Archived 2011-2012 topics: Edwards’s Pheasant (Lophura edwardsi): request for information

Edwards’s Pheasant Lophura edwardsi is endemic to the lowland forests of central Vietnam. Currently it is listed as Endangered under criteria B1a+b(ii,iii,iv,v); C2a(i) on the basis of its small (<5000 km2), severely fragmented range and population which are both continuing to decline, primarily owing to continuing lowland forest deterioration (BirdLife, 2011). In 1994 its population was estimated at <1000 individuals based on the area of remaining habitat (BirdLife International 2012). This estimate did not take hunting pressure into account.

Historically, it was recorded in four Provinces, Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, Quang Tri and Thua Thien Hue.  In the 1920s Delacour collected several specimens but between 1930 and 1996, the species was not recorded and assumed extinct (Le Trong Trai & Richardson 1999). After some unconfirmed records of Edwards’s Pheasant in Thua Thien Hue Province the species was rediscovered in 1996 near to the Phong My Commune, Thua Thien Hue, and also near the Huong Hiep Commune, Quang Tri (Le Trong Trai & Richardson, 1999). Since this re-discovery several other individuals were found in the Quang Tri and Thua Thien Hue Provinces. The last confirmed recent record was in 2000, where one male was confiscated from a hunter and held in captivity in the Hai Lang District Forest Protection Department, Quang Tri (BirdLife International, 2012). BirdLife International (2012) suggest that the species is confined to three nature reserves and one National Park; Dakrong, Quang Tri Province and the contiguous Phong Dein, Thua Thien Hue Province,  Bac Huong Hoa, Quang Tri Province, and the Bach Ma National Park (BirdLife International 2012). However, the species has never been confirmed in Bach Ma National Park (BirdLife International 2012), or in the Bac Huong Hoa Nature Reserve (Mahood & Tran Van Hung, 2008). All reports of the species from the area which now falls within the Dakrong/Phong Dien Nature Reserves were from hunters, most being pairs caught in snare-traps (described in Le Trong Trai & Richardson, 1999).

Since the year 2000, the species has not been recorded, apart from a possible record of a single female discovered near to the Hai Van Pass in 2009 (http://www.vietnambirding.com/Edwards-Pheasant-found-in-Central-Vietnam.aspx). In 2011, dedicated surveys for the species in two relatively undisturbed sites, Khe Nuoc Trong Watershed Protection Forest, Quang Binh and Dakrong Nature Reserve, Quang Tri were carried out by BirdLife Vietnam, World Pheasant Association and King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi, Bangkok, Thailand. Camera traps (83 locations in Khe Nuoc Trong and 28 in Dakrong) were baited with rice (unhusked) to increase the probability of detection.

In Dakrong Nature Reserve, 636 camera trap days failed to detect the species. Photographs of humans and associated domestic animals made up 66 % (n = 1157) of all pictures taken in Dakrong. In addition, there was evidence of human disturbance (logging) and hunting (snares and bird traps). Dakrong Nature Reserve has been reduced in extent from 40,526 hectares in 2002 to 37,640 hectares in 2010 (Le Trong Trai 2010). The area of forest that has been lost is mainly from the lowland areas of Dakrong (pers. obs), which are the areas that are thought to be utilised by the Edwards’s pheasant (BirdLife 2012). A similar situation has occurred in the Bach Ma National Park where between 1973 and 2001 45 % of the forest in the buffer zone was transformed (Yen et al., 2005). This buffer zone is typically at lower elevations. Widespread evidence of hunting and other forms of human disturbance suggest that the effective geographic range is much smaller than the area occupied by otherwise potentially suitable habitat.

In Khe Nuoc Trong Watershed Protection Forest a total of 2916 camera trap days failed to locate the species. There is no historical evidence to confirm the presence of L. edwardsi in this forest although local people believed that they had encountered it in the last 5 years. Other galliform species were photographed during the surveys including, Siamese fireback, Lophura diardi, red junglefowl, Gallus gallus and scaly-breasted partridge, Arborophila chloropus.

