Discovered on the brink of extinction: A new species of Pygmy-Owl (Strigidae: Glaucidium) from Atlantic Forest of northeastern Brazil

José Maria Cardoso Da Silva, Galileu Coelho, Luiz Pedreira Gonzaga

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Glaucidium mooreorum sp. nov. (Pernambuco Pygmy-Owl) is described based on two study skins (Ornithological Collection of the Universidade Federal de Pernambuco No. 1030 [holotype] and No. 1017) from the Reserva Biológica de Saltinho (8o44'S, 35o11'W, elevation 140 m), Rio Formoso, Pernambuco, Brazil. This new species is only known from tall second-growth forests at two lowland ( < 150 m) localities in the state of Pernambuco, being possibly related to the Least Pygmy-Owl (G. minutissimum) species complex. Glaucidium mooreorum sp. nov. differs from the two geographically closest species (G. hardyi, from Amazonia, and G. minutissimum from southeastern Brazil) of this complex by plumage coloration, morphometric data, and vocalization. The region in which G. mooreorum sp. nov. was found is a quite distinctive area of endemism (Pernambuco Center) for birds and other groups of organisms in South America. From a historical viewpoint, the avifauna of this area is composed of two distinct elements, as its endemic taxa have their closest relatives either in Amazonia or in the Atlantic Forest south of the São Francisco River. The new species is apparently on the brink of extinction and we present evidence to rank it as "critically endangered". A bioregional planning involving forest restoration in critical areas as well as the establishment of ecological corridors to connect the few remaining large forest fragments is suggested as the best strategy to rescue the unique biota of the Pernambuco Center from extinction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)123-130
Number of pages8
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 1 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Atlantic forest
  • Biogeography
  • Conservation
  • Glaucidium
  • Strigidae
  • Taxonomy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology


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