Archived 2017 topics: Papuan Boobook (Uroglaux dimorpha): list as Least Concern?

BirdLife Species factsheet for Papuan Boobook:


The Papuan Boobook is widely but sparsely distributed across New Guinea (Indonesia and Papua New Guinea) and some offshore islands. It is generally found in lowland forest, although it may also occur in gallery forest in savannah and at the forest edge (Coates 1985, G. Dutson in litt. 2016). Its tolerance of degraded forest is unknown, but being generally found in lowland forest, it may be threatened by logging. However it is unlikely to be undergoing more than a slow decline because rates of forest loss in mainland coastal provinces of Papua New Guinea has been relatively low (1.3% forest lost plus 2.5% was logged between 2002 and 2014) (Bryan and Shearman 2015).

Its population size has not been quantified, but it has been described as very scarce or rare (König et al. 1999), and in the 1980s and 1990s there had only been records from nine sites, including a series of individuals caught near Lae, Papua New Guinea (Hicks 1988, Lamonthe 1993, Shany 1995, K. D. Bishop in litt. 1999, P. Gregory in litt. 1999, T. Leary in litt. 2000, C. Makamet per B. Beehler in litt. 2000). As a result of this paucity of information Papuan Boobook is currently listed as Data Deficient, however there has been a recent increase in knowledge of this species and so it may now warrant reassessment. The species has become increasingly reported, with Beehler and Pratt (2016) reporting it as being known from around 20 localities, and eBird records (eBird 2017) suggest it may be at many more sites than this. This combined with the likelihood that it is at worst undergoing only a slow decline, and its large (potentially disparate) range means that it is unlikely that Papuan Boobook would approach the threshold for listing as Vulnerable under any criterion. Therefore, it is proposed that this species be listed as Least Concern.

We welcome any comments and further information regarding this proposed listing.



Bryan, J. E.; Shearman, P. L. (Eds). 2015. The State of the Forests of Papua New Guinea 2014: Measuring change over the period 2002-2014. University of Papua New Guinea, Port Moresby.

Coates, B. J. 1985. The birds of Papua New Guinea, 1: non-passerines. Dove, Alderley, Australia.

eBird. 2017. eBird: An online database of bird distribution and abundance [web application]. eBird, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Available: (Accessed: March 28, 2017).

Hicks, R. 1988. Recent observations April to June 1987. Muruk 3(1): 32-38.

König, C.; Weick, F.; Becking, J.-H. 1999. Owls: a guide to the owls of the world. Robertsbridge, U.K.: Pica Press.

Lamonthe, L. 1993. Papuan Hawk-owl Uroglaux dimorpha in the Lae-Bulolo area. Muruk 6(1): 14.

Shany, N. 1995. Juvenile Papuan Hawk-Owl Uroglaux dimorpha near Vanimo. Muruk 7(2): 74.

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2 Responses to Archived 2017 topics: Papuan Boobook (Uroglaux dimorpha): list as Least Concern?

  1. Phil Gregory says:

    Oh dear, this was an error in the original HBW listing where Papuan Boobook (Ninox theomacha) was erroneously confused with Papuan Hawk Owl (Uroglaux dimorpha). The latter has NEVER been known as Papuan Boobook, and ALL the boobooks are Ninox. This was corrected in the new Lynx Field Guide to New Guinea birds but is evidently still loose in the system. You mean Papuan Hawk Owl (Uroglaux dimorpha) as in your cited references, so I hope you can fix this up before even more confusion is unleashed. I would agree with a categorization as LC, for both species, though the Papuan Hawk Owl (Uroglaux) is still a very good find.

  2. Hannah Wheatley (BirdLife) says:

    Preliminary proposals

    Based on available information, our preliminary proposal for the 2017 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 4 August, 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 2017 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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