Justification of Red List Category
This species qualifies as Vulnerable because it has a small, seriously fragmented population, and is declining as a result of lowland deforestation.
A preliminary population size estimate of fewer than 10,000 mature individuals is used here, but this requires further documentation.
Intense pressures on habitat are suspected to have driven rapid declines in the past. However, based on data from Tracewski et al. (2016) the rate of forest loss appears to have slowed, potentially as the few remaining habitat patches are increasingly confined to protected areas.
Sarcophanops steerii is endemic to the Philippines, where it is known from Mindanao and neighbouring Dinagat, Siargao and Basilan (including the islets of Poneas and Malamaui) (Collar et al. 1999). Formerly widespread and fairly common, documented records since 1980 derive from just six sites, four on Mindanao (Mapawa Forest near Cagayan de Oro [R. Hutchinson in litt. 2016] southern Zamboanga Peninsula, Mt Apo and Bislig) and one on each of Poneas and Siargao, indicating that it is now uncommon and local.
It inhabits the lower and middle storeys of primary and adjacent or admixed secondary forest, generally well below 1,000 m, but occasionally up to 1,200 m. There are occasional records from mangroves and even scrub forest on dry, rocky substrates.
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, Basilan or Malamaui. 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 Underway
There are recent records from three protected areas: Mt Apo Natural Park, Pasonanca Natural Park and Siargao Island Protected Landscape. In addition, there are pre-1980 records from Mt Hilong-hilong Watershed Reserve, the Basilan Natural Biotic Area and Mt Matutum Forest Reserve, which is proposed for national park status.
17 cm. Small, brightly coloured passerine. Black throat and face. Green eye surrounded by large, prominent sky-blue wattle. Large, broad, pale blue bill. Maroon-purple crown, bordered by white nuchal collar. Dark grey mantle, bright chestnut rump and tail. Black wings with prominent white and yellow bar across tertials and secondaries. Lilac underparts becoming yellowish-white on lower belly. Female as male but gleaming white breast and belly. Juvenile duller. Voice Unknown. Hints Unobtrusive, joins mixed feeding flocks. Frequents understorey and middle layers of forest.
Text account compilers
Lowen, J., Taylor, J., Peet, N., Bird, J., Davidson, P., Westrip, J., Benstead, P.
BirdLife International (2019) Species factsheet: Sarcophanops steerii. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 14/12/2019. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2019) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 14/12/2019.