Pauxi koepckeae 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Galliformes Cracidae

Scientific Name: Pauxi koepckeae Weske & Terborgh, 1971
Common Name(s):
English Sira Curassow
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. Volume 1: Non-passerines. Lynx Edicions BirdLife International, Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge, UK.
Taxonomic Notes: Pauxi unicornis and P. koepckeae (del Hoyo and Collar 2014) were previously lumped as P. unicornis following Sibley and Monroe (1990, 1993).
Identification information: 85-95 cm. Large, black cracid with long frontal casque. All-black, with white vent and tip to tail. Bright red bill and pale blue casque which is flattened against the head, and both shorter and rounder than in P. unicornis. P. koepckeae also has only a thin white tip to the tail. The legs are normally pale red but yellowish in the male in the breeding season. Female like male, but also has a rufous colour phase. Voice Song is a deep booming phrase of 3 to 4 notes repeated every 4 seconds, with the first note loudest. Alarm call is an explosive disyllabic k-sop. Hints Best located when booming during the main part of the breeding season (February/March).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Critically Endangered C2a(i,ii) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2016-10-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S. & Symes, A.
Contributor(s): Fjeldså, J., Gastañaga, M., Hennessey, A., Lloyd, H., MacLeod, R. & Maccormack, A.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Benstead, P., Keane, A., Sharpe, C J, Symes, A., Martin, R & Taylor, J.
This newly-split species qualifies as Critically Endangered because it appears to be confined to a single, tiny population which is declining very rapidly owing to hunting and habitat destruction.

Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Pauxi koepckeae is restricted to the Cerros del Sira in Huánuco, central Peru. Previously considered a subspecies of P. unicornis, this taxon had gone unrecorded since its description in 1969 but its continued presence was established by local knowledge surveys in 2003 and observations in 2005 (Gastañaga 2006). Surveys in 2006 and 2008 found the species at four locations, all located within 30 km of each other in the Cerros del Sira (Gastañaga et al. 2011). A density of 8.3 singing males per square kilometer was calculated, suspected to reflect an exploded lek of the species rather than the typical density throughout the suitable habitat given the very low encounter rates in all other surveys (Gastañaga et al. 2011). An estimate of less than one individual per square kilometer was considered to be the likely density within the identified range (Gastañaga et al. 2011). This is consistent with previous field surveys' very low encounter rate  and local reports suggest that it is very rare here (Mee et al. 2002, A. MacCormick in litt. 2004, R. MacLeod in litt. 2004). The total population for the species is estimated to be less than 400 individuals (Gastañaga in litt. 2007),with evidence that its numbers are declining (Gastañaga and Hennessey 2005). 

Countries occurrence:
Additional data:
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):Yes
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO):NoEstimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:550
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):YesExtreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO):No
Number of Locations:6-10Continuing decline in number of locations:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations:NoLower elevation limit (metres):1100
Upper elevation limit (metres):1450
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:A potential population of up to 400 individuals was estimated based on the assumption that the species might eventually be found throughout the Cerros del Sira at appropriate altitudes (Gastañaga in litt. 2007, Gastañaga et al. 2011). Local knowledge surveys and field visits since then suggests this is unlikely, so a population estimate well below 250 mature individuals seems appropriate (R. MacLeod and M. Gastañaga in litt. 2014).

Trend Justification:  Given the susceptibility of the species to hunting it is suspected to be declining by ≥50% over three generations.
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals:50-249Continuing decline of mature individuals:Yes
Extreme fluctuations:NoPopulation severely fragmented:No
No. of subpopulations:1Continuing 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:P. koepckeae inhabits cloud forest at altitudes of around 1,100-1,450 m and above, although in the dry season individuals have also occasionally been found somewhat lower (down to 950 m) along the upper edge adjacent montane forest. Its diet consists of fruit, seeds, soft plants, larvae and insects. Display songs seem to peak in February and March (R. MacLeod in litt. 2007, Gastañaga et al. 2011). In common with other cracids the species is likely to have a low reproductive rate (Banks 1998, Cox et al 1997, Renjifo 1997). Breeding males may engage in an 'exploded lek' display system during the peak of breeding season calling, possibly gathering in ridge top forest away from the noise interference of watercourses in the valleys below (Gastañaga et al. 2011). However this system has not been adequately shown for congeneric taxa, and the species may simply be patchily distributed within the ecologically diverse landscape they inhabit (del Hoyo & Motis 2004).

Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Yes
Generation Length (years):14.5
Movement patterns:Not a Migrant

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Continuing hunting by local communities is the single greatest threat to the species and is likely to be having a serious negative impact (Gastañaga 2006, Gastañaga et al. 2011). It was rediscovered due to reports from hunters, and there are reliable reports of a hunter trying to sell the species to local restaurants as bush meat in 2008 (R. MacLeod and M. Gastañaga in litt. 2014).
Although the species is legally protected there is no concerted effort to educate the local population as to the global importance of the species and no formal infrastructure in place to establish protection (Gastañaga et al. 2011).  Road-building and associated rural development have a negative impact and inhibit dispersal (Herzog and Kessler 1998, Fjeldså in litt. 1999). Subsistence agriculture threatens its habitat (R. MacLeod in litt. 2000), as does opening up the foothills to colonisation and hunting. Mining, oil exploration and illegal logging are potential future threats in El Sira as well as forest clearance by colonists.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation and research actions underway
The species' range is theoretically protected by the El Sira Communal Reserve, although hunting still takes place here (Gastañaga and Hennessey 2005, Gastañaga in litt. 2007, Graham 2009). Extensive surveys have been conducted in recent years but have met with little success in locating the species in many areas (Mee et al. 2002, R. MacLeod in litt. 2003, Hennessey 2004a, A. Maccormack in litt. 2004, R. MacLeod in litt. 2004). An education project to combat hunting and raise awareness was carried out in the Sira mountains in 2005 (Gastañaga 2005).

Conservation and research actions proposed
Continue working with communities around Cerros del Sira in conducting local knowledge surveys about the distribution of the species and in raising awareness of its unique status. Identify and implement measures that will measurably improve the livelihoods of the local indigenous communities in return for their essential assistance in conserving the species through a community enforced hunting ban. Conduct field studies of the ecology in order to estimate the size of the surviving population, determine its conservation requirements and vulnerability to human encroachment. Work with INRENA (the protected areas authority) to develop and implement a conservation management plan for the species and its habitat (MacLeod et al. 2006).

Citation: BirdLife International. 2016. Pauxi koepckeae. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T45090459A95141027. . Downloaded on 16 August 2018.
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