The failure of dedicated surveys to detect the species in these two sites and direct and indirect evidence of high level of human disturbance makes us concerned that the status of the species has declined. Since 1996 the species has only been recorded from confiscated hunted individuals (numbering 10 with a report of a further 8 – 10 un-hunted individuals being present in the Dakrong/Phong Dein Nature Reserve in 1996 -1998). The species has not been recorded within any other protected area, and has not been recorded anywhere since 2000. Data held by the World Pheasant Association are summarised thus:

1. 21 spatially referenced records from 1922 to 2000 (museum records and field reports).

2. Eames et al. 1992 concluded that all the sites the species had been recorded in historically (in the 1920s) had been deforested.

3. Post 1996 there are only four spatially referenced location points.

4. All these location points are reports from hunters and refer to the villages in which the Edwards’s were confiscated.

The species is currently suspected to be undergoing population declines of 30-49% in three generations: comments on the likely rate of decline over the past and future 15-year periods (three generations, based on an estimated generation length of 5 years, BirdLife International unpubl. data) would be welcome – sufficient evidence to suspect or project a reduction of >80% in 15 years would warrant reclassification as Critically Endangered under the A criterion.

The Extent of Occurrence (note that this does not equate to the area of suitable habitat, or the area occupied by the species, but rather measures the spread of extinction risk – see IUCN Categories and Criteria and Red List Guidelines for more details) has recently been estimated at 6,450 km² – thresholds for qualification under the B criterion (with further relevant conditions met) are <100 km² for Critically Endangered, <5,000 km² for Endangered, and <20,000 km² for Vulnerable.

The population estimate was placed in the band 250-999 individuals in 1994, with the largest subpopulation estimated to contain no more than 250 individuals. Given the suspected rate of decline owing to habitat loss and hunting since these estimates were made, it is possible that they are now in need of revision. If it is now reasonable to estimate that the total population is fewer than 250 mature individuals, with either a) fewer than 50 mature individuals in the largest subpopulation or b) 90-100% of individuals in a single subpopulation, and undergoing continuing declines, the species would be eligible for uplisting to Critically Endangered under the C criterion.

Furthermore, if there was sufficient evidence to indicate that the population numbered fewer than 50 mature individuals, the species would qualify as Critically Endangered under the D criterion.

Comments in particular on the likely current population size and subpopulation structure of the species, as specified above, together with any further information on levels of hunting pressure across remaining potentially suitable habitat, and indeed any recent unconfirmed reports of the species, would be very much welcomed. Insights into the intensity and distribution of hunting in its range would be especially welcome.

With apologies for the very short turnaround period, please send any comments and information on this species by January 31st if possible – preliminary decisions on status changes to feed into the 2012 Red List update will be made then, and there will then be a last opportunity to comment before final decisions are made in mid February. Forum discussions on species for which we have not had sufficient input to make a decision will be held open with the aim of soliciting further feedback in time for the 2013 update.

Literature cited

Birdlife International (2001). Threatened birds of Asia: the BirdLife International Red Data Book. Cambridge, UK: BirdLife International.

Birdlife International (2012). Species factsheet: Lophura edwardsi. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 09/01/2012.

Eames, J.C., Robson, C.R., Nguyen Cu and Truong Van La (1992) Forest Bird Surveys in Vietnam 1991. ICBP Study Report 51. Cambridge, U.K: International Council for Bird Preservation

Le Trong Trai (2010). Shrinking IBAs of central Vietnam. The Babbler, 35: 31-32

Le Trong Trai and W.J. Richardson (1999). A Feasibility Study for the Establishment of Phong Dien (Thua Thien Hue Province) and Dakrong (Quang Tri Province) Nature Reserves, Vietnam. BirdLife International Vietnam Programme, Hanoi

Mahood, S. P. and Tran Van Hung (2008). The Biodiversity of Bac Huong Hoa Nature Reserve, Quang Tri Province, Vietnam. BirdLife International Vietnam Programme, Hanoi, Vietnam

Yen, P., S. Ziegler, F. Huettmann and A.I. Onyeahialam (2005). Change Detection of Forest and Habitat Resources from 1973 to 2001 in Bach Ma National Park, Vietnam, Using Remote Sensing Imagery. International Forestry Review, 7: 1 – 8.

