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 Tyto sororcula

This taxon is Not Recognised as a species by BirdLife International.

Taxonomic source(s)
Sibley, C. G.; Monroe, B. L. 1990. Distribution and taxonomy of birds of the world. Yale University Press, New Haven, USA.

Taxonomic note
Tyto novaehollandiae (del Hoyo and Collar 2014) was previously split into T. novaehollandiae, T. manusi and T. sororcula following Sibley and Monroe (1990, 1993) and Christidis and Boles (1994), before which T. castanops was also split following Sibley and Monroe (1990, 1993).

29-31 cm. Medium-small fawn and brown owl. Dark border to facial disk. Upperparts brownish or blackish mottled white. Underparts whitish with dark spotting on sides. Black iris. Pale, bristled legs. Similar spp. Common Barn Owl T. alba is generally larger, speckled rather than mottled above, whiter below with more prominent pale facial disc. Voice Undocumented, but presumably hisses or screeches like other members of the genus.

Distribution and population
Tyto sororcula is known from the island of Buru (and probably Seram) in South Maluku and Yamdena and Larat in the Tanimbar group, Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia. Most records are of specimens collected in the late 19th or early 20th centuries, and more recent observations comprise one photographed individual (probably of this species) on Seram, one reported from north-west Buru in 2006 (M. Halaouate in litt. 2007), and several sightings on Yamdena between 2004-2011 (Burung Indonesia and R. Hutchinson in litt. 2011). There is no information on numbers, and although it is described as "apparently rare", it is probably often overlooked and consequently almost certainly more widespread and numerous than available records suggest. Nevertheless, it occurs in primary and selectively-logged lowland evergreen forest, a habitat that is being rapidly cleared from islands within its range by loggers and shifting cultivators. One collector was brought two live birds caught in holes in limestone cliffs on Buru, and this habitat type should be revisited and searched for the species

Recent and historical records derive from primary and selectively-logged lowland evergreen forest, and fairly degraded secondary forest (R. Hutchinson in litt. 2011). One collector was brought two live birds caught in holes in limestone cliffs on Buru, and one observation in 2005 concerned a bird roosting in a hole in a walnut tree along the border of primary forest and agricultural land (Burung Indonesia in litt. 2011). The species is presumably strictly sedentary.

Most forest in the coastal lowlands of Buru has now been cleared, and habitat in the northern portion of the island has been selectively logged, degraded and fragmented by shifting agriculture, such that only a few small patches of primary lowland forest remain. The situation is similar in the lowlands of Seram. Forest on Larat may have been seriously degraded by the outset of the twentieth century, and although much forest remains on Yamdena, it is highly accessible, partitioned into logging concessions and cannot necessarily be expected to persist. Nevertheless, local resistance to logging on Yamdena has reportedly meant that only one logging company remained operating in 2009, in the south-west of the island (Burung Indonesia in litt. 2011). Oil drilling, transmigration and hydroelectric projects pose further potential threats to habitat within its range in south Maluku.

Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix II. A bird thought to be of this species was photographed within Manusela National Park on Seram. Additional protected areas are proposed on Buru (Gunung Kepalat Mada) and Yamdena (a 600 km2 reserve). Whether these areas support populations of the species remains to be investigated. Conservation Actions Proposed
*Conduct widespread searches for the species, including on other Banda Sea islands, to clarify its distribution, status and broad habitat preferences (including tolerance of habitat degradation) and thereby compile an effective conservation strategy. *Establish protected areas of forest on Buru and the Tanimbar islands, ensuring that habitat is adequately managed and legislation enforced.

BirdLife International. 2001. Threatened birds of Asia: the BirdLife International Red Data Book. BirdLife International, Cambridge, U.K.

König, C.; Weick, F.; Becking, J.-H. 1999. Owls: a guide to the owls of the world. Pica Press, Robertsbridge, U.K.

König, C.; Weick, F.; Becking, J.-H. 1999. Owls: a guide to the owls of the world. Pica Press, Robertsbridge, U.K.

Further web sources of information
Detailed species accounts from the Threatened birds of Asia: the BirdLife International Red Data Book (BirdLife International 2001).

Text account compilers
Benstead, P., Symes, A., Tobias, J.

Hutchinson, R.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2015) Species factsheet: Tyto sororcula. Downloaded from on 01/07/2015. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2015) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 01/07/2015.

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 Not Recognised
Family Tytonidae (Barn-owls)
Species name author (Sclater, 1883)