Megascops barbarus 


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Strigiformes Strigidae

Scientific Name: Megascops barbarus
Species Authority: (Sclater & Salvin, 1868)
Common Name(s):
English Bearded Screech-owl, Santa Barbara Screech-Owl, Bearded Screech-Owl, Bearded Screech Owl
Spanish Autillo Barbudo, Tecolote Barbudo
Otus barbarus Collar et al. (1994)
Otus barbarus BirdLife International (2000)
Otus barbarus BirdLife International (2004)
Otus barbarus Sibley and Monroe (1990, 1993)
Otus barbarus Stotz et al. (1996)
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.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable B1ab(i,ii,iii,v) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2013
Date Assessed: 2013-11-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S.
Contributor(s): Bubb, P., Eisermann, K. & Enríquez, P.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Benstead, P., Capper, D., Sharpe, C J, Taylor, J.
This species has been uplisted to Vulnerable because its range (extent of occurrence - EOO) has been more accurately calculated using new field data (Eisermann 2011); the bird is now known to have a small (9,780 km2) range, within which its pine-oak montane forest habitat is rapidly disappearing (Cayuela et al. 2006). As a consequence, its EOO, area of occupancy (AOO) and quality of habitat are inferred to be declining, and its habitat is now highly fragmented (Eisermann 2011). It is thus considered Vulnerable.

Previously published Red List assessments:
2012 Vulnerable (VU)
2008 Near Threatened (NT)
2004 Near Threatened (NT)
2000 Lower Risk/near threatened (LR/nt)
1994 Lower Risk/near threatened (LR/nt)
1988 Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Megascops barbarus is endemic to the highlands of Chiapas, south-east Mexico, and west Guatemala (Howell and Webb 1995a, del Hoyo et al. 1999).

Countries occurrence:
Guatemala; Mexico
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO): Yes
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO): No
Estimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2: 18400
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO): Yes
Extreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO): No
Continuing decline in number of locations: Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations: No
Lower elevation limit (metres): 1800
Upper elevation limit (metres): 2500
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Partners in Flight estimated the population to number fewer than 50,000 individuals (A. Panjabi in litt. 2008), thus it is placed in the band 20,000-49,999 individuals here.

Trend Justification:  The population is suspected to be in decline owing to ongoing habitat destruction. Montane forests in Chiapas have been reduced to less than 25% of their original area with an annual deforestation rate of at least 2.7% over the last 30 years (Cayuela et al. 2006).
Current Population Trend: Decreasing
Additional data:
Continuing decline of mature individuals: Yes
Extreme fluctuations: No Population severely fragmented: Yes
Continuing decline in subpopulations: Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations: No All individuals in one subpopulation: No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This species is found in montane evergreen and humid pine-oak forest at elevations of 1,800-2,500 m (Howell and Webb 1995a). In Guatemala is also occurs in ten year old pine plantations (Eisermann 2011). Its diet consists mainly of large insects, particularly beetles, which are captured in the understorey by a sit-and-wait strategy (Enríquez & Cheng 2008). Breeding likely takes place between March and June (Enríquez & Cheng 2008). The only known nest was found in June 2001 2.45 m above ground in a natural cavity of a large living oak Quercus laurina; inside was an adult red-morph female brooding a single grey-morph nestling estimated to be 3 weeks old (Enríquez & Cheng 2008). Birds moult in the rainy season, from July to October (Enríquez & Cheng 2008).

Systems: Terrestrial
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat: Yes
Generation Length (years): 7
Movement patterns: Not a Migrant

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Pine-oak forest is disappearing rapidly through logging for firewood and charcoal, agricultural expansion, urbanization and bark-beetle epidemics that are exacerbated by habitat degradation (Stattersfield et al. 1998, Ochoa-Gaona and González-Espinosa 2000). Civil war in Chiapas, Mexico, accelerated deforestation (P. J. Bubb in litt. 1997).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix II. No other targeted conservation action is known for this species.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Carry out surveys to assess the species's population size. Monitor population trends through regular surveys. Monitor rates of habitat loss and degradation. Study the species's ecology (del Hoyo et al. 1999). Protect suitable habitat. Future research should focus on the breeding ecology, life history strategies, demography, and population trends to evaluate the conservation status of this species; this work will be essential for a better understanding of how habitat degradation may be
affecting this species’ survival (Enríquez & Cheng 2008).

Citation: BirdLife International. 2013. Megascops barbarus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2013: e.T22688807A50402214. . Downloaded on 26 November 2015.
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