email a friend
printable version
Moluccan Woodcock Scolopax rochussenii
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
Please email us with any relevant information
BirdLife Species Champion Become a BirdLife Preventing Extinctions Programme Supporter
For information about BirdLife Species Champions and Species Guardians visit the BirdLife Preventing Extinctions Programme.

This obscure woodcock has a very small range, being known from only three locations. Given the continuing loss and degradation of habitat within this area, and suspected population declines, it qualifies as Endangered.

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.

32-40 cm. Large, forest-dwelling woodcock. Long, heavy, dark bill. Black upperparts with large contrasting ochre-buff spots and little barring. Underparts fairly uniform orange-buff, with sparse blackish scaling. Black bars on hindneck and between eye and bill. Similar spp. Sulawesi Woodcock S. celebensis is smaller, darker, finely barred rather than spotted and highly unlikely to visit the range of S. rochusseni. Voice Undocumented.

Distribution and population
Scolopax rochussenii is endemic to the islands of Obi and Bacan, North Maluku, Indonesia, where it is known from eight specimens (the most recent collected in 1980) (BirdLife International 2001). It was not observed during surveys on both islands in 1991-1992, but a local guide convincingly reported it to inhabit the interior of Obi. Furthermore, historical accounts report a local name ascribed to the species, indicating at least a degree of familiarity with it. Thus, although nothing is known about its population, it may not be as rare as current evidence suggests.

Population justification
A population estimate of 2,500-9,999 mature individuals has been interpreted from information in BirdLife International (2001): based on small area of hill forest on Bacan and Obi, the population of this forest wader is unlikely to be high. This would equate to 3,750-14,999 individuals, rounded here to 3,500-15,000 individuals. Verification of this estimate is desirable.

Trend justification
This species's population is suspected to be decreasing in line with logging, agricultural encroachment of forest, and gold mining, although the likely rate of decline has not been estimated.

It is assumed, based on good anecdotal evidence, to be a bird of tropical montane forest. A local guide on Obi in 1991-1992 stated that it inhabits interior forests, where it is sometimes flushed (from very close range) on ridgetops above c.500 m during dry periods. It is assumed to be resident, but may make local elevational movements.

Bacan and Obi are both small islands, with limited hill and montane forest. There are no gazetted protected areas on either island and any deforestation is likely to cause difficulties for the species. Much lowland forest on Obi has been logged or is under logging concession, and illegal gold mining is reported to be destroying further areas of forest. On Bacan, Gunung Sibela Strict Nature Reserve embraces just over 100 km2 of upland forest, but its lowland forest (at least) is under pressure from agricultural encroachment and gold mining. It is possible that hunting is an additional threat, although this remains to be confirmed.

Conservation Actions Underway
On Bacan, it probably occurs in Gunung Sibela Strict Nature Reserve. On Obi, there are two further proposed protected areas, Pulau Obi and Danau Saku (whose fringing forests might support a population). It remains to be determined whether these are the most appropriate areas for the conservation of threatened, endemic avifauna. Given that they are the most mountainous parts of either island, they are probably ideally situated to conserve this species. Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct further surveys on both islands (particularly within proposed protected areas) to establish its distribution, population status, ecological requirements and main threats. Support the effective management of Gunung Sibela Strict Nature Reserve (Bacan) and the establishment of protected areas at Pulau Obi and Danau Saku (Obi), ensuring that these are suitably designed and situated. Devise and implement further conservation measures on each island.

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

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., Davidson, P., Taylor, J., Tobias, J.

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

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Scolopax rochussenii. 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 Endangered
Family Scolopacidae (Sandpipers, Snipes, Phalaropes)
Species name author Schlegel, 1866
Population size 2500-9999 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 680 km2
Country endemic? Yes
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species