Archived 2012-2013 topics: Lesser Masked-owl (Tyto sororcula): reassess as Vulnerable?

This discussion was first published as part of the 2010 Red List update, but remains open for comment to enable reassessment in 2013. Lesser Masked-owl Tyto sororcula is currently treated as Data Deficient because most records are from the 19th or early 20th century and the only recent records constitute a bird photographed on Seram and one observed on Yamdena, there is no information on numbers, and although it is described as “apparently rare”, it is probably often overlooked and consequently almost certainly more widespread and numerous than available records suggest. However, it occurs in primary and selectively-logged lowland evergreen forest, a habitat that is being rapidly cleared from islands within its range by loggers and shifting cultivators. Most forest in the coastal lowlands of Buru has now been cleared, and habitat in the northern portion of the island has been selectively logged, degraded and fragmented by shifting agriculture, such that only a few small patches of primary lowland forest remain. The situation is similar in the lowlands of Seram. Forest on Larat may have been seriously degraded by the outset of the twentieth century, and although much forest remains on Yamdena, it is highly accessible, partitioned into logging concessions and cannot be expected to persist. Consequently, it is imperative that we collate any recent records of this species, and given the rate of habitat loss within its range it seems prudent to reclassify the species as Vulnerable under criterion A2 owing to suspected rapid population declines in excess of 30% over the past three generations (18 years based on a generation length of 6.1 years; BirdLife International unpublished data). Comments on the species’s current status are welcomed. (This discussion was first started as part of the 2010 Red List update) The following document was submitted in reaction to this topic by Burung Indonesia on 1 February 2011: Tyto sororcula Burung Indonesia Feb11

This entry was posted in Archive, Asia and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Archived 2012-2013 topics: Lesser Masked-owl (Tyto sororcula): reassess as Vulnerable?

  1. Andy Symes says:

    Comment received during 2010 update:

    Iglezi Khunko (September 2009):
    There has been a number of recent records from Yamdena (Tanimbar Islands) apart from the record mentioned above.

    1 adult bird (another one seen most briefly close by) found 20 km north of Saumlaki city in August 2007.

    1 adult bird found north of Saumlaki city in October 2007.

    All of above records was made in the same general area, which could mean that it is maybe locally common in suitable habitat on Yamdena.

    As far as aim updated the taxanomic position of the Tyto sp, found on Seram in 1987 is far from resolved and may not be reffarable to T. sorocula.

  2. I saw one bird and heard at least one other in the same area as the above sightings in September 2008, the bird we saw was sitting by the roadside on the edge of secondary forest while the calling bird was around a clearing adjacent to primary forest. Although the birds might be able to occupy forest edge or secondary forest as described they might also be very localised as we failed to hear or see any in 8 nights of searching elsewhere on Yamdena.

  3. Another sighting of a single bird in October 2011 was again in fairly degraded habitat at S07 49.221 E131 13.386 and another was heard from S07 48.440 E131 12.447 which is very close to the location of my 2007 sighting. While the species does appear localised it can certainly utilise secondary forest.

Comments are closed.