Archived 2014 discussion: Rufous-necked Sparrowhawk (Accipiter erythrauchen): uplist to Near Threatened?

This discussion was first published as part of the 2013 Red List update, but remains open for comment to enable reassessment in 2014.

Rufous-necked Sparrowhawk Accipiter erythrauchen (BirdLife species factsheet) is found on the Moluccas of Indonesia, including the islands of Morotai, Halmahera, Bacan, Obi, Buru, Ambon and Seram, where it inhabits primary forest in the lowlands and hills, from sea-level to 1,400 m, including partially cleared areas, and has adapted to some plantations (Ferguson-Lees and Christie 2001).

It is currently listed as being of Least Concern, on the basis that it was not thought to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under any of the IUCN Red List criteria.

A study by Vetter (2009) used remote sensing techniques to track the rate and spatial pattern of forest loss in the Northern Maluku Endemic Bird Area (EBA) between 1990 and 2003, and project rates of deforestation over the next three generations for restricted range bird species found in this region, with consequent recommendations for category changes on the IUCN Red List.

This study estimated the rate of forest loss within the geographic and elevation range of Rufous-necked Sparrowhawk within the EBA to be c.18.7% between 1990 and 2003, and projected the loss of c.33.6% of forest in its range in the EBA over the next three generations (estimated by BirdLife to be c.22 years, based on an estimated generation length of c.7.2 years).

A projected rate of population decline of at least 30% over three generations could qualify the species for uplisting to Vulnerable under criterion A3; however, it evidently shows some tolerance of habitat modification and occurs in montane areas where forest may be comparatively more secure, perhaps buffering its population against the impacts of deforestation across its range. There is also the uncertainty over deforestation rates in parts of the species’s range not covered by Vetter’s (2009) study, such as Buru and Seram.

It is suggested that the species be uplisted to Near Threatened under criterion A3, on the basis that it is suspected that it will undergo a moderately rapid population decline (approaching 30%) over the next three generations (22 years) owing to continued deforestation.

Comments on this potential category change and further information would be welcomed.


Ferguson-Lees, J. and Christie, D. A. (2001) Raptors of the world. London: Christopher Helm.

Vetter, J. (2009) Impacts of Deforestation on the Conservation Status of Endemic Birds in the North Maluku Endemic Bird Area from 1990-2003. MSc Project. Durham, NC: Duke University.

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3 Responses to Archived 2014 discussion: Rufous-necked Sparrowhawk (Accipiter erythrauchen): uplist to Near Threatened?

  1. Joe Taylor says:

    The following comments were received from Burung Indonesia on 27 February 2014:

    During the avifauna survey conducted by Burung Indonesia in 2008-2012 in North Maluku, the species was only observed once (Block Lolobata, Aketajawe Lolobata National Park in Halmahera). Observation was made in primary forests, 890 meters above sea level, in 2012. Burung Indonesia did an avifauna intensive survey twice in Aketajawe Lolobata national park, primarily in 2008 and 2012. Besides above observations, Burung Indonesia also conducted small surveys for biodiversity whether it inside the national park and surroundings area.

    Over the past 5 years (2008-2012), there is no significant land use change occurs inside the national park area. Changes in forest cover are more frequent occur outside of the national park, whether it turns into human settlement , agricultural land / plantation, and logging activities from the mining companies.

    In terms of population, the population trends of the the Rufous – necked Sparrowhawk can’t be assessed at present. However, we assume that, if in 5 years (2007-2012) we only observed this species just once and when compared with other endemic species of North Maluku , then the Rufous – necked Sparrowhawk is rare in Halmahera and North Maluku in general . Therefore the uplisting of this species to Near Threatened is possible.

    Bashari, H. 2012. Avifaunal Survey of Aketajawe Lolobata National Park, Halmahera, Maluku Utara.. Technical Report. Partnership Programme for Conservation Area Management. Burung Indonesia. Bogor.

  2. Andy Symes says:

    Preliminary proposals

    Based on available information and comments posted above, our preliminary proposal for the 2014 Red List would be to treat Rufous-necked Sparrowhawk Accipiter erythrauchen as Near Threatened, approaching the threshold for Vulnerable under criterion A3.

    There is now a period for further comments until the final deadline of 31 March, after which recommended categorisations will be put forward to IUCN.

    The final Red List categories 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.

  3. Andy Symes says:

    Recommended categorisation to be put forward to IUCN

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

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

Comments are closed.