Archived 2016 topics: Madagascar Marsh-Harrier (Circus macrosceles): uplist from Vulnerable to Endangered?

BirdLife species factsheet for Madagascar Marsh-Harrier:

Circus macrosceles is found only on Madagascar and the Comoro Islands. It has a broad distribution from the north to the south of Madagascar, but occurs only a low densities. Surveys in 2005-2006 of 71 % of the potential harrier habitat on the island recorded 80 individuals (Rene de Roland et al. 2009), while the population on Comoros (Grande Comore, Moheli and Anjouan: three separate subpopulations), where its habitat is nearly totally destroyed, is estimated at no more than 50 mature individuals (R. Thorstrom and L.-A. Rene de Roland in litt. 2007). The total population is now suspected to number fewer than 250 individuals (R. Thorstrom in litt. 2016), and is suspected to be in moderate decline on the basis of the loss and degradation of breeding habitat, persecution and disturbance.

This species had previously been listed as Vulnerable, but with an update to the current population size it would qualify as Endangered under criteria C2a(i) and D. This is because it has a very small population size, which is inferred to be undergoing a continuous decline and each subpopulation contains less than 250 mature individuals. We welcome any comments on this proposed uplisting.


De Roland, L.-A. R.; Thorstrom, R.; Razafimanjato, G.; Rakotondratsima, M. P. H.; Andriamalala, T. R. A.; The Seing Sam. 2009. Surveys, distribution and current status of the Madagascar Harrier Circus macrosceles in Madagascar. Bird Conservation International 19: 309-322.

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2 Responses to Archived 2016 topics: Madagascar Marsh-Harrier (Circus macrosceles): uplist from Vulnerable to Endangered?

  1. Phil Gregory says:

    I’ve run tours to Madagascar since 2010 doing a pretty comprehensive itinerary, and we rarely see this species on the usual tour. I did see several birds at the Madagasacar Pochard site in Dec last year and it looked like there was fair bit of habitat in quite good condition in this region.
    I would think EN category is entirely appropriate
    Here are my comments from the Comoros in Dec 2014:
    Malagasy Harrier 1 ad ♂ and 1 ♀ around 1700m on Mt. Karthala with Tom and Simon seeing 3 there, Grande Comore Dec 7, a ♂ and ♀ below Châlet St Antoine Mohéli Dec 9 and 2 at Lac Bunyoni Dec 10 including one ♂. A good trip for this rare species which is now so hard to find in Madagascar and is one of the world’s rarest harriers.

  2. James Westrip (BirdLife) says:

    Based on available information, our preliminary proposal for the 2016 Red List would be to adopt the proposed classifications outlined in the initial forum discussion.

    There is now a period for further comments until the final deadline of 28 October, after which the recommended categorisations will be put forward to IUCN.

    Please note that we will then only post final recommended categorisations on forum discussions where these differ from those in the initial proposal.

    The final 2016 Red List categories will be published on the BirdLife and IUCN websites in early December, following further checking of information relevant to the assessments by both BirdLife and IUCN.

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