Henicopernis infuscatus 


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Accipitriformes Accipitridae

Scientific Name: Henicopernis infuscatus
Species Authority: Gurney, 1882
Common Name(s):
English Black Honey-buzzard, New Britain Honey-buzzard, Black Honey Buzzard
Spanish Abejero Negro
Henicopernis infuscata infuscata Collar and Andrew (1988)
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: 50 cm. Large, heavily barred, forest raptor. Almost black with conspicuous white bands on flight and tail feathers. Usually seen in flight when long tail and long wings with bulging secondaries and broad wing-tips are distinctive. Similar spp. Pacific Baza Aviceda subcristata is smaller and much paler. Voice Piped series of c.12 accelerating, upslurred notes. Hints Usually seen from vantage points overlooking hill or montane forest.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable A2cd+3cd+4cd;C1+2a(ii) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2012
Date Assessed: 2012-05-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Symes, A. & Butchart, S.
Contributor(s): Beehler, B., Bishop, K., Dutson, G., Finch, D., Gregory, P., Pilgrim, J. & Wilkinson, R.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Derhé, M., Dutson, G., Mahood, S., O'Brien, A., Stattersfield, A.
This species is considered Vulnerable on the basis of a small estimated population which is suspected to be declining rapidly through rampant lowland forest loss, owing primarily to conversion to oil palm. However, basic biological data on the species, and an assessment of its tolerance of logged forest, is urgently needed to further inform this assessment.

Previously published Red List assessments:
2008 Vulnerable (VU)
2004 Vulnerable (VU)
2000 Vulnerable (VU)
1994 Lower Risk/near threatened (LR/nt)
1988 Threatened (T)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Henicopernis infuscatus is a little-known endemic of New Britain (including Lolobau) in Papua New Guinea. There are only c.30 recent records, all of singles or pairs (Coates 1985, Clay 1994, K. D. Bishop in litt. 1994, B. Finch in litt. 1994, Hornbuckle 1999a, J. Pilgrim in litt. 1999). As a large raptor, it is believed to occur at low population densities and it appears to be much less common than the allospecific New Guinea Long-tailed Buzzard H. longicauda (B. Finch in litt. 1994, K. D. Bishop in litt. 1994, G. Dutson pers. obs. 1997-1998, P. Gregory in litt. 1999). However, it is an inconspicuous forest species which is probably widespread and is likely to be very under-recorded (G. Dutson pers. obs. 1997-1998, Dutson 2011).

Countries occurrence:
Papua New Guinea
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO): Yes
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO): No
Estimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2: 35500
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO): Yes
Extreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO): No
Number of Locations: 11-100
Continuing decline in number of locations: Yes
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations: No
Upper elevation limit (metres): 1300
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: The population is estimated to number 10,000-19,999 individuals based on an assessment of known records, descriptions of abundance and range size (Buchanan et al. 2008, Dutson in litt. 2012). This is consistent with recorded population density estimates for congeners or close relatives with a similar body size, and the fact that only a proportion of the estimated Extent of Occurrence is likely to be occupied. This equates to 6,667-13,333 mature individuals, rounded here to 6,000-15,000 mature individuals.

Trend Justification:  A rapid rate of decline is estimated from rate of forest loss within altitudinal range, which itself was estimated using remote sensing by Buchanan et al. (2008). This is given at 12.5% between 1990 and 2000, or 37.4% over three generations.
Current Population Trend: Decreasing
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals: 6000-15000 Continuing decline of mature individuals: Yes
Extreme fluctuations: No Population severely fragmented: No
No. of subpopulations: 1 Continuing decline in subpopulations: Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations: No All individuals in one subpopulation: Yes
No. of individuals in largest subpopulation: 100

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: It is usually recorded gliding over primary hill forest to a maximum of 1,300 m (K. D. Bishop in litt. 1994). There are few records from logged or otherwise degraded forest, but its habitat requirements are poorly known (K. D. Bishop in litt. 1994, Clay 1994, B. Finch in litt. 1994). Its feeding ecology may be similar to that of H. longicauda which hunts above or within the canopy for arthropods, lizards, birds and birds' eggs (Coates 1985).

Systems: Terrestrial
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat: Yes
Generation Length (years): 10
Movement patterns: Not a Migrant

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Nearly all lowland and hill forests on gentle gradients on New Britain have been logged or are under logging concessions, and large areas have been subsequently converted to oil-palm plantations (K. D. Bishop in litt. 1994, G. Dutson pers. obs. 1997-1998, P. Gregory in litt. 1999, Buchanan et al. 2008). However, much of this species's habitat is on steep slopes and montane forest which is not suitable for logging (Clay 1994, G. Dutson pers. obs. 1997-1998). These striking birds are likely to be shot opportunistically as trophies and for meat (K. D. Bishop in litt. 1994). Hunting has rendered H. longicauda scarce in some areas of New Guinea (Coates 1985).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix II. No conservation measures are known.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Determine best survey techniques. Survey status in logged forest. Employ local hunters to find nests for intensive observation. Assess levels of hunting through interviewing local hunters. Interview local villagers about population trends. Map remaining forest and logging concessions across New Britain. Lobby for a moratorium on forest clearance for oil-palm plantations. Encourage creation of community-run sustainable logging rather than commercial logging. Encourage creation of large wildlife management areas on New Britain. Address hunting through public awareness discussions.

Citation: BirdLife International. 2012. Henicopernis infuscatus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2012: e.T22694980A38252719. . Downloaded on 26 November 2015.
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