Related posts:

  1. Archived 2011-2012 topics: White-necklaced Partridge (Arborophila gingica): downlist to Near Threatened?
  2. Archived topics 2010-2011: Siamese Fireback (Lophura diardi): correctly listed as Near Threatened?
  3. Archived 2010-2011 topics: Pale-throated Wren-babbler (Spelaeornis kinneari): uplist to Vulnerable?
  4. Archived 2011-2012 topics: Rock Partridge (Alectoris graeca): uplist to Near Threatened?
  5. Archived 2011-2012 topics: Buff-browed Chachalaca (Ortalis superciliaris): downlist to Least Concern?
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10 Responses to Archived 2011-2012 topics: Edwards’s Pheasant (Lophura edwardsi): request for information

  1. John Pilgrim says:

    I fear there are simply insufficient data to assess the population size of this species, which has always been elusive in the field. I am sure it is declining owing to habitat loss/degradation and hunting. Hunting, particularly snaring, levels are extremely high through most accessible parts (i.e. including all lowlands) of Vietnam. Whether the species has declined below 250 individuals, however, I would not want to guess. I would expect that it does persist in more than one subpopulation, i.e. that the statement “90-100% of individuals in a single subpopulation” is incorrect. Each subpopulation may be very small, though whether less than 50 individuals is pure guesswork.

  2. A comment from Dang Gia Tung, Deputy Director of Hanoi Zoo:
    From the picture of the female pheasant rediscovered near to the Hai Van Pass in 2009 I think it is not an Edwards’s pheasant but a female Lophura nycthemera. With the recent result of the survey by WPA/BirdLife and the lack of information collected by the local Forestry Protection Department of Thua Thien Hue, I support uplisting of edwardsi back to Critically Endangered.

  3. Simon Mahood says:

    I believe that Vietnamese Pheasant is the key to determining the status of Edwards’s Pheasant. If you accept that VP is an inbred, runt EP then the appearance of VPs at the northern and southern edges of the distribution of EP from the 1960′s onwards indicates severe habitat fragmentation and small unconnected sub-populations.

    The Khe Net birds (VPs) were locally common, although the species was not recorded during the massive effort put in by Eames et al in the proceeding years. This indicates that micro-habitat might determine distribution of the there sympatric (syntopic?) Lophura in the Annamites. Since we know that Siamese Fireback prefers the drier end of the spectrum it is not a massive leap of faith to assume that the small dark EP prefers the most humid (indeed there is much anecdotal evidence and ecological parallels to suggest this). If this is the case then the most humid patches of the forest are where it is likely to be found. Unfortunately the level swampy lowlands are now one massive rice paddy and forest fragmentation means that remaining forest patches in the hills are likely to be drying out over time – rendering patches of formerly good EP habitat within them of little use. I am assuming here that the distribution of EP outside the level lowlands was always patchy and followed the distribution of the really humid spots which were embedded in a matrix of superficially suitable habitat, which seems a reasonable assumption.

    It is now and always will be impossible to determine how many sub-populations there are and what their size is without invoking a series of assumptions as I have done here. However, the failure of the WPA to find it in 2011, combined with the incidence and distribution of birds with the VP pheonotype plus trends in habitat representative of an assumed micro-habitat preference, all strongly indicate that the population is now tiny, highly fragmented, subject to inbreeding depression and likely to be decreasing. It would therefore be plausible that the total population is less than 250 and that the largest sub-population is no more than 50 individuals. I would certainly support uplisting to CR based on this theory and find this more plausible than the assertion that the population is larger than this – there is just no evidence to suggest that this is the case.

