Least Boobook (Ninox sumbaensis)

Least Boobook (Ninox sumbaensis) also known as the Little Sumba boobook or Little Sumba hawk-owl, is a species of owl in the family Strigidae. It is endemic to the Indonesian island of Sumba. Its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests.

Ninox sumbaensis was formally described only recently, although the taxon has been known to ornithologists since the late 1980s (Olsen et al. 2002). It is currently very poorly known and has only been recorded from three localities on Sumba, Indonesia (Linsley et al. 1998, Olsen et al. 2002, Benstead and Benstead in prep.). Tracewski et al. (2016) estimated the maximum Area of Occupancy (calculated as the remaining tree area within the species’s range) to be c.159 km2, rounded here to 160 km2.

This species is very poorly known but it is thought to be uncommon given that it escaped detection for many years and there are few records available. It is placed in the band 10,000-19,999 mature individuals, equating to 15,000-29,999 individuals in total, rounded here to 15,000-30,000 individuals. This preliminary population estimate requires clarification.

It appears to be limited to small patches of primary, disturbed primary, secondary and degraded forest at 600-950 m on Sumba. Young offspring have been observed in November (Olsen et al. 2009). Survey work is required to ascertain the distribution and status of this poorly known owl. As a precaution, protect significant areas of suitable forest, in both strictly protected areas and community-led multiple use areas

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