected to lose 23.2-26.7% of suitable habitat within its distribution over three generations (13 years) based on a model of Amazonian deforestation (Soares-Filho et al. 2006, Bird et al. 2011). However, the distribution of this species is judged to be considerably more restricted that indicated in the map used in this analysis (A. Lees in litt 2011), and the species is susceptible to fragmentation. It is therefore suspected to decline by 30-49% over three generations.

It occurs in tropical lowland evergreen forest but is otherwise poorly known. It is naturally rare, probably susceptible to hunting and reliant on following ants (area sensitive), peccaries and primates (A. Lees in litt. 2011).

The primary threat to this species is accelerating deforestation in the Amazon Basin as land is cleared for cattle ranching and soy production, facilitated by expansion of the road network; it is strongly susceptible to degradation and fragmentation due to its reliance on primary forest (Soares-Filho et al. 2006, Bird et al. 2011, A. Lees in litt. 2011), and may also be vulnerable to hunting and dependent on mammals that are targeted by hunters (A. Lees in litt. 2011).Proposed changes to the Brazilian Forest Code reduce the percentage of land a private landowner is legally required to maintain as forest (including, critically, a reduction in the width of forest buffers alongside perennial steams) and include an amnesty for landowners who deforested before July 2008 (who would subsequently be absolved of the need to reforest illegally cleared land) (Bird et al. 2011).

Conservation Actions Underway
None is known. Conservation Actions Proposed
Study its ecological requirements. Survey potentially suitable habitat. Clarify taxonomic status. Expand the protected area network to effectively protect IBAs. Effectively resource and manage existing and new protected areas, utilising emerging opportunities to finance protected area management with the joint aims of reducing carbon emissions and maximizing biodiversity conservation. Conservation on private lands, through expanding market pressures for sound land management and preventing forest clearance on lands unsuitable for agriculture, is also essential (Soares-Filho et al. 2006). Campaign against proposed changes to the Brazilian Forest Code that would lead to a decrease in the width of the areas of riverine forest protected as Permanent Preservation Areas (APPs), which function as vital corridors in fragmented landscapes.

Bird, J. P.; Buchanan, J. M.; Lees, A. C.; Clay, R. P.; Develey, P. F.; Yépez, I.; Butchart, S. H. M. 2011. Integrating spatially explicit habitat projections into extinction risk assessments: a reassessment of Amazonian avifauna incorporating projected deforestation. Diversity and Distributions: doi: 10.1111/j.1472-4642.2011.00843.x.

Cleary, D. 1991. The Brazilian rainforest: politics, finance, mining and the environment. Economist Intelligence Unit, London.

Parker, T. A.; Stotz, D. F.; Fitzpatrick, J. W. 1996. Ecological and distributional databases. In: Stotz, D.F.; Fitzpatrick, J.W.; Parker, T.A.; Moskovits, D.K. (ed.), Neotropical bird ecology and conservation, pp. 113-436. University of Chicago Press, Chicago.

Payne, R. B. 1997. Cuculidae (Cuckoos). In: del Hoyo, J.; Elliott, A.; Sargatal, J. (ed.), Handbook of the birds of the world, pp. 508-607. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.

Sick, H. 1993. Birds in Brazil: a natural history. Princeton University Press, Princeton.

Soares-Filho, B.S.; Nepstad, D.C.; Curran, L.M.; Cerqueira, G.C.; Garcia, R. A.; Ramos, C. A.; Voll, E.; McDonald, A.; Lefebvre, P.; Schlesinger, P. 2006. Modelling conservation in the Amazon basin. Nature 440(7083): 520-523.

Stotz, D. F.; Fitzpatrick, J. W.; Parker, T. A.; Moskovits, D. K. 1996. Neotropical birds: ecology and conservation. University of Chicago Press, Chicago.

Text account compilers
Sharpe, C J, Capper, D., Symes, A., Benstead, P.

Cohn-Haft, M., Lees, A.

IUCN Red List evaluators
Butchart, S., Symes, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2014) Species factsheet: Neomorphus squamiger. Downloaded from on 24/04/2014. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2014) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 24/04/2014.

This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife

To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Vulnerable
Family Cuculidae (Cuckoos)
Species name author Todd, 1925
Population size Unknown mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 2,230,000 km2
Country endemic? Yes
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species