    A note on the 2009 female bird: at the time of this record I had a lengthy email discussion with a number of people who keep EP, plus other people much more knowledgeable than me on their ID, and the general consensus supported Phil’s view stated here – it is possibly an EP. A blood sample was taken, but it has never been analysed, this would be the only way to ID it with certainty.

  4. Peter Garson says:

    I find Simon Mahood’s arguments highly persuasive. It is especially constructive to include information on VP, given its likely relationship with EP: this further informs the debate amidst all the uncertainties. Uncertainties are all that we have in this case, unfortunately, and the question is how to react to them!

    We do not have the information we want in order to make a really robust decision here, but this is surely the case for many other species on the Red List. If we were being fully rigorous, EP (and many other Galliformes) would be classified as DD. But when debating the status of obvioulsly threatened species, the precautionary principle should be applied liberally: if not, we will surely lose some species through inattention.

    On the balance of probabilities (rather than ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ as in English Law in criminal jury trials), I believe EP should be uplisted to CR.

  5. Mr. Nguyen Dai Anh Tuan, the Vice Director of Forest Protection Department in Thua Thien Hue Province, sent me 4 photos of the female discovered near to the Hai Van Pass in 2009. I watched many Edwards females, died or living, when I was international studbookkeeper for this species and I reared Edwards’Ph. during almost 30 years. That’s why I’m sure this female is not an Edwards’s Pheasant. There are several features: the general colour too much pale, the grey crest (no crest in Edwards), the colour of the neck (fully grey in Edwards), the feathers of the breast and belly, whitish streaked (blackish vermiculated in Edwards).
    Unfortunately I’ve no photo for tail feathers and no measurement.
    This female could be either a Silver Pheasant (belli?) or a “Imperial” pheasant. I got similar phenotypes when I made artificial hybridization between Edwards and Silver Pheasants (there is a great variability). Of course it’s difficult to take a decision with only photos but I agree with Dang Gia Tung to say it’s not an Edwards female.
    I think the records of Edwards between 1996 and 2009 must be carefully checked because females of Edwards, Silver and “imperial” are similar. It might be sometime difficult to be sure the specimen is an Edwards for a not experienced watcher.

  6. In 2011, before BL & WPA conducting camera trapping for EP in Annamese Lowland Forest, we assume that suitable forest habitat for EP is broadleaved evergreen forest under 300 m a.s.l plus with slope less than 15 degrees. Six areas considered as potential sites: Ke Go, Khe Net, Dakrong, Phong Dien Nature reserves, Bach Ma National Park and Truong Son IBA. The last one located in the south of Phong Nha Ke Bang NP, Quang Binh Province and this IBA covers some State Forest Enterprises, Watershed Protection Forest (Quang Binh Province) and Bac Huong Hoa Nature Reserve (Quang Tri Province).
    Result from this analysis is as following:

    Total of 7,919 ha of Broadleaved Evergreen Forest: 0-300m, Slope <15o: Bach Ma (197), Phong Dien (536), Dakrong (168), Truong Son IBA (1,045), Khe Net (3,074) and Ke Go (2,898);

    Total of 1,992 ha of Broadleaved Evergreen Forest: 300-600m, Slope <15o: Bach Ma (229), Phong Dien (421), Dakrong (719), Truong Son IBA (298), Khe Net (76) and Ke Go (248);

