Otus pauliani 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Strigiformes Strigidae

Scientific Name: Otus pauliani (Benson, 1960)
Common Name(s):
English Grand Comoro Scops-owl, Comoro Scops-owl, Grand Comoro Scops-Owl, Karthala Scops Owl
French Petit-duc de Karthala, Petit-duc du Karthala
Spanish Autillo de las Comores
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. Volume 1: Non-passerines. Lynx Edicions BirdLife International, Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge, UK.
Identification information: 20-22 cm. Small owl. Only one colour form: greyish-brown, heavily barred, streaked and vermiculated. Bright yellow eyes. Voice Whistled toot given at one-second intervals.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered B1ab(i,ii,iii,v)+2ab(i,ii,iii,v); C2a(ii) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2017
Date Assessed: 2017-10-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Symes, A.
Contributor(s): Louette, M., Marsh, C., Green, K., Safford, R. & Doulton, H.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Bird, J., Butchart, S., Ekstrom, J., Pilgrim, J., Shutes, S., Symes, A., Warren, B., Ashpole, J & Westrip, J.
This species is classified as Endangered since it has a very small range and population size, occurring at only one location, an active volcano where clearance of forest for agriculture by the island's large and increasing human population is causing a continuing decline in the area of suitable habitat, and thus its extent of occurrence, area of occupancy, and population.

Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Otus pauliani is found only on Mt Karthala, an active volcano on Grand Comoro (= Ngazidja), in the Comoro Islands. Tracewski et al. (2016) estimated the maximum Area of Occupancy (calculated as the remaining tree area within the species’s range) to be c.144 km2, rounded here to 140 km2.

Countries occurrence:
Additional data:
Estimated area of occupancy (AOO) - km2:140Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):Yes
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO):NoEstimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:220
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):YesExtreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO):No
Number of Locations:1Continuing decline in number of locations:No
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations:NoLower elevation limit (metres):650
Upper elevation limit (metres):1900
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:In November 1989, studies revealed its presence on the northern, western and southern flanks of the volcano where about 100 km2 of suitable habitat exists, and the population may prove to be over 1,000 pairs (Herremans et al. 1991a). In September 2005, the species was found to be abundant on the south-eastern flanks of the Karthala, which may increase the population estimate. However, no formal revised estimate is available and the extent of suitable habitat will have been reduced since 1989. The estimate is thus retained at 2,000 individuals, roughly equivalent to at least 1,300 mature individuals.

Trend Justification:  This species's population is suspected to be declining at a rate of 1-19% over ten years, in line with habitat loss and degradation within its range.

Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals:1300Continuing decline of mature individuals:Yes
Extreme fluctuations:NoPopulation severely fragmented:No
No. of subpopulations:1Continuing decline in subpopulations:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations:NoAll individuals in one subpopulation:Yes
No. of individuals in largest subpopulation:100

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:This species occurs from 650 m upwards to the tree line (Louette et al. 2008). It is territorial, occurring in primary, montane, evergreen forest, favouring areas with old hollow trees, but is also found in "pioneer forest"; (forest that grows on rocky soils [Louette et al. 1988, Louette et al. 1990]) and regenerating forest dominated by Psidium cattleianum (Safford 2001). although it is not clear whether it occurs in similar densities in such degraded habitat. It shows a preference for edge habitat: either edges along the upper limits of the forest where it is replaced by giant heath Philippia, edges along old lava-flows, or edges of open areas within the forest itself (Louette et al. 1988). Its feeding and breeding ecology are unknown.

Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Yes
Generation Length (years):3.7
Movement patterns:Not a Migrant

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Since 1983 intact forest may have declined by over 25% as agriculture, on all but the poorest soils, has advanced steadily up the slopes of Mt Karthala toward the habitat of O. pauliani (Safford 2001). There is large clearance for road construction on the western side above Mvouni, relatively intensive logging for plank production using chainsaws in the south, above Kourani, and cattle grazing on the Phillipia heaths in the highlands (K. Green in litt. 2012). Secondary forest in the agricultural belt on the mountain is dominated by exotic plants, particularly strawberry guava Psidium cattleianum (Safford 2001), which could spread into and degrade remaining native forest. Commercial logging occurs in a 50 km2 concession on the south-western slopes (Safford 2001). Pioneer forest, although unsuitable for agriculture and of little value for logging, is susceptible to fire and may be burnt to provide grassland for cattle (Louette et al. 1990). Grazing is increasing - even at high altitudes - and could prohibit forest regeneration (Louette and Stevens 1992, Louette et al. 1988). Introduced rats and Common Myna Acridotheres tristis may act as competitors or nest predators (Safford 2001). If plans to build a road to Mt Karthala's crater are resurrected, exploitation and fragmentation of the forest, and the spread of exotic species, could be accelerated (Safford 2001).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix II. A protected area (national park, biosphere reserve or resource management area) on Mt Karthala has been suggested, but has not yet materialised (Louette and Stevens 1992, Safford 2001). Protected area planning was underway for the Karthala forests in 2012 (K. Green in litt. 2012).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Research the ecology of this species to aid conservation plans. Create a protected area on Mt Karthala to encompass the remaining native forest, and develop a land-use strategy (Louette and Stevens 1992, Safford 2001). Encourage locally-organised ecotourism as an alternative source of income for inhabitants of the Mt Karthala area (Safford 2001). Develop an environmental education programme on the island (Louette and Stevens 1992).

Citation: BirdLife International. 2017. Otus pauliani. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T22688694A118470970. . Downloaded on 25 May 2018.
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