CR (PE)
Pernambuco Pygmy-owl Glaucidium mooreorum



Justification

Justification of Red List Category
Despite several ornithological surveys in suitable habitat by professional ornithologists and a good number of park employees, the species has not been recorded since 2001. Extensive habitat loss has occurred in the region, and the remaining fragments are small and isolated. Any remaining population is likely to be tiny, to have an extremely small range, and to be declining. For these reasons, the species is listed as Critically Endangered. Following the application of new methods for estimating the probability of a species remaining extant, the species is now considered to be Possibly Extinct.

Population justification
Playback surveys in lowland forests of Pernambuco and Alagoas states since 2004 have failed to locate this species (S. A. Roda in litt. 2006). Based on analysis of known threats and the lack of records of this species, and following the application of new methods for estimating the probability of a species remaining extant (Akcakaya et al. 2017, Keith et al. 2017, Thompson et al. 2017), the species is now considered to be Possibly Extinct (Butchart et al. 2018). If it remains extant, its population is likely to number fewer than 50 individuals and mature individuals.

Trend justification
If it remains extant, the species is suspected to be declining rapidly owing to the comprehensive loss of habitat within its restricted range (da Silva et al. 2002). An analysis of remotely-sensed land cover data and modelled population densities estimated that the area of habitat within the species's extent of occurrence declined between 1992 and 2015, and that the species's population size underwent a reduction at a rate equivalent 16% across three generations (Santini et al. 2019). However, based on analysis of known threats and the lack of records of this species, and following the application of new methods for estimating the probability of a species remaining extant (Akcakaya et al. 2017, Keith et al. 2017, Thompson et al. 2017), the species is now considered to be Possibly Extinct (Butchart et al. 2018). Therefore, the species may have undergone a population size reduction of 100% over the last three generations, if it was extant at the start of that period.

Distribution and population

Glaucidium mooreorum was described from the Reserva Biológica de Saltinho (which covers just 4.8 km2) in Atlantic coastal forest in Pernambuco, Brazil (da Silva et al. 2002). It was tape-recorded in the same locality in November 1990 (Coelho 1990). The species was also found in a 100 ha forest patch at Usina Trapiche (08 35'S, 35 07'W) in November 2001. Playback surveys in lowland forests elsewhere in Pernambuco and Alagoas states since 2004 have failed to locate this species (S. A. Roda in litt. 2006, 2008), and there are no records from other well-surveyed forest sites in the region. The species has doubtless been extirpated from most of its range by destruction of humid tall forests (Butchart et al. 2018) and any population, if remaining, must be tiny. The probability of the species being extant was estimated at 0.317 based on records and surveys, and 0.118 based on threats (Butchart et al. 2018). Based on the probability thresholds recommended by Butchart et al. (2018), the species is now considered to be Possibly Extinct.

Ecology

It has been recorded in the canopy of old secondary forest where it was observed eating a cicada. An unconfirmed report suggested that the species was vocal during the rainy months of April and May (S. A. Roda in litt. 2006, 2008). It has been recorded in forest up to 150 m but has not been found in other well-surveyed forests in the region at elevations between 400 and 600 m.

Threats

The Pernambuco Center, where this species was described, is by far the most modified region of Atlantic Forest, having declined in extent from c. 39,500 km2 to c. 1,900 km2 by 2002. Most of the 52 remaining reserves are less than 5 km2 in size and almost none of this truly lowland (Butchart et al. 2018). Large amounts of forest were cleared to make way for sugar cane plantations (Pereira et al. 2014). The remainder is severely fragmented and legal restrictions have proven inadequate in halting deforestation from fire and illegal logging. Some suitable habitat does remain at the type locality (S. A. Roda in litt. 2006, 2008). Hunting is also reported to pose a threat to this species.

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway

The species is designated as Extinct in Brazil (MMA 2014, ICMBio 2018). The species has been recorded in the 4.8 km2 Reserva Biológica de Saltinho. Approximately 240 km2 of the remaining 1,900 km2 of Pernambuco Atlantic Forest are protected within 52 reserves but these almost exclusively support small fragments. Legal restrictions exist to attempt to curb the rate of forest loss.

Conservation Actions Proposed

Further surveys are required to locate any remaining populations and confirm the species's persistence. Protection of remaining lowland forest fragments in the area is urgently needed, along with more effective law enforcement to prevent illegal deforestation. Erecting nest boxes in potentially suitable forest fragments should be considered (C. Albano in litt. 2008) as well as using playback.

Identification

A typical Neotropical pygmy-owl of the Glaucidium minutissimum species complex. It has a light grey-chestnut coloured crown and head speckled with conspicuous white spots on the face and head to the lower nape (Fjeldså and Sharpe 2015). Has a white collar and white underparts streaked with rufous. Back is chestnut. Tail dark with white spots. Similar spp. it differs from its geographically closest relatives in its overall lighter colouration, size and voice. Voice a short phrase of 5-7 notes.

Acknowledgements

Text account compilers
Ashpole, J, Wheatley, H., Butchart, S., Sharpe, C.J., Bird, J., Symes, A.

Contributors
Albano, C. & Roda, S.


Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2021) Species factsheet: Glaucidium mooreorum. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 23/04/2021. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2021) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 23/04/2021.