Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Cuculiformes Cuculidae

Scientific Name: Centropus violaceus
Species Authority: Quoy & Gaimard, 1830
Common Name(s):
English Violaceous Coucal, Violet Coucal
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: 64cm. A very large coucal, entirely blackish with a violet sheen. Red iris and black eye-ring surround by whitish bare skin. Black bill and legs and feet variously whitish, light brown or slaty blue. Similar ssp. None within range. Voice Deep disyllabic wu-wuuu with longer, louder second note, similar to a large sheet of metal being flexed, repeated at variable intervals. Sometimes interspersed with rapid, deep gulps. Very deep, hoarse rasping wrah!-wrah!

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened ver 3.1
Year Published: 2012
Date Assessed: 2012-05-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S. & Symes, A.
Contributor(s): Beehler, B., Bishop, K., Dutson, G. & Wilkinson, R.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Butchart, S., Derhé, M., Ekstrom, J., Mahood, S.
This species is listed as Near Threatened because it is likely to be undergoing a moderately rapid population decline as a direct result of conversion of lowland forest to oil palm plantations (revealed through remote sensing).

Previously published Red List assessments:
2008 Near Threatened (NT)
2004 Least Concern (LC)
2000 Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)
1994 Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)
1988 Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Centropus violaceus is endemic to the islands of New Britain and New Ireland, Papua New Guinea where although it is rather poorly known, it appears to be widely distributed and not uncommon in suitable habitat. It is suspected to have declined moderately rapidly in recent years owing to ongoing clearance of lowland forest (Buchanan et al. 2008).

Countries occurrence:
Papua New Guinea
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO): Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO): No
Estimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2: 38700
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): 800
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: The population is estimated to be in the band 10,000-19,999 mature individuals, equating to 15,000-29,999 individuals in total, rounded here to 15,000-30,000 individuals.

Trend Justification:  Buchanan et al. (2008) calculated the rate of forest loss within the species's range on New Britain as 18.5% over three generations.
Current Population Trend: Decreasing
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals: 10000-19999 Continuing decline of mature individuals: Yes
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 rainforest, usually primary or old-growth forest, up to 800 m. It is not thought to tolerate habitat degradation.

Systems: Terrestrial
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat: Yes
Generation Length (years): 5
Movement patterns: Not a Migrant

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Lowland forest clearance on New Britain for conversion to oil palm plantations has been intense in recent decades and the island accounts for approximately half of Papua New Guinea's timber exports (Buchanan et al. 2008). On that island, more than 12% of habitat suitable for this species has been cleared in the last 10 years, and this trend is ongoing (Buchanan et al. 2008). This situation is not thought to be much different on New Ireland.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
None is known.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Identify and effectively protect a network of reserves, including some containing large areas of unlogged lowland forest and some large community-based conservation areas. Continue to monitor trends in forest loss. Research its tolerance of degraded forest. Monitor populations in a number of primary forest and degraded forest sites on both islands.

Citation: BirdLife International. 2012. Centropus violaceus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2012: e.T22684198A38244742. . Downloaded on 10 October 2015.
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