Micrastur plumbeus 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Falconiformes Falconidae

Scientific Name: Micrastur plumbeus Sclater, 1918
Common Name(s):
English Plumbeous Forest-falcon, Plumbeous Forest Falcon, Plumbeous Forest-Falcon
Spanish Halcón-montés Plomizo
Taxonomic Source(s): SACC. 2005 and updates. A classification of the bird species of South America. Available at: #
Identification information: 30-36 cm. Secretive and shy forest-falcon with single white tail-band. Adult has slaty grey upperparts and white underparts, finely barred blackish on breast. Blackish tail with broad, white central tail-band and narrow tail tip. Bright orange-red cere and legs. Pale brown iris. Immature similar with paler barring on underparts and dark brown iris. Similar spp. Barred Forest-falcon M. ruficollis has 2-3 tail-bands, yellowish cere and legs, and is proportionally longer tailed and shorter winged. Voice Song a single, lamenting bark repeated frequently, usually at dawn. Cackling alarm call (Jahn et al. 2002, Krabbe and Nilsson 2003).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable A2c+3c+4c ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2016-10-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S. & Symes, A.
Contributor(s): Berg, K., Coopmans, P., Gomez, N., Jahn, O., Krabbe, N., Mena-Valenzuela, P., Salaman, P. & Strewe, R.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Benstead, P., Isherwood, I., Jahn, O., Sharpe, C.J., Stuart, T., Symes, A.
This species is classified as Vulnerable because its population is suspected to be small and rapidly declining owing to habitat loss.

Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Micrastur plumbeus is restricted to the Pacific slope and lowlands in south-west Colombia (Chocó, Valle de Cauca, Cauca and Nariño) and north-west Ecuador (Esmeraldas and Pichincha). It was not recorded in Colombia in 1959-1992 but, since then, two sites in Valle de Cauca and four sites in Nariño have been discovered (Wege and Long 1995, N. Gomez in litt. 1999, P. G. W. Salaman in litt. 1999, 2000, R. Strewe in litt. 1999), including four pairs studied in the c.20 km2 Río Ñambi Community Nature Reserve (P. G. W. Salaman in litt. 1999, 2000). In Ecuador, from 1959-1998 there were only single records from three sites (K. S. Berg in litt. 1999N. Krabbe in litt. 1999), but the number of known locations has been increasing considerably in recent years, and now includes at least seven sites in Esmeraldas (K. S. Berg in litt. 1999, O. Jahn in litt. 2007, P. Mena Valenzuela in litt. 2007, Jahn in press a) and two sites in Pichincha (N. Krabbe in litt. 1999, Jahn et al. 2002, Krabbe and Nilsson 2003). It is described as rare (Hilty and Brown 1986), but is likely overlooked.

Countries occurrence:
Colombia; Ecuador
Additional data:
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):Yes
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO):NoEstimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:115000
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):YesExtreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO):No
Number of Locations:11-100Continuing decline in number of locations:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations:NoLower elevation limit (metres):500
Upper elevation limit (metres):1500
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Rare and local. In its ideal habitat, continuous primary wet premontane forest, the species has an estimated population density of about 4 adults / km2, calculated on the basis of extensive visual and auditory transect-mapping samples in Esmeraldas. However, it is much rarer in the lowlands and disturbed habitat. Based on this density data, and the species's Extent of Occurrence, the population is estimated to number 4,960-49,600 individuals. It is precautionarily placed in the band 10,000-19,999 individuals, equivalent to 6,667-13,333 mature individuals, rounded here to 6,000-15,000 mature individuals (Jahn in litt. 2007, P. Mena Valenzuela in litt. 2007).

Trend Justification:  A rapid and on-going population decline is suspected on the basis of accelerating habitat loss over the period of three generations.
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals:6000-15000Continuing decline of mature individuals:Yes
Extreme fluctuations:NoPopulation severely fragmented:No
No. of subpopulations:2-100Continuing decline in subpopulations:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations:NoAll individuals in one subpopulation:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:It inhabits humid and wet, lowland, foothill and premontane forest to 1,500 m, and is dependent on undisturbed closed-canopy habitat (K. S. Berg in litt. 1999, P. G. W. Salaman in litt. 1999, 2000). It preys largely on small, ground-dwelling animals, notably Anolis lizards (P. G. W. Salaman in litt. 1999, 2000). It has a relatively small home range during the breeding season (March-August) (P. G. W. Salaman in litt. 1999, 2000). Nests are placed in tree-cavities (P. G. W. Salaman in litt. 1999, 2000).

Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Yes
Generation Length (years):5-5
Movement patterns:Not a Migrant

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The Chocó region has long been a source of timber, but logging has intensified since the mid-1970s (WWF and IUCN 1994-1997). By 1996, in western Ecuador the remnant cover of evergreen lowland and premontane forests was only 18% and 40% respectively (Sierra 1999). In Esmeraldas, annual deforestation rates in the lowlands (<300m) were 3.8% and accumulated loss of primary forest >38% during the last decade (Cárdenas 2007). During the same period, the cover of primary premontane forest (300-1300m) was reduced by 7% (Cárdenas 2007). During the same period, the cover of primary premontane forest (300-1300m) was reduced by 7% (Cárdenas 2007). Infrastructural improvement, particularly the rapid expansion of the road network, in the region has led to logging, hunting, small-scale agriculture, illegal coca plantations and gold mining in formerly pristine areas (Salaman 1994, Wege and Long 1995, WWF and IUCN 1994-1997, Salaman and Stiles 1996), and already affects some key protected areas (Jahn in press a, O. Jahn in litt. 2007, P. Mena Valenzuela in litt. 2007). There is intensive agricultural development, especially oil-palm and banana plantations, and cattle-farming (WWF and IUCN 1994-1997, P. Coopmans in litt. 1998, Bowen-Jones et al. 1999, Sharpe 1999, P. G. W. Salaman in litt. 1999, 2000). New legislation and the transfer of land rights to local communities has been exploited by large businesses, for whom it has become cheap and easy to buy land (Bowen-Jones et al. 1999, P. G. W. Salaman in litt. 1999, 2000). International investment in the region has been lacking in concern for the environment (P. G. W. Salaman in litt. 1999, 2000). The combination of these factors has resulted in a high and increasing rate of deforestation, particularly in Ecuador, Nariño and along new roads (Salaman 1994, Salaman and Stiles 1996, P. G. W. Salaman in litt. 1999, 2000).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix II. It occurs in Los Farallones de Cali National Park, which could hold a significant population, Río Ñambi and El Pangan Nature Reserves (Colombia) (R. Strewe in litt. 1999), (Wege and Long 1995); and Cotacachi-Cayapas and Mache-Chindul ecological reserves, Jatun Sacha Bilsa Reserve, Awacachi Corridor, Gran Reserva Chachi, Milpe Reserve and probably also in the Canandé Reserve (Ecuador) (K. S. Berg in litt. 1999), (Jahn et al. 2002, Krabbe and Nilsson 2003, O. Jahn in litt. 2007, P. Mena Valenzuela in litt. 2007).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Survey less well-known areas, notably Los Farallones de Cali National Park (Wege and Long 1995). Design and implement an action plan for the species and its habitat (P. G. W. Salaman in litt. 1999, 2000). Designate the Awá Reserve, Cotacachi-Cayapas Ecological Reserve, Awacachi Corridor, Gran Reserva Chachi, and Canandé Reserve, including the Río Santiago, Cayapas, Ónzole, and Hoja Blanca drainages, as a biosphere reserve (O. Jahn in litt. 2007, P. Mena Valenzuela in litt. 2007, Jahn in press a). Sustainably manage the buffer zone to the Awá Ethnic Reserve and Cotacachi-Cayapas Ecological Reserve (O. Jahn in litt. 2007, P. Mena Valenzuela in litt. 2007). Implement population monitoring programs (O. Jahn in litt. 2007). Consolidate protection of the Mache-Chindul and Cotacachi-Cayapas ecological reserves through law enforcement against illegal logging, hunting and colonisation inside the reserves and sustainable management projects in their buffer zones (O. Jahn in litt. 2007).

Citation: BirdLife International. 2016. Micrastur plumbeus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T22696275A93553190. . Downloaded on 18 June 2018.
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