Megapodius bernsteinii 


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Galliformes Megapodiidae

Scientific Name: Megapodius bernsteinii
Species Authority: Schlegel, 1866
Common Name(s):
English Sula Scrubfowl, Sula Scrubfowl
Taxonomic Source(s): 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.
Identification information: c.35 cm. Typical megapode with very short tail and proportionately quite long neck and legs. Fairly uniform plumage (del Hoyo et al. 1994). Chestnut lower back, rufous lower breast and belly; face with pink around eye, in turn surrounded by grey; legs and feet orange or red. Similar spp Differs from M. cummingii in having underparts similar to upperparts (del Hoyo et al. 1994).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable A2cde+3cde+4cde ver 3.1
Year Published: 2012
Date Assessed: 2012-05-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S. & Symes, A.
Contributor(s): Gooddie, C.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Benstead, P., Mahood, S., Taylor, J.
This species was recently uplisted to Vulnerable following evidence of severe declines, coupled with observations of extensive habitat loss and degradation and very high hunting pressure, which are suspected to be driving a rapid overall decline in its population. It may be uplisted again in the future if further evidence shows that its status has worsened.

Previously published Red List assessments:
2011 Vulnerable (VU)
2008 Near Threatened (NT)
2004 Near Threatened (NT)
2000 Lower Risk/near threatened (LR/nt)
1994 Lower Risk/near threatened (LR/nt)
1988 Threatened (T)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Megapodius bernsteini is restricted to the Banggai and Sula Islands Endemic Bird Area, Indonesia. There were thought to be some 7,000 birds in the Banggai Islands, mostly on Peleng, and as many as 38,000 (22,500-54,000) on Taliabu (BirdLife International 2001), but these populations are suspected to be undergoing rapid declines. The results of fieldwork on Taliabu in 2009 (Rheindt 2010) indicate that encounter rates had fallen substantially since fieldwork conducted in 1991 (Davidson et al. 1991), and dramatic declines over the last decade have been reported from eastern Peleng (M. Indrawan per Rheindt 2010).

Countries occurrence:
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO): Yes
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO): No
Estimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2: 4300
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO): Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO): No
Continuing decline in number of locations: Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations: No
Upper elevation limit (metres): 450
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: There were thought to be some 7,000 birds in the Banggai Islands, mostly on Peleng, and as many as 38,000 (22,500-54,000) individuals on Taliabu, but these populations are suspected to be undergoing rapid declines, thus its total population is conservatively placed in the band for 10,000-19,999 mature individuals. This equates to 15,000-29,999 individuals in total, rounded here to 15,000-30,000 individuals.

Trend Justification:  This species is known to be suffering extensive habitat loss and degradation and intensive hunting pressure (Rheindt 2010). Furthermore, there is evidence of declines on Taliabu, Peleng and associated islets, including a substantial fall in encounter rates on Taliabu (Rheindt 2010) compared with work conducted in 1991 (Davidson et al. 1991). Its population is thus suspected to be undergoing at least a rapid decline.

Current Population Trend: Decreasing
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals: 10000-19999 Continuing decline of mature individuals: Unknown
Extreme fluctuations: No Population severely fragmented: No
Continuing decline in subpopulations: Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations: No All individuals in one subpopulation: No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: It inhabits lowland forest, particularly in coastal areas, and dense lowland scrub fringing farmland. Nesting mounds are visited daily by monogamous pairs.

Systems: Terrestrial
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat: Yes
Generation Length (years): 4
Movement patterns: Not a Migrant

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): This species is experiencing declines and local extinctions owing to habitat loss (through logging and clearance for land conversion), exploitation (collection of eggs and hunting of adults) and introduced animals (cats and dogs as predators, and feral domestic chickens as competitors) (BirdLife International 2001, Rheindt 2010). Since the 1990s, there has been extensive logging on Taliabu, leading to further clearance for agriculture and habitat degradation along logging roads (Rheindt 2010). In 2009, new areas were reportedly being assessed for conversion to agriculture. Undisturbed habitat within the species's preferred elevation range on Taliabu has been reduced to tiny fragments; however, observations also suggest that the species can persist in degraded habitats (Rheindt 2010, C. Gooddie in litt. 2011). During fieldwork on Taliabu in 2009, it was found that the species and its eggs are still intensively targeted for consumption (Rheindt 2010); likewise it is also hunted on Peleng (C. Gooddie in litt. 2011). The species may be more secure on many of the small, rarely-visited offshore islets that it inhabits (BirdLife International 2001); however, fishermen from northern Taliabu, interviewed in 2009, report that the species has declined steeply on its tiny nesting islands off the north coast (e.g., Samada Besar), where it was formerly common (Rheindt 2010).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
None are known.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Reassess the population size, including a survey of offshore islets. Quantify the impact of hunting and the taking of eggs. Quantify the impact of introduced and feral predators and competitors. Regularly monitor the population at selected sites. Research its relative abundance in different habitats. Implement control measures against introduced animals if deemed appropriate. Protect areas of suitable habitat. Raise awareness of the species and its status in an effort to reduce hunting and nest-robbing.

Citation: BirdLife International. 2012. Megapodius bernsteinii. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2012: e.T22678593A37816980. . Downloaded on 30 November 2015.
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