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Pernambuco Pygmy-owl Glaucidium mooreorum
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This species is assumed to have a tiny and declining population within an extremely small known range. Surveys have failed to locate it elsewhere, and available habitat continues to decline as a consequence of severe human pressures. As a result it is currently considered Critically 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.
SACC. 2006. A classification of the bird species of South America. Available at: #

A typical Neotropical pygmy-owl of the Glaucidium minutissimum species complex. It has a light grey-chestnut coloured crown and head speckled with conspicuous white spots on the face and head to the lower nape. Has a white collar and white underparts streaked with rufous. Back is chestnut. Tail dark with white spots. Similar spp. it differs from its geographically closest relatives in its overall lighter colouration, size and voice. Voice a short phrase of 5-7 notes.

Distribution and population
Glaucidium mooreorum was described from the Reserva Biológica de Saltinho (which covers just 4.8 km2) in Atlantic coastal forest in Pernambuco, Brazil. It was tape-recorded in the same locality in November 1990. The species was also found in a 100 ha forest patch at Usina Trapiche (08 35'S, 35 07'W) in November 2001. It occupies a tiny and severely fragmented range. Playback surveys in lowland forests elsewhere in Pernambuco and Alagoas states since 2004 have failed to locate this species (S. A. Roda in litt. 2006, 2008), and there are no records from other well-surveyed forest sites in the region. Its population has not been estimated accurately but is assumed to be tiny based on the lack of records outside its tiny range and continuing deforestation within the area.

Population justification
Playback surveys in lowland forests of Pernambuco and Alagoas states since 2004 have failed to locate this species (S. A. Roda in litt. 2006). Pereira et al. (2014) consider the species to be possibly extinct given that in 2014 it had not been recorded for over 12 years despite extensive searches. Its known distribution is tiny and the extent of habitat in the region has been dramatically reduced, the remainder is severely fragmented. If it remains extant, its population is likely to number fewer than 50 individuals and mature individuals.

Trend justification
The species is suspected to be declining rapidly owing to the comprehensive loss of habitat within its restricted range (da Silva et al. 2002).

It has been recorded in the canopy of old secondary forest where it was observed eating a cicada. An unconfirmed report suggests the species is vocal during the rainy months of April and May (S. A. Roda in litt. 2006, 2008). It has been recorded in forest up to 150 m but has not been found in other well-surveyed forests in the region at elevations between 400 and 600 m.

The Pernambuco Center where this species was described is by far the most modified region of Atlantic Forest having declined in extent from c. 39,500 km2 to c. 1,900 km2 by 2002. The remainder is severely fragmented and legal restrictions have proven inadequate in halting deforestation from fire and illegal logging. Some suitable habitat does remain at the type locality (S. A. Roda in litt. 2006, 2008). Hunting is also reported to pose a threat to this species.

Conservation Actions Underway
The species occurs in the 4.8 km2 Reserva Biológica de Saltinho. Approximately 240 km2 of the remaining 1,900 km2 of Pernambuco Atlantic Forest are protected within 52 reserves but these almost exclusively support small fragments. Legal restrictions exist to attempt to curb the rate of forest loss.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Protection of remaining lowland forest fragments in the area is urgently needed, along with more effective law enforcement to prevent illegal deforestation. Further surveys are required to locate other populations outside the known range; erecting nest boxes in potentially suitable forest fragments should be considered (C. Albano in litt. 2008) as well as using playback.

Da Silva, J.M.C., Coelho, G., Gonzaga, L.P. 2002. Discovered on the brink of extinction: a new species of pygmy-owl (Strigidae: Glaucidium) from Atlantic forest of northeastern Brazil. Ararajuba 10(2): 121-130.

IUCN. 2015. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015-4. Available at: (Accessed: 19 November 2015).

Pereira, G.A., de Melo Dantas, S., Silveira, L.F., Roda, S.A., Albano, C., Sonntag, F.A., Leal, S., Periquito, M.C., Malacco, G.B. and Lees, A.C. 2014. Status of the globally threatened forest birds of northeast Brazil. Papéis Avulsos de Zoologia 54(14): 177-194.

Further web sources of information
Alliance for Zero Extinction (AZE) species/site profile. This species has been identified as an AZE trigger due to its IUCN Red List status and limited range.

Click here for more information about the Alliance for Zero Extinction (AZE)

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
Bird, J., Butchart, S., Sharpe, C J, Symes, A. & Ashpole, J

Albano, C. & Roda, S.

IUCN Red List evaluators
Symes, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Glaucidium mooreorum. Downloaded from on 27/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 27/10/2016.

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 Critically Endangered
Family Strigidae (Typical Owls)
Species name author Silva, Coelho & Gonzaga, 2002
Population size 1-49 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 48 km2
Country endemic? Yes
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species