This species is likely to have a moderately small population, which is thought to be declining owing to hunting and habitat loss. It is consequently classified as Near Threatened. However its abundance is pooly known and survey work is required to determine levels of occupancy over much of its range.
Distribution and populationPolihierax insignis
Sibley, C. G.; Monroe, B. L. 1990. Distribution and taxonomy of birds of the world. Yale University Press, New Haven, USA.
occurs in Myanmar
(previously widespread and locally abundant; it now appears scarce or uncommon, although the large quantity of suitable habitat remaining suggests that healthy populations may survive), Thailand
(distributed through north, north-east and western provinces south to Ratchaburi, once widespread and fairly common but now scarce throughout after an apparent decline due to clearance of open deciduous forest habitat), Laos
(historically very common and locally widespread in the south, but now apparently local and scarce), Cambodia
(fairly widespread, chiefly in north, with large areas of suitable habitat remaining) and Vietnam
(previously very common locally in south, now scarce; only present in any numbers in Dak Lak province) (BirdLife International 2001). Populations in Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia are potentially large, but few data are available due to a lack of fieldwork in suitable habitat. Population justification
The global population size has not been quantified, but the species is described as uncommon and local and is thus assumed to have a moderately small population. On this basis, the population is placed in the band 10,000-19,999 mature individuals, pending further study. This equates to 15,000-29,999 individuals in total, rounded here to 15,000-30,000 individuals.Trend justification
There are no quantitative data on population trends, but the species is probably declining at a slow to moderate rate, owing to rates of habitat loss and levels of hunting.Ecology
It is resident in wooded grasslands and open forest, chiefly deciduous dipterocarp and mixed deciduous forest of the plains and foothills up to 915 m, where it uses holes in trees for nesting and roosting. Threats
Although dry dipterocarp forest has generally suffered less degradation than evergreen forest in many areas, it is increasingly cleared and disturbed, through wood collection and burning. Given the high levels of hunting in much of its range, and the ease with which this species is shot, persecution presumably poses an additional threat. Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix II. Conservation Actions Proposed
Survey to assess the size of the population. Conduct searches in suitable habitat to investigate the assumption that significant populations are undiscovered. Regularly monitor the population at selected sites across its range. Determine the level of hunting of this species and its affects on population levels. Conduct local education programmes to discourage hunting. Protect large areas of dry dipterocarp forest where it is known and suspected to occur.
BirdLife International. 2001. Threatened birds of Asia: the BirdLife International Red Data Book. BirdLife International, Cambridge, U.K.
Ferguson-Lees, J.; Christie, D. A. 2001. Raptors of the world. Christopher Helm, London.
Further web sources of information
Detailed species accounts from the Threatened birds of Asia: the BirdLife International Red Data Book (BirdLife International 2001).
Hear sounds for this species from xeno-canto, the community database of shared bird sounds from around the world.
View photos and videos, and hear sounds of this species from the Internet Bird Collection
Text account compilers
Benstead, P., Mahood, S., Taylor, J.
IUCN Red List evaluators
Butchart, S., Symes, A.
BirdLife International (2013) Species factsheet: Polihierax insignis. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 13/12/2013.
Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2013) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 13/12/2013.
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.
Additional resources for this species