Justification of Red List Category
This species is classified as Near Threatened because it has a small population which is suspected to be suffering continuing declines as a result of habitat loss and degradation in its moderately small range. Its status is very poorly known, but it has previously been downlisted from Vulnerable owing to a lack of quantitative data to confirm the suspected decline in its population.
The population is estimated to number 2,500-9,999 individuals based on an assessment of known records, descriptions of abundance and range size. This is consistent with recorded population density estimates for congeners or close relatives with a similar body size, and the fact that only a proportion of the estimated Extent of Occurrence is likely to be occupied. This estimate is equivalent to 1,667-6,666 mature individuals, rounded here to 1,500-7,000 mature individuals.
Moderate declines are suspected to be occurring, owing to on-going and rapid rates of habitat loss in the lowlands throughout the species's range.
Eurystomus azureus is endemic to North Maluku, Indonesia, where it is known from Halmahera, Ternate, Tidore, Kasiruta and Bacan (BirdLife International 2001). It was originally considered uncommon, but the paucity of records during recent fieldwork suggests that it is now rare throughout its range, having undergone a substantial decline on Halmahera, where the bulk of the population survives.
It is resident in primary lowland and foothill-forest, including edges and selectively logged areas, occasionally in adjacent coconut groves and agricultural areas, up to 800 m (H. Bashari in litt. 2016). Despite its use of clearings it appears to be sensitive to high levels of degradation. It is being replaced in cultivated areas by its widespread relative E. orientalis.
This species is primarily threatened by habitat loss. Since the early 1990s (when it was reported that c.90% of the total area of Halmahera remained forested), clearance and fragmentation of forest has accelerated dramatically. Exploitation of economically valuable trees is now widespread and intensive, with most remaining forest under timber concession. In addition, habitat is under pressure from increased settlement and transmigration, conversion to agriculture, plantations, irrigation schemes, fuelwood-collection and mineral extraction. Given the predilection of this species for low elevations, and the fact that it is apparently outcompeted in cleared areas by E. orientalis, these threats are particularly alarming.
Conservation Actions Underway
There is currently only one protected area in North Maluku, Gunung Sibela Strict Nature Reserve on Bacan, although this site is seriously threatened by agricultural encroachment and gold prospecting. One large area on Halmahera has been designated as a national park: the 167,300 ha Aketajawe Lolobata NP, but there is no particular action plan for this species at that site (H. Bashari in litt. 2016).
31-35 cm. Medium-sized, forest-dwelling bird. Generally dark purple with wings, rump and belly deeper blue and conspicuous silvery-blue circle on primaries. Bright red bill, legs and bare orbital ring. Similar spp. Common Dollarbird E. orientalis is smaller with brownish head and mantle, greenish-blue wings and underparts. Voice Undocumented, but probably a staccato chattering like other members of the genus.
Text account compilers
Butchart, S., Benstead, P., Taylor, J., Westrip, J., Bird, J., Tobias, J.
BirdLife International (2019) Species factsheet: Eurystomus azureus. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 22/11/2019. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2019) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 22/11/2019.