email a friend
printable version
Palawan Scops-owl Otus fuliginosus
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
Please email us with any relevant information

There are some indications that this species has a moderately small population, occupying a small range, which are both in decline owing to forest loss. However, further research is needed into the species's population size and structure, and the impact of potential threats, although its tolerance of human-modified landscapes means that its population is unlikely to be severely fragmented. It is therefore listed as Near Threatened.

Taxonomic source(s)
del Hoyo, J.; Collar, N. J.; Christie, D. A.; Elliott, A.; Fishpool, L. D. C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International.

Distribution and population
Otus fuliginosus is endemic to the Philippines where it is known from Palawan and the adjacent islands of Alabagin and Balabac, with an unconfirmed report from Calauit (Collar et al. 1999). On Palawan, there are records from Kinalaykayan and Dicabaitot, St Paul's Subterranean River National Park, Cleopatra's Needle, Buenavista, Iwahig Penal Colony, the vicinity of Puerto Princesa, Quezon at Tabon, Singnapan at Kabasakan, Pinikpikan and Tining-luan, Taguso, Mt Mantalingajan at Pinigisan and Tigwayan, Batarasa. Although described as rare and evidently a bird of lowland forest, the emerging evidence from knowledge of its voice is that it is much more common and more widespread than was supposed.

Population justification
This species is thought to have a moderately small population as it is a bird of lowland forest restricted to the island of Palawan. It is placed in the band 10,000-19,999 mature individuals, equating to 15,000-29,999 individuals in total, rounded here to 15,000-30,000 individuals. However, this is a preliminary estimate that requires clarification.

Trend justification
The population is suspected to be in slow decline owing to forest loss and degradation. The rate of decline is not thought to be more rapid because this species seems able to tolerate landscape-scale changes in habitats caused by human activities.

It is a bird of lowland forest, but can adapt to mixed cultivation and plantations.

As a forest-associated species, deforestation driven by logging and agricultural expansion has almost certainly caused declines, especially as the species occurs in the lowlands.

Conservation Actions Underway
No species-specific actions are known, but the species has been recorded from St Paul's Subterranean River National Park. Conservation Actions Proposed
Protect areas of lowland forest within the species's range. Enforce restrictions on agricultural encroachment and logging within such protected areas. Generate density estimates to inform a revised population estimate for the species. Estimate population trends by calculating rates of forest loss within its range using satellite imagery and remote sensing techniques.

Collar, N. J.; Mallari, N. A. D.; Tabaranza, B. R. J. 1999. Threatened birds of the Philippines: the Haribon Foundation/BirdLife International Red Data Book. Bookmark, Makati City.

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

Explore HBW Alive for further information on this species

Search for photos and videos, and hear sounds of this species from the Internet Bird Collection

Text account compilers
Benstead, P., Bird, J., Taylor, J.

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

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Otus fuliginosus. Downloaded from on 23/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 23/10/2016.

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 Near Threatened
Family Strigidae (Typical Owls)
Species name author (Sharpe, 1888)
Population size 10000-19999 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 8,600 km2
Country endemic? Yes
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species