    Of these areas, Ke Go and Khe Net known are home of Vietnamese Pheasant. In fact, two areas are currently supported large lowland forests that suitable for VP and other galliformes. In terms of biodiversity value, those sites are much degraded as resulted from hunting/snaring for many years by local people in Ha Tinh and Quang Bing Provinces. Those areas are known “empty forest”. The proof is that thousands of pictures captured from camera trapping by Small Carnivore Project for at least three years in Ke Go and Khe Net but no picture of Galliformes captured.
    From result of analysis above suitable habitat (below 300 m a.s.l) in Bach Ma and Dakrong is relative small area. Phong Dien and Truong Son seem more potential to find EP.
    From my experience on the ground, Truong Son IBA still support larger lowland forest habitat than result from analysis. Unfortunately, hunting pressure (snaring) is relatively very high and commonly seen in the forest by local communities, particularly high from December to March in the area. Consequently, some Gallifomes become rare and locally extinct in many places. For example, Crested Argus was now locally extinct from Ke Go, Khe Net and Dakrong Nature Reserves as result from hunting.
    Lastly, remaining suitable forest habitat for EP within its range distribution in Central Vietnam is too small and with current hunting pressure. I certainly support uplisting of EP back to Critically Endangered.

  7. View from Le Trong Trai, BirdLife International Vietnam Programme:
    In 2011, before BL & WPA conducting camera trapping for EP in Annamese Lowland Forest, we assume that suitable forest habitat for EP is broadleaved evergreen forest under 300 m a.s.l plus with slope less than 15 degrees. Six areas considered as potential sites: Ke Go, Khe Net, Dakrong, Phong Dien Nature reserves, Bach Ma National Park and Truong Son IBA. The last one located in the south of Phong Nha Ke Bang NP, Quang Binh Province and this IBA covers some State Forest Enterprises, Watershed Protection Forest (Quang Binh Province) and Bac Huong Hoa Nature Reserve (Quang Tri Province).
    Result from this analysis is as following:

    Total of 7,919 ha of Broadleaved Evergreen Forest: 0-300m, Slope <15o: Bach Ma (197), Phong Dien (536), Dakrong (168), Truong Son IBA (1,045), Khe Net (3,074) and Ke Go (2,898);

    Total of 1,992 ha of Broadleaved Evergreen Forest: 300-600m, Slope <15o: Bach Ma (229), Phong Dien (421), Dakrong (719), Truong Son IBA (298), Khe Net (76) and Ke Go (248);

    Of these areas, Ke Go and Khe Net known are home of Vietnamese Pheasant. In fact, two areas are currently supported large lowland forests that suitable for VP and other galliformes. In terms of biodiversity value, those sites are much degraded as resulted from hunting/snaring for many years by local people in Ha Tinh and Quang Bing Provinces. Those areas are known “empty forest”. The proof is that thousands of pictures captured from camera trapping by Small Carnivore Project for at least three years in Ke Go and Khe Net but no picture of Galliformes captured.
    From result of analysis above suitable habitat (below 300 m a.s.l) in Bach Ma and Dakrong is relative small area. Phong Dien and Truong Son seem more potential to find EP.
    From my experience on the ground, Truong Son IBA still support larger lowland forest habitat than result from analysis. Unfortunately, hunting pressure (snaring) is relatively very high and commonly seen in the forest by local communities, particularly high from December to March in the area. Consequently, some Gallifomes become rare and locally extinct in many places. For example, Crested Argus was now locally extinct from Ke Go, Khe Net and Dakrong Nature Reserves as result from hunting.
    In 2011, WPA and Birdlife were conducted camera trapping in Khe Nuoc Trong and Dakrong. Of these, Khe Nuoc Trong is a part of Truong Son IBA. At the moment, we failed to detect evidence of the occurrence of EP in two sites. Although other galliform species were photographed during the surveys including, Siamese fireback, Lophura diardi, red junglefowl, Gallus gallus and scaly-breasted partridge, Arborophila chloropus.
    Lastly, remaining suitable forest habitat for EP within its range distribution in Central Vietnam is too small and with current hunting pressure. I certainly support uplisting of EP back to Critically Endangered.

