Tyto sororcula


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Tyto sororcula
Species Authority: (Sclater, 1883)
Common Name(s):
English Lesser Masked-owl, Moluccan Masked Owl, Lesser Masked-Owl, Tanimbar Owl
Spanish Lechuza de las Tanimbar

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Data Deficient ver 3.1
Year Published: 2012
Date Assessed: 2012-05-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Taylor, J. & Butchart, S.
Contributor(s): Hutchinson, R.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Benstead, P., Symes, A., Tobias, J.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Tyto sororcula is known from the island of Buru (and probably Seram) in South Maluku and Yamdena and Larat in the Tanimbar group, Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia. Most records are of specimens collected in the late 19th or early 20th centuries, and more recent observations comprise one photographed individual (probably of this species) on Seram, one reported from north-west Buru in 2006 (M. Halaouate in litt. 2007), and several sightings on Yamdena between 2004-2011 (Burung Indonesia and R. Hutchinson in litt. 2011). There is no information on numbers, and although it is described as "apparently rare", it is probably often overlooked and consequently almost certainly more widespread and numerous than available records suggest. Nevertheless, it occurs in primary and selectively-logged lowland evergreen forest, a habitat that is being rapidly cleared from islands within its range by loggers and shifting cultivators. One collector was brought two live birds caught in holes in limestone cliffs on Buru, and this habitat type should be revisited and searched for the species

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

Population [top]

Population: The global population size has not been quantified, but the species is described as probably rare (Konig et al. 1999).
Population Trend: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Recent and historical records derive from primary and selectively-logged lowland evergreen forest, and fairly degraded secondary forest (R. Hutchinson in litt. 2011). One collector was brought two live birds caught in holes in limestone cliffs on Buru, and one observation in 2005 concerned a bird roosting in a hole in a walnut tree along the border of primary forest and agricultural land (Burung Indonesia in litt. 2011). The species is presumably strictly sedentary.

Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Most forest in the coastal lowlands of Buru has now been cleared, and habitat in the northern portion of the island has been selectively logged, degraded and fragmented by shifting agriculture, such that only a few small patches of primary lowland forest remain. The situation is similar in the lowlands of Seram. Forest on Larat may have been seriously degraded by the outset of the twentieth century, and although much forest remains on Yamdena, it is highly accessible, partitioned into logging concessions and cannot necessarily be expected to persist. Nevertheless, local resistance to logging on Yamdena has reportedly meant that only one logging company remained operating in 2009, in the south-west of the island (Burung Indonesia in litt. 2011). Oil drilling, transmigration and hydroelectric projects pose further potential threats to habitat within its range in south Maluku.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix II. A bird thought to be of this species was photographed within Manusela National Park on Seram. Additional protected areas are proposed on Buru (Gunung Kepalat Mada) and Yamdena (a 600 km2 reserve). Whether these areas support populations of the species remains to be investigated.

Conservation Actions Proposed
*Conduct widespread searches for the species, including on other Banda Sea islands, to clarify its distribution, status and broad habitat preferences (including tolerance of habitat degradation) and thereby compile an effective conservation strategy. *Establish protected areas of forest on Buru and the Tanimbar islands, ensuring that habitat is adequately managed and legislation enforced.

Citation: BirdLife International 2012. Tyto sororcula. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.1. <>. Downloaded on 23 July 2014.
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