Philippine Scops-owl (Otus megalotis) is being split: list O. nigrorum as Vulnerable and O. megalotis and O. everetti as Near Threatened?

This is part of a consultation on the Red List implications of extensive changes to BirdLife’s taxonomy for non-passerines

Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International will soon publish the HBW-BirdLife Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World, building off the Handbook of the Birds of the World series, and BirdLife’s annually updated taxonomic checklist.

The new Checklist will be based on the application of criteria for recognising species limits described by Tobias et al. (2010). Full details of the specific scores and the basis of these for each new taxonomic revision will be provided in the Checklist.

Following publication, an open and transparent mechanism will be established to allow people to comment on the taxonomic revisions or suggest new ones, and provide new information of relevance in order to inform regular updates. We are also actively seeking input via a discussion topic here regarding some potential taxonomic revisions that currently lack sufficient information.

The new Checklist will form the taxonomic basis of BirdLife’s assessments of the status of the world’s birds for the IUCN Red List. The taxonomic changes that will appear in volume 1 of the checklist (for non-passerines) will begin to be incorporated into the 2014 Red List update, with the remainder, and those for passerines (which will appear in volume 2 of the checklist), to be incorporated into subsequent Red List updates.

Preliminary Red List assessments have been carried out for the newly split or lumped taxa. We are now requesting comments and feedback on these preliminary assessments.

Philippine Scops-owl Otus megalotis is being split into O. megalotis, O. everetti and O. nigrorum, following the application of criteria set out by Tobias et al. (2010).

Prior to this taxonomic change O. megalotis (BirdLife species factsheet) was listed as Least Concern on the basis that it was not thought to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under any of the IUCN criteria. This species was estimated to have a very large range, and hence did not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence [EOO] of less than 20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appeared to be stable, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (at least a 30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size has not been quantified, but it was not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (fewer than 10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be at least 10% over ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure).

O. nigrorum is found on Negros, in forest and woodland habitats, including forest edge and secondary growth (del Hoyo et al. 1999, Kennedy et al. 2000, König and Weick 2008). It may qualify as Vulnerable under criterion B1ab(ii,iii,v), on the basis that it occupies a small range (with an EOO estimated at c.12,800 km2), in which suitable habitat is severely fragmented and in on-going decline, with inferred declines in the population.

O. megalotis (as defined following the taxonomic change) is found on Luzon, Marinduque and Catanduanes, and O. everetti (incorporating boholensis) is found on Samar, Leyte, Dinagat, Bohol, Mindanao and Basilan, where they occupy forest and woodland, including forest edge and secondary habitats (del Hoyo et al. 1999, Kennedy et al. 2000, König and Weick 2008). It is suggested that both species be listed as Near Threatened under criteria A2c+3c+4c, on the basis that they could be in moderately rapid population decline (approaching 30% over three generations [c.11 years]) owing to on-going habitat loss and degradation.

Comments on these suggested categories are invited and further information would be welcomed.

References:

del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A. and Sargatal, J. (1999) Handbook of the birds of the world, Vol 5: Barn- owls to Hummingbirds. Barcelona, Spain: Lynx Edicions.

Kennedy, R. S., Gonzales, P. C., Dickinson, E. C., Miranda, H. C., Jr. and Fisher, T. H. (2000) A guide to the birds of the Philippines. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

König, C. and Weick, F. (2008) Owls of the world. Second edition. London: Christopher Helm.

Tobias, J. A., Seddon, N., Spottiswoode, C. N., Pilgrim, J. D., Fishpool, L. D. C. and Collar, N. J. (2010) Quantitative criteria for species delimitation. Ibis 152: 724–746.

Related posts:

  1. Silvery Kingfisher (Alcedo argentata) is being split and Indigo-banded Kingfisher (A. cyanopectus) is being split: list A. argentata and A. flumenicola as Vulnerable and A. nigrirostris as Near Threatened?
  2. Scaly Kingfisher (Actenoides princeps) is being split: list A. regalis as Vulnerable or Endangered and A. princeps as Near Threatened?
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6 Responses to Philippine Scops-owl (Otus megalotis) is being split: list O. nigrorum as Vulnerable and O. megalotis and O. everetti as Near Threatened?

  1. I guess O nigrorum can qualify as Endangered. Current survey we conducted in lowland forest in South-western Negros. The species is quite rare and only confined in lowland forest. We will send more details once we finish the survey.

  2. Ivan Sarenas says:

    I have encountered nigrorum on montane forests on both Negros and Panay. I do agree that it is a low-density species as its calls and replies are very few in the places I have heard them.

  3. Desmond Allen says:

    O. megalotis seems to be widespread and not rare. It survives in suburbia so I would suggest Least Concern.

  4. Joe Taylor says:

    Remapping of the range of O. nigrorum to incorporate Panay has resulted in a new estimate of c.24,400 km2 for the species’s Extent of Occurrence (EOO). This means that the species no longer meets the EOO threshold for Vulnerable under the IUCN Red List criteria, although it does appear approach this threshold.

  5. Joe Taylor says:

    Preliminary proposals

    Based on available information and comments posted above, our preliminary proposals for the 2014 Red List would be to treat:

    O. nigrorum as Vulnerable under criterion C2a(i), on the basis that its population is likely to include fewer than 10,000 mature individuals, with no more than 1,000 mature individuals in each subpopulation, and is experiencing a continuing decline owing to on-going habitat loss and degradation.

    O. megalotis as Least Concern

    O. everetti as Least Concern

    There is now a period for further comments until the final deadline of 2 April for this discussion, after which recommended categorisations will be put forward to IUCN.

    The final Red List categories will be published on the BirdLife and IUCN websites in mid-2014, following further checking of information relevant to the assessments by both BirdLife and IUCN.

  6. Andy Symes says:

    Recommended categorisations to be put forward to IUCN

    Following further review, there have been no changes to our preliminary proposals for the 2014 Red List status of these species.

    The final categorisations will be published later in 2014, following further checking of information relevant to the assessments by BirdLife and IUCN.

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