Tyto inexspectata


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Tyto inexspectata
Species Authority: (Schlegel, 1879)
Common Name(s):
English Minahassa Masked-owl, Minahassa Masked-Owl, Minahassa Masked Owl, Minahassa Barn-owl, Minahassa Owl
Spanish Lechuza de Minahassa

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable C2a(i) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2012
Date Assessed: 2012-05-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S. & Symes, A.
Contributor(s): Verbelen, F. & Bishop, K.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Benstead, P., Bird, J., Taylor, J., Tobias, J., Allinson, T
Given the continuing habitat destruction and degradation taking place in its range, the apparently small population of this elusive owl is likely to be declining and fragmented. As a result, it qualifies as Vulnerable.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Tyto inexspectata is endemic to Sulawesi, Indonesia, where it is known from 11 specimens collected on the Minahasa peninsula and north-central regions of the island, and a few subsequent records (BirdLife International 2001). A number of recent records have come from Tangkoko National Park (F. Verbelen in litt. 2012). It appears to be sparsely distributed, and has been described as very uncommon or rare. However, it is shy, easily overlooked, and consequently almost certainly more abundant than records suggest. Numbers are likely to have declined steadily in line with on-going habitat loss.

Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: The population is estimated to number 2,500-9,999 mature individuals based on an assessment of known records, descriptions of abundance and range size. This is consistent with recorded population density estimates for congeners or close relatives with a similar body size; its description as being uncommon or rare, and the fact that only a proportion of the estimated Extent of Occurrence is likely to be occupied. This estimate is equivalent to 3,750-14,999 individuals in total, rounded here to 3,500-15,000 individuals.
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: It inhabits primary and lightly disturbed rainforest, rich with lianas, ferns, palms and epiphytic plants, and also, at least occasionally, disturbed riverine forest and forest edge, from 100 m to 1,600 m. It is presumably sedentary.

Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The loss, degradation and fragmentation of forests pose the major threat to the species. It has doubtless contracted in range in the lowlands of Sulawesi, particularly on the Minahasa peninsula, as a result of land clearance for transmigration settlements, agricultural and infrastructural development and large-scale logging. Destruction of lowland forest on the Minahasa peninsula is described as "almost complete", and most primary forest below 1,000 m has been reduced to remnant patches, supplanted by secondary, disturbed and commercially utilised forest. Recent records of the species from higher altitudes provide some hope that healthy populations survive in more secure montane forests. In Indonesia, new regional autonomy laws were passed in 1999 (and enacted in early 2000); these empower regional governments to determine the licensing of forest concessions and exploitation of natural resources. Unfortunately there has been a significant increase in the amount of logging taking place in protected areas since decentralisation, especially in Sulawesi.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix II. It is known to occur in two protected areas, Bogani Nani Wartabone and Lore Lindu National Parks, which have been described as "two of the largest, biologically most important and best administered parks in Wallacea". In addition, 21 protected areas, with a total area of c.9,000 km2, have been proposed and/or established within the known range of the species.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct widespread searches for the species in suitable habitat (using playback of its vocalisations if available), to clarify its range, distribution and population status. Reassess its conservation needs following these surveys, recommending further areas for protection where appropriate. Lobby for reduced logging of lower altitude forest in Sulawesi.

Citation: BirdLife International 2012. Tyto inexspectata. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015.2. <>. Downloaded on 30 August 2015.
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