Overview

Distribution

Range Description

Circus macrosceles is confined to the Comoro Islands and Madagascar. It has not been seen recently on Mayotte (to France) (Safford 2001). The species has a broad distribution stretching c.1,000 km from north to south on Madagascar, but occurs at very low densities; surveys in 2005-2006 of 71 % of the potential harrier habitat on the island recorded a total of 80 individuals (Ren de Roland et al. 2009). The population on Comoros (Grande Comore, Moheli and Anjouan: three separate subpopulations), where its habitat is nearly totally destroyed, is estimated at no more than 50 mature individuals (R. Thorstrom and L.-A. Ren de Roland in litt. 2007). The total population is estimated to be somewhere in the range 250-500 mature individuals. The Bealanana and Ankozobe regions in Madagascar are particularly important for the species (Ren de Roland et al. 2009). It is suspected to be declining, but population trends have not yet been accurately quantified.

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Range

Madagascar and Comoro Islands.
  • Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2014. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: Version 6.9. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/

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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
In Madagascar, it is primarily associated with wetlands, hunting around the periphery of vegetation-fringed lakes, marshes, coastal wetlands and rice-paddies, as well as over savanna grasslands (Langrand 1990), including those that are very degraded(R. Safford in litt. 1999). On the Comoros, it uses a variety of open and forested habitats in drier areas. It feeds on small vertebrates (including birds) and insects (Langrand 1990, Morris and Hawkins 1998). It nests in low vegetation or on the ground in marshes (Morris and Hawkins 1998, Ren de Roland et al. 2004, 2009). Breeding has been recorded as starting in late August and September, during the middle of the dry season (Ren de Roland et al. 2004). The incubation period has been observed to be 32-34 days, and nestlings fledge at 42-45 days of age at the start of the rainy season. The species reproduces at a relatively low rate, with mean clutch size recorded as 2.9 eggs, average productivity recorded as 0.9 young fledged per breeding attempt, and three quarters of nests being successful. The diet is comprised of insects, snakes, birds, lizards, rodents and domestic chickens (Ren de Roland et al. 2004).


Systems
  • Terrestrial
  • Freshwater
  • Marine
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
VU
Vulnerable

Red List Criteria
C2a(i);D1

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2012

Assessor/s
BirdLife International

Reviewer/s
Taylor, J. & Butchart, S.

Contributor/s
Hawkins, F., Rabarisoa, R., Rene de Roland, L., Safford, R. & Thorstrom, R.

Justification
This species qualifies as Vulnerable as it has a very small population which is likely to be declining owing to a variety of threats, principally habitat loss and degradation, and persecution by humans. Recent surveys suggest that the species is rarer than previously thought, and confirmation of these lower population estimates or further elucidation of the subpopulation structure may lead to the species being uplisted to a higher threat category.


History
  • Vulnerable (VU)
  • Vulnerable (VU)
  • Vulnerable (VU)
  • Vulnerable (VU)
  • Not Recognized (NR)
  • Not Recognized (NR)
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