Archived 2012-2013 topics: Cloud-forest Pygmy-owl (Glaucidium nubicola): uplist to Endangered?

BirdLife species factsheet for Cloud-forest Pygmy-owl Cloud-forest Pygmy-owl Glaucidium nubicola occurs on the west slope of the west Andes of central and south Colombia and north Ecuador. It has been recorded at few locations, of which at least one has been completely deforested since 1987. The population size is preliminarily estimated to fall into the band 2,500-9,999 individuals. This equates to 1,667-6,666 mature individuals, rounded here to 1,500-7,000 mature individuals. It is currently listed as Vulnerable under criterion B1ab(i,ii,iii,iv,v) based on a small range (<20,000 km2) and a continuing population decline owing to on-going habitat destruction and fragmentation. However, recent information suggests that this species may have a smaller range than was previously thought. Freile and Castro (in litt. 2012) state that the current Extent of Occurrence (EOO) of the Cloud-forest Pygmy-owl is less than 5,000 km2 (approximately 2,570 km2) and can be considered fragmented and in continuous decline. Protection is also rather low, with no records from large protected areas in Ecuador. If this information is confirmed, and the range is considered to be severely fragmented, this species would warrant uplisting to Endangered under criterion B1ab(i,ii,iii,iv,v) of the IUCN Red List. Information is requested on the population size, trends and distribution of this species, the extent to which its range is fragmented, and comments on the proposed uplisting are welcome.

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2 Responses to Archived 2012-2013 topics: Cloud-forest Pygmy-owl (Glaucidium nubicola): uplist to Endangered?

  1. Juan Freile says:

    Please note that our estimation of EOO is restricted to its Ecuadorian range; given that the species’ range is somewhat larger in Colombia, the 5000 km2 threshold for global EN category might not hold up.
    Our estimations result from a compilation of all known localities in Ecuador, plus niche modeling and quantitative assessment at national level using IUCN criteria for regional assessments.
    We predict a continuous distribution south to southern Cotopaxi, and again along the Pacific slope in Azuay, El Oro and Loja. However, number of localities is low, mainly confined to the better known Pichincha province, none in state-run protected areas, and few in smaller private reserves. 39% of its Ecuadorian range is, at least nominally (but again, no records from large ecological reserves or national parks).
    New protected localities to add: Mashpi and Los Cedros Protection Forests; Maquipucuna, Santa Lucía and Paz de las Aves reserves; Milpe Bird Sanctuary.
    Here is full citation of our paper, first published online:
    Freile, JF & DF Castro. 2013. New records of rare screech owls (Megascops) and pygmy owls (Glaucidium), with taxonomic notes and a conservation assessment of two globally imperiled species in Ecuador. Cotinga 35: OL 5-10.

  2. I can comment a bit on this species in Tatama national Park (Cloud-forests) where I see it occurring in most of the forests of the Cerro Montezuma but probably at very low numbers.

    Due to low population all over its homerange, I think it would be wise upgrading this species status on the IUCN list to Endangered.
    On a much smaller scale we could witness this species population decline, here in Colombia too.
    I think an upgrade of this species status would be both the logical and useful thing to do.

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