Megapodius bernsteinii


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Megapodius bernsteinii
Species Authority: Schlegel, 1866
Common Name(s):
English Sula Scrubfowl, Sula Scrubfowl

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.

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).

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.
Population Trend: Decreasing

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

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. Version 2014.3. <>. Downloaded on 28 March 2015.
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