Archived 2012-2013 topics: Manus Masked-owl (Tyto manusi): uplist to Endangered?

BirdLife Species Factsheet for Manus Masked-owl Manus Masked-owl Tyto manusi is known only from two historic specimens from Manus in the Admiralty Islands of Papua New Guinea. There are no records of the species since 1934 (P. Gregory in litt. 2012) as recent surveys have failed to locate this species and there are few if any convincing reports from local villagers (Dutson and Newman 1991, D. Gibbs in litt. 1994, G. Dutson pers. obs. 1997).  Comparison with the congeneric Australian Masked-owl T. novaehollandiae suggests that it probably occurs at low densities and therefore has a very small population which is likely to be declining owing to habitat loss. For these reasons it is classified as Vulnerable. Although there is next to no recent information on the species, it has recently come to light that as the population persists on one small island only, it is presumably unlikely to have more than one subpopulation. Assuming that the total population is likely to number fewer than 1,000 mature individuals, confined to a single subpopulation and inferred to be declining owing to habitat loss, it seems appropriate to reclassify the species as Endangered under criterion C2aii. Comments on the likely subpopulation structure of this species given the size of Manus and distribution of habitat, and perhaps dispersal abilities of congeners are welcomed (as is any other information on this extremely poorly-known species).

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1 Response to Archived 2012-2013 topics: Manus Masked-owl (Tyto manusi): uplist to Endangered?

  1. Guy Dutson says:

    Agreed that there is likely to be a single subpopulation of <1000 individuals suffering ongoing decline

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