    Le Trong Trai,
    BirdLife International Vietnam Programme

    View from Mr. Khong Trung, Head of Forest Protection Department of Quang Tri Province:

    Quang Tri Province is home of EP. Based on historical records in the past and several confiscated EP that have been hunted in Quang Tri Province, we established two nature reserves, namely Dakrong (2001) and Bac Huong Hoa (2003) with aiming to conserve biodiversity in my province, in particular for endemic EP and its habitat (lowland evergreen forest).
    I can see that forest cover in my province is increasing but natural lowland evergreen forest was reducing as result from war (before 1975), clearing for agricultural land and logging for domestic use and commercial purpose. For last ten years, the biggest threat to biodiversity is hunting by guns and snaring for both domestic use and commercial purpose. In this case, I think that galliform species are fallen in the biggest risk. I can see also that no pheasant confiscated by our ranger since 2000 up to now. I am strongly to support this species uplisting to Critically Endangered.

    Khong Trung,
    Director of Forest Protection Department, Quang Tri Province, Vietnam.

    View from Mr. Pham Hong Thai, Head of Forest Protection Department (FPD) of Quang Binh Province

    Quang Binh Province is located within Annamise Lowland EBA. Recently, forest cover of Quang Binh is ranking in top of the country. We are in progress with establishment of Khe Nuoc Trong Nature Reserve. Based on series of survey reports by BirdLife and Vietnamese institutes, this area supports populations of threatened species, including reported EP. Those reports stated that Khe Nuoc Trong is potential area to conserve Galliform species, including EP. This nature reserve covers one third of Truong Son IBA. Together with established Bac Huong Hoa Nature Reserve (Quang Tri Province) in the south, both nature reserves will be protected large lowland forest block in the central Vietnam. The same with other sites in the central Vietnam, hunting pressure in this area is relative high. I am certainly support uplisting of EP back to Critically Endangered.

    Pham Hong Thai
    Director of Forest Protection Department, Quang Binh Province, Vietnam.

  8. Jack Tordoff says:

    My general approach to Red Listing would be to only change the status of a species based on information (as opposed to observed change in status) if there was, indeed, some new information. As far as I am able to ascertain, there is no new information on the species over the last decade, and therefore I would tend towards the conservative view of leaving the species’ status unchanged. Most of the discussion here is based on inferrence based on the available (scant) information, which ultimately comes down to different opinions. Regardless of the validity of the inferrences made or the positions taken, I would caution upon this being used to justify changes to the Red List.

    There are very few records of Lophura edwardsi (sensu stricto), whether historical or post-’rediscovery’. Certainly not enough to assess with any certainty the ecological requirements of the species (particularly on a small scale) or its niche separation from cogeners. Since 2000, I am not aware of any conclusive information about the species. The surveys that were undertaken by WPA in 2011 were of interest but I would caution about reading too much into the results. In the first place, the main survey effort was focused on a site (Khe Nuoc Trong) where L. edwardsi has never been confirmed to occur. In the second place, survey effort at the one site which does have confirmed records of the species (Dakrong) was insufficient and, as the authors of the report conclude, preliminary. I think that, until a full study is undertaken at Dakrong and, more importantly, extensively in Thua Thien Hue province, which, in my opinion, is the likeliest stronghold for the species, it is very difficult to draw any conclusions about change in status of the species over time.

    In conclusion, I think that the most sensible conclusion of this discussion would be that there is serious concern about the current status of L.edwardsi, more comprehensive camera trap studies are a priority, particularly across a number of sites in Thua Thien Hue that could hold sub-populations, and that, until the results of such studies are in, no change to the Red List status can be supported.

  9. Edwards’s Pheasant is Critically Endangered (CE) and may be extinct in the wild. I have been arguing for its up-listing to CE for a couple of years already. My view is clearly the prevailing view amongst others who have contributed to this blog. My case for believing it is CE is based on the following reasoning:

    Lack of taxonomic clarity leading to description of two invalid Lophura forms from central Vietnam causes continuing confusion in conservation circles. These invalid forms are evidence themselves of the extreme rarity of L. edwardsi, a point hitherto overlooked and must be used as evidence to build the case for up-listing to CE. There is also a total lack of evidence from the field of L. edwardsi despite great survey effort.

