NT
Letter-winged Kite Elanus scriptus



Taxonomy

Taxonomic source(s)
Christidis, L. and Boles, W.E. 2008. Systematics and taxonomy of Australian birds. CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood, Australia.
Christidis, L.; Boles, W. E. 2008. Systematics and taxonomy of Australian birds. CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood, Australia.
del Hoyo, J., Collar, N.J., Christie, D.A., Elliott, A. and Fishpool, L.D.C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Lynx Edicions BirdLife International, Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge, UK.
del Hoyo, J.; Collar, N. J.; Christie, D. A.; Elliott, A.; Fishpool, L. D. C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International.

IUCN Red list criteria met and history
Red List criteria met
Critically Endangered Endangered Vulnerable
- - -

Red List history
Year Category Criteria
2016 Near Threatened D1
2012 Near Threatened D1
2008 Near Threatened D1
2004 Near Threatened
2000 Lower Risk/Least Concern
1994 Lower Risk/Least Concern
1988 Lower Risk/Least Concern
Species attributes

Migratory status nomadic Forest dependency Does not normally occur in forest
Land mass type Land-mass type - Australia
Average mass -
Extent of occurrence (EOO)

Estimate Data quality
Extent of Occurrence breeding/resident (km2) 2,050,000 medium
Extent of Occurrence non-breeding (km2) 8,830,000 medium
Number of locations -
Fragmentation -
Population and trend
Estimate Data quality Derivation Year of estimate
No. of mature individuals 670-6700 medium estimated 2001
Population trend Stable medium estimated -
Decline (3 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (5 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (10 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (10 years/3 generation future) - - -
Decline (10 years/3 generation past and future) - - -
Number of subpopulations - - -
Largest subpopulations - - -
Generation length (yrs) 6.6 - - -

Population justification: The population is almost impossible to assess due to its extreme fluctuations. In years when rats are numerous the species can breed rapidly and be abundant. When rat populations crash following the onset of drought, birds are forced into areas that are outside their normal range and eventually most perish. Little is known about the intervening lean times when the species is rarely seen and populations may fall near to 1,000 individuals. Its population size generally remains between 1,000-10,000 individuals, roughly equivalent to 670-6,700 mature individuals.

Trend justification: Population cycles appear to be linked to those of the principal prey, the plague rat Rattus villossimus, which has population explosions following high rainfall (Olsen 1995). These explosions in population and range rarely last for more than a year, after which the species's distribution again contracts (Garnett 1993). Despite such fluctuations the species is regarded as secure (Garnett 1993).


Country/territory distribution
Country/Territory Occurrence status Presence Resident Breeding Non-breeding Passage
Australia N Extant Yes

Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBA)
Country/Territory IBA Name
Australia Goyder Lagoon
Australia Lake Sylvester System

Habitats & altitude
Habitat (level 1) Habitat (level 2) Importance Occurrence
Grassland Subtropical/Tropical Dry major resident
Wetlands (inland) Permanent Rivers/Streams/Creeks (includes waterfalls) major resident
Altitude 0 - 1000 m Occasional altitudinal limits  

Threats & impact
Threat (level 1) Threat (level 2) Impact and Stresses
Agriculture & aquaculture Livestock farming & ranching Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Majority (50-90%) Negligible declines Low Impact: 5
Stresses
Ecosystem degradation, Ecosystem conversion
Invasive and other problematic species, genes & diseases Invasive non-native/alien species/diseases Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Majority (50-90%) Unknown Unknown
Stresses
Reduced reproductive success

Utilisation
Purpose Primary form used Life stage used Source Scale Level Timing
Pets Whole Adults and juveniles Wild International Non-trivial Recent

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2019) Species factsheet: Elanus scriptus. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 20/08/2019. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2019) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 20/08/2019.