This discussion was first published as part of the 2013 Red List update, but remains open for comment to enable reassessment in 2014.
Rufous-necked Sparrowhawk Accipiter erythrauchen (BirdLife species factsheet) is found on the Moluccas of Indonesia, including the islands of Morotai, Halmahera, Bacan, Obi, Buru, Ambon and Seram, where it inhabits primary forest in the lowlands and hills, from sea-level to 1,400 m, including partially cleared areas, and has adapted to some plantations (Ferguson-Lees and Christie 2001).
It is currently listed as being of Least Concern, on the basis that it was not thought to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under any of the IUCN Red List criteria.
A study by Vetter (2009) used remote sensing techniques to track the rate and spatial pattern of forest loss in the Northern Maluku Endemic Bird Area (EBA) between 1990 and 2003, and project rates of deforestation over the next three generations for restricted range bird species found in this region, with consequent recommendations for category changes on the IUCN Red List.
This study estimated the rate of forest loss within the geographic and elevation range of Rufous-necked Sparrowhawk within the EBA to be c.18.7% between 1990 and 2003, and projected the loss of c.33.6% of forest in its range in the EBA over the next three generations (estimated by BirdLife to be c.22 years, based on an estimated generation length of c.7.2 years).
A projected rate of population decline of at least 30% over three generations could qualify the species for uplisting to Vulnerable under criterion A3; however, it evidently shows some tolerance of habitat modification and occurs in montane areas where forest may be comparatively more secure, perhaps buffering its population against the impacts of deforestation across its range. There is also the uncertainty over deforestation rates in parts of the species’s range not covered by Vetter’s (2009) study, such as Buru and Seram.
It is suggested that the species be uplisted to Near Threatened under criterion A3, on the basis that it is suspected that it will undergo a moderately rapid population decline (approaching 30%) over the next three generations (22 years) owing to continued deforestation.
Comments on this potential category change and further information would be welcomed.
Ferguson-Lees, J. and Christie, D. A. (2001) Raptors of the world. London: Christopher Helm.
Vetter, J. (2009) Impacts of Deforestation on the Conservation Status of Endemic Birds in the North Maluku Endemic Bird Area from 1990-2003. MSc Project. Durham, NC: Duke University.