Archived 2014 discussion: List newly-described Rinjani Scops-owl (Otus jolandae) as Vulnerable or Near Threatened?

The initial deadline for comments on this topic is 28 April 2014, and therefore later than for most other topics currently under discussion.

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.

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.

Rinjani Scops-owl Otus jolandae was newly-described by Sangster et al. (2013) and is to be recognised as a species by BirdLife International following the application of criteria set out by Tobias et al. (2010).

Otus jolandae is apparently endemic to the island of Lombok (Indonesia), where it appears locally common and is documented by sound recordings from five localities in the west, centre and north of the island at elevations from 25–1,350 m (Sangster et al. 2013). The species has been heard in undisturbed forest but also in degraded forest, and along quiet roads, and observations near Sesaot and Sapit with scattered tree patches, and in secondary forest at Senggigi, suggest that it is not dependent on closed primary forest (Sangster et al. 2013). It occurs within the 413 km2, 300-3,276 m Gunung Rinjani National Park, which retains good quality forest, but very little lowland forest remains on Lombok, although Batu Gendang forest in Sekotong Tengah (southwest Lombok) still contains some potentially suitable forest (Sangster et al. 2013).

It is suspected that O. jolandae occurs throughout the forested parts of Lombok, perhaps down to sea level, and it is possible that the species also occurs in western Sumbawa, however it has not yet been heard on surveys and local people do not recognise the song; skins from central Sumbawa that have been examined refer to O. magicus albiventris (Sangster et al. 2013). Further studies are necessary to determine the exact distribution, elevational range and population density of O. jolandae on Lombok, and whether the species occurs throughout the lowlands where extensive forest destruction and cultivation has taken place since the type series was obtained in 1896 (exact location unknown).

Despite its apparent tolerance of modified habitats, the species could be threatened by habitat loss at least in parts of its range. The population of O. jolandae has apparently not been quantified, although it may number fewer than 10,000 mature individuals. If all mature individuals are thought to be in one subpopulation (in which adjacent groups in the population are likely to exchange at least two individuals per year) and a population decline is inferred on the basis of continued habitat loss, the species may qualify as Vulnerable under criterion C2a(ii). If the species is thought to approach these thresholds, it may qualify as Near Threatened under the same criterion.

Comments are invited and further information would be welcomed.


Sangster G, King BF, Verbelen P, Trainor CR (2013) A New Owl Species of the Genus Otus (Aves: Strigidae) from Lombok, Indonesia. PLoS ONE 8(2): e53712. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0053712

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.

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2 Responses to Archived 2014 discussion: List newly-described Rinjani Scops-owl (Otus jolandae) as Vulnerable or Near Threatened?

  1. Andy Symes says:

    Preliminary proposals

    Based on available information, our preliminary proposal for the 2014 Red List would be to treat:

    O. jolandae as Near Threatened, approaching the thresholds for classification as Vulnerable under criterion C2a(ii).

    There is now a period for further comments until the final deadline of 14 May, after which the recommended categorisation will be put forward to IUCN.

    The final Red List category 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.

  2. Andy Symes says:

    Recommended categorisation to be put forward to IUCN

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

    The final categorisation will be published in mid-2014, following further checking of information relevant to the assessment by BirdLife and IUCN.

Comments are closed.