Buteo socotraensis 


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Accipitriformes Accipitridae

Scientific Name: Buteo socotraensis
Species Authority: Porter & Kirwan, 2010
Common Name(s):
English Socotra Buzzard
Buteo rufinus BirdLife International (2004, 2008)
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.
Taxonomic Notes: Buteo buteo (Sibley and Monroe 1990, 1993) was split into B. buteo and B. bannermani by Hazevoet (1995) but Clouet and Wink (2000) and Hazevoet (1995) noted that bannermani has a close genetic affinity with B. rufinus: bannermanni and rufinus are thus currently treated as conspecific pending further study. A previously unnamed Buteo from Socotra (formerly included within B. rufinus by the BirdLife Taxonomic Working Group) has now been formally named Buteo socotraensis (Porter and Kirwan, 2010), and has been recognised as a species by the BTWG.

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: 2014
Date Assessed: 2012-06-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Martin, R, Taylor, J. & Symes, A.
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:
2012 Vulnerable (VU)
2011 Vulnerable (VU)
2010 Not Recognized (NR)
2008 Not Recognized (NR)
2004 Not Recognized (NR)
2000 Not Recognized (NR)
1994 Not Recognized (NR)
1988 Not Recognized (NR)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Buteo socotraensis 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:
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO): Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO): No
Estimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2: 3600
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO): Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO): No
Number of Locations: 11-100
Continuing decline in number of locations: Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations: No
Lower 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, 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.

Current Population Trend: Stable
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals: 250-500 Continuing decline of mature individuals: Unknown
Extreme fluctuations: No Population severely fragmented: No
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: 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).

Systems: Terrestrial
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).

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. The introduced House Crow Corvus splendens was successfully eradicated from Socotra in 2009 after its accidental introduction in 1994 (Suleiman and Taleb 2010).

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).

Citation: BirdLife International. 2014. Buteo socotraensis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2014: e.T22732235A62636360. . Downloaded on 31 May 2016.
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