Justification of Red List Category
This coucal qualifies as Critically Endangered because it is believed to have an extremely small, severely fragmented population, which is continuing to decline owing to the loss and degradation of remaining forest fragments.
The population is estimated to number 50-249 mature individuals based on a detailed analysis of recent records by BirdLife International (2001). This equates to 75-374 individuals in total, rounded here to 70-400 individuals.
This species's population is suspected to be declining rapidly, in line with habitat loss and degradation within its range.
Centropus steerii is endemic to the island of Mindoro in the Philippines, where it was formerly widespread and fairly common (Collar et al. 1999). However, only a tiny amount of lowland forest remains on Mindoro and its population is now believed to be extremely small, with records since 1980 from just three localities (Siburan, Puerto Galera, Malpalon), two of which are adjacent to each other. Siburan is regarded as probably the key site for the species, where at least five calling birds were recorded during one day in 2011 (R. Hutchinson in litt. 2012).
It is restricted to primary lowland and transitional (to mid-mountain) dipterocarp forest, up to 760 m, where it frequents dense vegetation, tangled thickets, vine-covered shrubs and bamboo. It appears to be displaced in forest edge and second growth by C. viridis.
By 1988, extensive deforestation on Mindoro had reduced forest cover to a mere 120 km2, of which only a small proportion is below this species's upper altitudinal limit. The lowland forest that does remain is highly fragmented and it is believed that at the current rate of deforestation all forest may disappear by 2020-2030. Slash-and-burn cultivation, occasional selective logging and rattan collection threaten the forest fragments that still support the species. Dynamite blasting for marble is an additional threat to forest at Puerto Galera. The species's genetic viability may be at risk given the small size and fragmented nature of remaining populations.
Conservation Actions Underway
An education programme has also been started at Malpalon. Funding has been provided for faunal inventories and environmental education initiatives at Puerto Galera, where hunting has been locally prohibited. The Sablayan Penal Colony recently adopted the Mindoro Bleeding-heart Gallicolumba platenae as their flagship species for conservation and established a forest protection and restoration unit within the boundaries of the penal colony inside the Mt. Siburan IBA, which may also benefit the coucal (B. Tabaranza in litt. 2008). As part of the BirdLife Preventing Extinctions programme, Species Guardians Haribon Foundation are implementing the following actions for Mindoro Bleeding-heart and Black-hooded Coucal (BirdLife International 2008): an IBA monitoring team for Mount Siburan has been set up, training and utilising local participants; actions are underway to strengthen the Sablayan Forest Management Board (SFMB), the main function of which is to oversee the implementation of the Sablayan Forest Management Plan; an IEC (Information-Education-Communication) Plan is being developed for use in environmental education, awareness raising and local advocacy; a Sablayan Ecotourism Plan is being developed, including training local bird tour guides; and efforts have been made to strengthen and consolidate the Site Support Group's actions aimed at eliminating logging activities and the accidental snaring of Mindoro Bleeding-heart.
46 cm. Unobtrusive forest-dwelling coucal. Glossy black head forming dark hood. Rest of plumage brownish, tail glossed greenish-black. Dark bill. Similar spp. Philippine Coucal C. viridis mindorensis is entirely blackish, lacking the contrasting dark hood. Voice Typically five to eight deep woop notes given in a descending series. Hints Restricted to the forest interior where it favours dense vine-tangles and thick canopy.
Text account compilers
Benstead, P., Bird, J., Butchart, S., Davidson, P., Lowen, J., Peet, N., Pilgrim, J., Symes, A., Taylor, J.
Hutchinson, R., Tabaranza, B.
BirdLife International (2019) Species factsheet: Centropus steerii. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 22/04/2019. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2019) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 22/04/2019.