eWestern Birds

The Quarterly Journal of Western Field Ornithologists

Vol. 51, No. 3
August 2020
Western Field Ornithologists

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Changes in the Status and Distribution of the Cinereous and Fulvous Owls in Mexico
Nathan Pieplow, Andrew Spencer, Carlos Sanchez, and Manuel Grosselet

ABSTRACT: Once widespread and apparently common in the mountains of mainland Mexico, to which it is endemic, the Cinereous Owl (Strix sartorii) seems to have declined precipitously. In 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2019 we searched for the Cinereous Owl in eight Mexican states where it had been reported previously. We detected it at only a single site, Rancho La Noria on Cerro San Juan, Nayarit. Our results suggest that the Cinereous Owl may have disappeared from much of its former range, and that the Fulvous Owl (Strix fulvescens) may now inhabit areas in Oaxaca formerly occupied by the Cinereous Owl, perhaps as a result of habitat alteration. The Cinereous Owl may qualify for recognition as vulnerable or endangered. Comprehensive surveys are urgently needed to establish its current status and distribution. Such surveys should also be used to determine the current distribution of the Fulvous Owl, and to investigate the reasons why it now occurs in areas formerly occupied by the Cinereous Owl.

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