    Lack of taxonomic clarity
    The issue of the real number of endemic Lophura pheasants in the Annamese Lowlands of central Vietnam underpins the whole issue and total clarity is still lacking because of BLIs continued treatment of “L. hatinhensis” as a good species. In my view “L. hatinhensis” is a genetic mutant form of L. edwardsi. This is supported strongly by the morphological and distributional evidence. Male “L. hatinhensis” differs only from male L. edwardsi by having a variable number of randomly distributed white feathers in the tail, and sometimes elsewhere on the body. The females are indistinguishable as far as I can tell (despite brave past efforts to discern differences) . Hardly a strong basis upon which to describe a new species. “L. hatinhensis” has been recorded in Ha Tinh and Thua Tien – Hue Provinces, at either end of the range of L. edwardsi. And in the case of the latter, within the known geographic range of L. edwardsi. A single good record (verified by Le Trong Trai and I) in Tua Thien – Hue province strongly indicates a mutant origin (although does not rule out sympatry). The type description of “L. hatinhensis” was published in a book. As far as I am aware there is no peer reviewed type description published in a journal. Does the type description therefore meet an internationally accepted level of scientific rigour? Not in my view. It would not be publishable in any journal or magazine I subscribe to.

    Surely the evidence points to “L. hatinhensis” being a genetic mutant form of L. edwardsi. The mutation is occurring because of inbreeding depression in small, isolated populations of L. edwardsi which are a consequence of extensive deforestation and fragmentation within its range. (The male “L. hatinensis” in Thua Tien- Hue was observed with a flock of chickens and caught in the rafters of a house! The surrounding “forest” consisted of exotic pine and acacia! I know because I was there). So the existence of “L. hatinhensis” tells us that L. edwardsi is in extreme danger of extinction and has been for some considerable time.

    Moving on to consider L. imperialis, a taxon now considered invalid by BLI because of its hybrid origin. Why would L. edwardsi hybridise with L. nycthmera to produce L. imperialis under wild conditions? Surely this would only happen if there were insufficient L. edwardsi in the population for them to meet naturally? This behaviour is well documented in wild bird populations. Consider the behaviour of the last wild Spix Macaw for example. So again, the existence of L. imperialis should be a red flag for conservationists. The description of L. imperialis some 80 years ago tells us that L. edwardsi has been in grave trouble for the best part of a century already.

    Lack of field evidence
    There has been no reliable sighting of L. edwardsi in the wild since my own of a pair of “L.hatinhensis” way back in in early 1990s in Khe Net. Nothing. Nothing despite extensive field survey throughout the known range by experienced observers. In 2011 BLI and WPA mounted extensive camera trapping at the “best probable” sites within the known range and did not record the species because of very high trapping pressure of all terrestrial vertebrates at the visited sites. How Jack can say we should wait for new field evidence before considering a judgement is beyond me: we have it already, although the survey effort needs to be continued.

    Lastly a question for Jack: Do you agree that Edwards’s Pheasant and Green Peafowl should both be listed as Endangered?

  10. Although my interest in Edward’s pheasant is recent (I started to look into it while helping BLI and WPA preparing their 2011 camera trap survey) I agree that more work aiming better information gathering is need. However, I do not see any reason why such work can not be done after the status of the species has been upgraded to Critically Endangered as more an more indirect evidence suggest that this is its real status.

    I think we need to bear in mind that the lack of information is not only due to a lack of searching afford or inefficient survey method used but, unfortunately, also to a lack of Edward’s pheasant in the surveyed areas.

    In light of this I am in agreement with the first sentence of the comment poster by Jonathan Eams in this forum “… Critically Endangered (CE) and may be extinct in the wild”.

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