Buteo socotraensis 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Accipitriformes Accipitridae

Scientific Name: Buteo socotraensis Porter & Kirwan, 2010
Common Name(s):
English Socotra Buzzard
Buteo rufinus BirdLife International (2004, 2008)
Taxonomic Source(s): Porter, R. F.; Kirwan, G. M. 2010. Studies of Socotran birds VI. The taxonomic status of the Socotra Buzzard. Bulletin of the British Ornithologists' Club 130(2): 116-131.
Identification information: 45 cm. Typical Old World Buteo species, which soars on wings raised in shallow 'V'; slightly smaller than 'Steppe' Buzzard Buteo buteo vulpinus (Porter and Aspinall 2010). Adult buffish-white below with fine brown streaking on the throat and heavier streaking on the breast, belly, flanks and thighs. Some birds have a white throat and upper breast. Underwing coverts are warm brown, streaked and chequered dark brown, most intensely on the greater coverts. It has a distinctive large brown carpal patch. Underside of tail dirty white, often with slight gingery hue. Uppertail pale greyish, narrowly barred. Outer primaries have pale bases above. Juvenile differs in having a warm buff suffusion to the breast, thighs and wing coverts, and less extensive brown streaking; also the greater coverts are coarsely streaked brown, creating a diffuse band extending to a narrow dark surround to the carpal patch. Upperwing coverts show orange-buff fringes to wing coverts; there is also an orange-buff suffusion to the cheeks, supercilium and nape. In flight, juveniles lack the pale panel at the base of the primaries. Similar spp Along with the above description, note that 'Steppe' Buzzard is very rare on Socotra (Porter and Kirwan 2010) Voice High mewing peeeoo (Porter and Aspinall 2010).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable D1 ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2016-10-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S. & Symes, A.
Contributor(s): Porter, R. & Saeed Suleiman, A.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Martin, R, Taylor, J., Symes, A., Ashpole, J
This species qualifies as Vulnerable because its population is estimated to be very small, although there is no evidence of a decline in the population, nor is there evidence of any serious and immediate threats, thus it is suspected to be stable.

Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species was recently described, having been first collected in 1899, and has been assigned to species rank (Porter and Kirwan 2010). It is endemic to the island of Socotra, Yemen. Surveys carried out between 1999 and 2008 suggest that the population numbers fewer than 250 pairs, thus there are probably fewer than 500 mature individuals. There are insufficient data available to establish whether the species's status or population have changed since the first ornithological visits to Socotra in the 1880s (Porter and Kirwan 2010), thus the population is assumed to be stable in the absence of any evidence for trends or significant threats.

Countries occurrence:
Additional data:
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO):NoEstimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:4300
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):UnknownExtreme 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):150
Upper elevation limit (metres):800
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Surveys carried out between 1999 and 2008 suggest that the population numbers fewer than 250 pairs (Porter and Suleiman 2014), thus there are probably fewer than 500 mature individuals. It is placed in the band 380-750 individuals in total, with a mature population likely numbering between 250-500.

Trend Justification:  The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or significant threats. However the species faces a number of threats including some capture for the falconry trade (Porter and Kirwan 2010), road construction, wood collection and overgrazing (A. Saeed Suleiman in litt. 2016).

Current Population Trend:Stable
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals:250-500Continuing decline of mature individuals:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations:NoPopulation severely fragmented:No
Continuing 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:The species is a resident of foothills and plateaux, usually where there are deep ravines, from sea-level to at least 1,370 m, but is most common at 150-800 m (Porter and Kirwan 2010). It is likely to require steep cliffs for nesting. Its diet almost certainly consists exclusively of reptiles, invertebrates and perhaps nestlings. Breeding takes place between September and May. Nests are constructed with twigs and located on a cliff-ledge or crevice, and are sometimes supported by vegetation. Recorded broods have usually numbered one to two nestlings, but one pair is recorded to have fledged three young (Porter and Kirwan 2010).

Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Unknown
Generation Length (years):9.8
Movement patterns:Not a Migrant

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Young birds are occasionally taken from nests in the mistaken belief that they can be sold into the falconry trade; however, it is not known whether this has a significant impact on the species (Porter and Kirwan 2010). The population may be limited by competition for nesting sites from other native cliff-nesting species, such as Egyptian Vulture Neophron percnopterus, Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus and Brown-necked Raven Corvus ruficollis (Porter and Kirwan 2010). The species's habitat is threatened by road construction, removal of trees and overgrazing (A. Saeed Suleiman in litt. 2016). Agricultural pesticides may also pose a threat (A. Saeed Suleiman in litt. 2016).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
Following a Zoning Plan by the government of Yemen in 2000, c.75% of the island is protected in national parks and nature reserves (Porter and Kirwan 2010). The species's habitats are thus in theory well protected; no additional targeted actions are known. Eleven out of 21 identified IBAs on the island of Socotra hold breeding adults of this species (Porter and Suleiman in press. 2016). The introduced House Crow Corvus splendens was successfully eradicated from Socotra in 2009 after its accidental introduction in 1994 (Suleiman and Taleb 2010). Further introductions of House Crow in 2015 were successfully eradicated (A. Saeed Suleiman in litt. 2016).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Carry out surveys to confirm the population size. Monitor population trends. Study the impacts of potential threats, especially the removal of young birds from nests. Discourage nest-raiding for the falconry trade (Porter and Kirwan 2010) through education campaigns. Enforce laws against the removal of biological material from the island, thereby reducing nest-raiding (Porter and Kirwan 2010). Ensure adequate management of existing protected areas on Socotra (Porter and Kirwan 2010). Ensure implementation of the zoning plan and enforce controls on the introduction of non-native species (A. Saeed Suleiman in litt. 2016).

Citation: BirdLife International. 2016. Buteo socotraensis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T22732235A95044893. . Downloaded on 24 May 2018.
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