Mindanao Boobook Ninox spilocephala


Justification of Red List Category
This newly-split hawk-owl is suspected to be undergoing moderately rapid population declines owing to a variety of threats including clearance for agriculture and grazing, gold mining and logging. It is therefore classified as Near Threatened.

Population justification
The population size has not been quantified owing to recent taxonomic splits.

Trend justification
The population is suspected to be declining moderately rapidly owing to loss and degradation of its lowland forest habitat.

Distribution and population

Ninox spilocephala is endemic to the island of Mindanao and its smaller satellite islands Dinagat, Siargao and Basilan, in the Philippines (Rasmussen et al. 2012).


In the absence of specific information, the species's ecology is assumed to be similar to N. philippensis, which inhabits primary and tall secondary forest, from the lowlands to c.1,000 m, locally to 1,800 m (König and Weick 2008).


Its entire range has suffered extensive lowland deforestation. In 1988, forest cover had been reduced to an estimated 29% on Mindanao, most of it above 1,000 m. Most remaining lowland forest is now leased to logging concessions or mining applications. Dinagat has been virtually totally deforested owing to illegal logging and chromite surface-mining and little forest remains on Siargao or Basilan. Much of the forest at the key site of Bislig was cleared under concession by 2005 when deforestation  under concession ceased, although forest loss there has since accelerated owing to illegal settlers and illicit logging (R. Hutchinson in litt. 2012). Forest fires, associated with insurgency, are a problem on the Zamboanga Peninsula.

Conservation actions

Conservation and research actions underway
No targeted actions are known for this species.

Conservation and research actions proposed
Carry out surveys to assess the population size. Study the species's ecology and life history. Monitor population trends. Monitor the extent and condition of suitable habitat. Initiate education and awareness campaigns to raise the species's profile and instil pride in local people. Lobby for protection of remaining forest.


Text account compilers
Ekstrom, J., Symes, A., Taylor, J., Butchart, S., Westrip, J.

Hutchinson, R. & Ledesma, M.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Species factsheet: Ninox spilocephala. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 30/03/2023. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2023) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 30/03/2023.