Justification of Red List Category
This species's known range is extremely small and it would qualify as Critically Endangered if it were not currently known from five locations. Habitat is declining rapidly at one site and, to a lesser extent, at the other. It therefore qualifies as Endangered, but remains poorly known, and further records or research may lead to reassessment of its status.
The population is assumed to be very small, based on a paucity of records since its discovery in 1976, within its extremely small range. It is placed in the band 250-999 mature individuals here, equivalent to 375-1,499 individuals in total, rounded here to 350-1,500 individuals.
This species is suspected to lose 28.7-43.9% of suitable habitat within its distribution over three generations (16 years) based on a model of Amazonian deforestation (Soares-Filho et al. 2006, Bird et al. 2011). It is therefore suspected to decline by a rate approaching 30% over three generations.
Xenoglaux loweryi was discovered in 1976, and is known from three localities on isolated ridges in the eastern Andes of Amazonas and San Martín, north Peru (O'Neill and Graves 1977, Fjeldså and Krabbe 1990, Cardiff and Remsen 1995). It was discovered in the Garcia area north-east of Abra Patricia, San Martín, and was subsequently collected east of Bagua, Amazonas, in the Cordillera de Colán (O'Neill and Graves 1977, Fjeldså and Krabbe 1990). In total, five specimens have been collected (O'Neill and Graves 1977, J. Hornbuckle in litt. 1999). In 2002, the territorial call was confirmed and recorded at the type-locality in the Abra Patricia area (D. Lane in litt. 2003, 2007). In 2007 it was seen in the wild for the first time, at Abra Patricia, when birds were seen three times in daylight hours, and an individual was also captured in a mist-net (Anon. 2007). Acquisition of the recording has allowed more thorough searches to take place (D. Lane in litt. 2003, 2007), and one bird was seen at the Lechucita Bigotona Lodge, Abra Patricia, in 2008 in response to playback of the Lane recording (F. Lambert in litt. 2008). In January the 2010, one bird was observed and at least five heard in a primate reserve near the village of La Esperanza some 15 km west of Abra Patricia (S. Alterman, N. Shanee and E. Fonseca in litt. 2010), a site at which it has been recorded several times since. Two further sites have been located since then, both in Amazonas: the Hierba Buena-Allpayacu Private Conservation Area near Corosha, and a location near the town of Yambrasbamba (F. Angulo Pratolongo in litt. 2012). It appears to be both difficult to catch and reluctant to respond to playback, but may prove to be more widespread if methods for locating the species can be improved (D. Lane in litt. 2003, 2007).
It apparently inhabits the understorey and mid-storey of very wet elfin forest and tall forest at 1,890-2,400 m (but potentially heard down to 1,800 m), with abundant epiphytes, bamboo thickets and scattered palms and tree ferns (O'Neill and Graves 1977, Fjeldså and Krabbe 1990, Cardiff and Remsen 1995, D. Lane in litt. 2003, 2007, Schulenberg et al. 2007). If local reports of the species in elfin forest at Wichim are confirmed, it also occurs below 1,200 m. It is conjectured that the species could be almost flightless (Fjeldså and Krabbe 1990).
Remaining areas of suitable habitat are being cleared for timber, agriculture and to secure ownership of the land, gradually around Abra Patricia, but more rapidly in the Cordillera de Colán, where locals had estimated in 1994 that all the forest on the Cordillera de Colán could be cleared by 2004 (Davies et al. 1997, Dillon and Sánchez Vega 1999, J. Hornbuckle in litt. 1999). More recent surveys have confirmed that habitat destruction in the region continues unabated (Dillon and Sánchez Vega 1999). Abra Patricia is under pressure owing to road improvements and recent immigration and population growth in the area (G. Engblom in litt. 1998, Hornbuckle 1999, J. Hornbuckle in litt. 1999). Mining activities around Yambrasbamba also contribute to habitat destruction, both directly and by opening new roads that facilitate colonisation (F. Angulo Pratolongo in litt. 2012).
Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix II. It is considered endangered by Peruvian law (F. Angulo Pratolongo in litt. 2012). It occurs in the Alto Mayo Protected Forest, San Martín, but it is unclear whether the high-elevation forests are protected under this designation (Dillon and Sánchez Vega 1999, Hornbuckle 1999, J. Hornbuckle in litt. 1999, F. Angulo Pratolongo in litt. 2012). In any case, the protected status appears to have had little or no effect on the rate of deforestation (Dillon and Sánchez Vega 1999). Recent records come from the Abra Patricia-Alto Nieva Private Conservation Area, a recently protected private conservation area (Anon. 2007), and the Hierba Buena-Allpayacu Private Conservation Area near Corosha (F. Angulo Pratolongo in litt. 2012).
13-14 cm. Tiny, short-tailed owl, without occipital face. Long whiskers at bill base and face sides. Warm brown plumage, vermiculated darker. Prominent yellowish-white eyebrows. Bare tarsi and toes. Voice Single deep, husky almost disyllabic woh, one per 3 seconds.
Text account compilers
Benstead, P., Capper, D., Isherwood, I., Sharpe, C J, Stuart, T., Symes, A., Khwaja, N.
Angulo Pratolongo, F., Lane, D., Hornbuckle, J., Engblom, G.
BirdLife International (2019) Species factsheet: Xenoglaux loweryi. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 23/10/2019. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2019) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 23/10/2019.