This is part of a consultation on the Red List implications of extensive changes to BirdLife’s taxonomy for non-passerines
Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International will soon publish the HBW-BirdLife Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World, building off the Handbook of the Birds of the World series, and BirdLife’s annually updated taxonomic checklist.
The new Checklist will be based on the application of criteria for recognising species limits described by Tobias et al. (2010). Full details of the specific scores and the basis of these for each new taxonomic revision will be provided in the Checklist.
Following publication, an open and transparent mechanism will be established to allow people to comment on the taxonomic revisions or suggest new ones, and provide new information of relevance in order to inform regular updates. We are also actively seeking input via a discussion topic here regarding some potential taxonomic revisions that currently lack sufficient information.
The new Checklist will form the taxonomic basis of BirdLife’s assessments of the status of the world’s birds for the IUCN Red List. The taxonomic changes that will appear in volume 1 of the checklist (for non-passerines) will begin to be incorporated into the 2014 Red List update, with the remainder, and those for passerines (which will appear in volume 2 of the checklist), to be incorporated into subsequent Red List updates.
Preliminary Red List assessments have been carried out for the newly split or lumped taxa. We are now requesting comments and feedback on these preliminary assessments.
Greater Flameback Chrysocolaptes lucidus is being split into C. lucidus, C. guttacristatus, C. stricklandi, C. strictus, C. haematribon, C. erythrocephalus and C. xanthocephalus, following the application by Collar (2011) of criteria set out by Tobias et al. (2010).
Prior to this taxonomic change, C. lucidus (BirdLife species factsheet) was listed as being of Least Concern, on the basis that it was not thought to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under any of the IUCN criteria.
The pre-split species is characterised as preferring forested habitats, generally from the lowlands to montane elevations, commonly occurring in evergreen forest and open deciduous woodland, as well as secondary forest, forest edge, riparian woodland, old plantations, trees near cultivation and human settlements, and in mangroves, being virtually restricted to mangroves in the Thai-Malay Peninsula, Sumatra and Borneo (Winkler et al. 1995).
C. strictus (incorporating kangeanensis) appears to be known only from eastern Java and Bali (Winkler et al. 1995); however, Collar (2011) implies that it is known from much of Java except the north-west, where chersonesus (here incorporated in C. guttacristatus) is present. There are apparently few recent records of C. strictus (Winkler et al. 1995), although Baluran National Park seems to be an important site for the species (e.g. Robson 2008, Mizuka 2012). Habitat use characterised for the pre-split species suggests fairly high tolerance of habitat modification; however, surveys on Java provide evidence that at least one of the Javan taxa in the C. lucidus complex is amongst those lowland forest species on the island that are most susceptible to fragmentation (Lambert and Collar 2002, citing data collected by B. van Balen).
This species could thus qualify as Vulnerable under criteria A2c+4c;C2a(ii), on the basis that given its scarcity it may have a small population, perhaps including fewer than 10,000 mature individuals, precautionarily assumed to form a single subpopulation, that could have undergone a rapid population decline (30-49%) over the past 15 years (estimate of three generations), owing to on-going habitat loss and degradation. It may also qualify as Vulnerable under criterion B1ab(ii,iii,v), if it is thought to occur at fewer than 11 locations or if suitable habitat is considered severely fragmented (over 50% in patches too small to support viable populations), as the species has a small range (assuming it is extant only in eastern Java and Bali), with an Extent of Occurrence estimated at only 19,200 km2.
C. xanthocephalus occurs on Negros, Guimaras, Panay, Masbate and Ticao in the Philippines (Winkler et al. 1995, Collar 2011). Deforestation has been rapid and extensive within this species’s range, thus it may be appropriate to list it as Near Threatened under criteria A2c+3c+4c, as it could be in moderately rapid population decline (approaching 30% over 15 years), owing to on-going habitat loss and degradation. The rate of decline may not be more rapid than this if the species tolerates substantial habitat modification.
C. haematribon is found on Luzon, Polillo, Marinduque and Cataduanes in the Philippines (Collar 2011).
C. lucidus (as defined following the taxonomic change, and incorporating rufopunctatus and montanus) is found on Mindanao, Samar, Biliran, Leyte, Calicoan, Bohol, Panaon, Basilan and Samal in the Philippines (Collar 2011).
C. erythrocephalus is found on Balabac, Palawan and the Calamian group in the Philippines.
C. stricklandi is endemic to Sri Lanka.
C. guttacristatus (incorporating socialis, chersonesus and andrewsi) is very widespread, occurring along the west coast of India, eastern India and the Himalayas, to southern China, continental South-East Asia (including the Thai-Malay Peninsula), Sumatra, coastal north-western Java and north-eastern Borneo (Collar 2011).
C. lucidus, C. haematribon, C. erythrocephalus, C. stricklandi and C. guttacristatus are thought likely to be listed as being of Least Concern, on the basis that they are not thought to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under any of the IUCN criteria. However, it is noted that they may all be in decline owing to the loss and alteration of habitats, particularly C. lucidus, C. haematribon and C. erythrocephalus, as they are thought to have experienced rapid and extensive deforestation within their fairly restricted ranges and could be undergoing moderate population declines (<25% over 15 years).
Comments are invited on these suggested categories and further information is requested.
Collar, N. J. (2011) Species limits in some Philippine birds including the Greater Flameback Chrysocolaptes lucidus. Forktail 27: 29–38.
Lambert, F. R. and Collar, N. J. (2002) The future for Sundaic lowland forest birds: long-term effects of commercial logging and fragmentation. Forktail 18: 127–146.
Mizuka, Y. (2012) East Java – March 2012. The Wilderness Alternative: http://thewildernessalternative.com/2012/04/07/east-java-march-2012/
Robson, C. (2008) Java & Bali, 12 – 27 July 2008: Tour Report. Sunbird Tours: http://www.birdquest-tours.com/
Tobias, J. A., Seddon, N., Spottiswoode, C. N., Pilgrim, J. D., Fishpool, L. D. C. and Collar, N. J. (2010) Quantitative criteria for species delimitation. Ibis 152: 724–746.
Winkler, H., Christie, D. A. and Nurney, D. (1995) Woodpeckers: a guide to the woodpeckers, piculets and wrynecks of the world. Robertsbridge, UK: Pica Press.