The overall population size of this species is almost certainly very small now. Survey work in part of the core part of its Malagasy range (e.g Ó Marcaigh et al. 2020) noted only ‘singles or pairs’ in 2011 and 2013, and is considered to be rare even in this core part of its range. Even if a suspected population size were to be built up for the Malagasy part of its range – taking into account that it probably is no longer contiguous along the west coast – then when that is compared to the F. Hawkins in litt. population total from 2003, numbers will probably have declined by at least 30% in the intervening 18 years as threats such as hunting will not have abated. This could still be quite an underestimate for the rate of decline.
Ref: Ó Marcaigh, F. et al. (2020) The avifauna of Ankobohobo Wetland, a neglected Important Bird Area in northwestern Madagascar. Scopus 40(2): 18-28.
During our survey in Sep. 2019 in the Menabe Antinema coastla area in West Madagascar we did not find any Sacred Ibis. We followed up some local reports but could not confirm these either, which might be due to time of year. But the overall conclusion must be a further decline of the species. More details on the coverage in
Zöckler et al 2021): Rapid assessment of waterbirds and the mangrove status in the
Menabe Antimena Protected Area, Madagascar. in JOTT. DOI: 10.11609/jott.66126.96.36.19995-17905
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