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Laughing Owl Sceloglaux albifacies
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
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This species was found in New Zealand, but it is now Extinct, probably as a result of habitat conversion. The last confirmed record was of the nominate subspecies, in 1914.

Taxonomic source(s)
Brooks, T. 2000. Extinct species. In: BirdLife International (ed.), Threatened birds of the world, pp. 701-708. Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, Barcelona and Cambridge, U.K.
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.
Turbott, E. G. 1990. Checklist of the birds of New Zealand. Ornithological Society of New Zealand, Wellington.

Distribution and population
Sceloglaux albifacies was endemic to New Zealand with the nominate race on the South and Stewart Islands (with bones known from the Chatham Islands) and the subspecies rufifacies on the North Island. Birds were not uncommon until the first half of the 19th century, but were becoming rare by the 1840s. The last specimens of rufifacies were collected in 1889, with unconfirmed reports until the 1930s, and of albifacies, in 1914, with unconfirmed reports until the 1960s (Williams and Harrison 1972, Tennyson and Martinson 2006).

The species roosted and nested among rocks in open country and on forest edge (Williams and Harrison 1972).

Causes of the species's extinction are obscure, possibly habitat modification through grazing or burning, or predation by introduced mammals (Williams and Harrison 1972).

Tennyson, A. J. D.; Martinson, P. 2006. Extinct Birds of New Zealand. Te Papa Press, Wellington.

Williams, G. R.; Harrison, M. 1972. The Laughing Owl Sceloglaux albifacies (Grey, 1844), a general survey of a near-extinct species. Notornis 19: 4-19.

Further web sources of information
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
Brooks, T., Khwaja, N., Mahood, S.

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

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Sceloglaux albifacies. Downloaded from on 26/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 26/10/2016.

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 Extinct
Family Strigidae (Typical Owls)
Species name author (Gray, 1844)
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species