Justification of Red List Category
Although this species may have a small range, it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (extent of occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size may be small, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). Therefore, the species has now been listed as Least Concern.
The population size has not been directly estimated, but based on reported home range sizes of the Morepork, N. novaeseelandiae, in New Zealand (3.5-307 ha [Imboden 1975, Pryde and Green 2016]) and Southern Boobook, N. boobook, in Australia (18-206 ha [Olsen et al. 2011]) and assuming that only a proportion of its range is occupied, then the population size of this species may fall in the range of 2,500-9,999 mature individuals.
The population is suspected to be in slow to moderate decline owing to on-going habitat loss and degradation. The rate of decline is not thought to be more rapid because the species seems to tolerate human-modified habitats.
Ninox affinis is endemic to the Andaman Islands, India (BirdLife International 2001). Although its tolerance of degraded habitats gives cause for optimism, the species may be declining as human populations on the islands increase and forest is lost.
It inhabits mainly lowland moist forest (P. Davidar in litt. 2016), and is known to occur in low secondary forest (König and Weick 2008), as well as rarely in mangrove forest (P. Davidar in litt. 2016). It has also been reported from settlements, rubber plantations, lightly wooded areas and forest clearings, apparently hawking insects at dusk.
The human population on larger islands in the Andaman group is rising rapidly and habitat is consequently under pressure from agriculture, grazing and logging. Bioaccumulation of toxins from overuse of pesticides in agricultural lands also could be a potential threat (P. Davidar in litt. 2016).
Conservation Actions Underway
The Department of Environment and Forests, Andaman & Nicobar Islands has initiated steps to conserve the endemic and threatened bird species of Andaman and Nicobar Islands and the Zoological Survey of India is monitoring the bird population of this archipelago (C. Sivaperuman in litt. 2016).
Conservation Actions Proposed
Given the small range of this species it requires research and monitoring to assess its conservation needs. As a precaution, protect significant areas of suitable forest, in both strictly protected areas and community-led multiple use areas.
Text account compilers
Taylor, J., Benstead, P., Bird, J., Westrip, J.
Praveen, J., Davidar, P., Sivaperuman, C.
BirdLife International (2022) Species factsheet: Ninox affinis. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 06/12/2022. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2022) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 06/12/2022.