Green-backed Kingfisher (Actenoides monachus) is being split: list both A. monachus and A. capucinus as Near Threatened?

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.

Green-backed Kingfisher Actenoides monachus is being split into A. monachus and A. capucinus following the application of criteria set out by Tobias et al. (2010).

Prior to this taxonomic change, A. monachus (BirdLife species factsheet) was listed as Near Threatened under criteria A2c+3c+4c, on the basis that it was suspected to be undergoing a moderately rapid population decline (approaching 30% over three generations [c.20 years]) as a result of on-going habitat destruction within its range.

A. monachus (as defined following the taxonomic change) is found in northern and central Sulawesi, whilst A. capucinus is found in southern Sulawesi, where they inhabit dense primary and tall secondary forest in the lowlands and foothills (Fry and Fry 1999, del Hoyo et al. 2001).

Both of the newly-defined species are thought to be in decline owing to continued deforestation on Sulawesi. Miettinen et al. (2011) estimate the rate of forest loss on Sulawesi to be 10.8% between 2000 and 2010, thus it may be unlikely that the rate of population decline in these species approaches 30% over c.20 years. However, the rate of forest loss in the lowlands and foothills is likely to be higher than the overall rate, as montane forest is typically more secure, and these species may also be impacted by some forms of forest degradation.

Both species may warrant listing as Near Threatened under criteria A2c+3c+4c, if they are thought be undergoing moderately rapid population declines (approaching 30% over c.20 years), owing to on-going habitat loss and degradation.

Comments are invited and further information would be welcomed.


del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A. and Sargatal, J. (2001) Handbook of the birds of the world, Vol 6: Mousebirds to Hornbills. Barcelona, Spain: Lynx Edicions.

Fry, C. H. and Fry, K. (1999) Kingfishers, bee-eaters & rollers. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Miettinen, J., Chenghua Shi and Soo Chin Liew (2011) Deforestation rates in insular Southeast Asia between 2000 and 2010. Global Change Biology 17: 2261–2270.

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.

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2 Responses to Green-backed Kingfisher (Actenoides monachus) is being split: list both A. monachus and A. capucinus as Near Threatened?

  1. Joe Taylor says:

    Preliminary proposals

    Based on available information, our preliminary proposals for the 2014 Red List would be to treat:

    A. monachus as Near Threatened under criteria A2c+3c+4c

    A. capucinus as Near Threatened under criteria A2c+3c+4c

    There is now a period for further comments until the final deadline of 31 March, after which recommended categorisations will be put forward to IUCN.

    The final Red List categories will be published on the BirdLife and IUCN websites in mid-2014, following further checking of information relevant to the assessments by both BirdLife and IUCN.

  2. Andy Symes says:

    Recommended categorisations to be put forward to IUCN

    Following further review, there have been no changes to our preliminary proposals for the 2014 Red List status of these species.

    The final categorisations will be published later in 2014, following further checking of information relevant to the assessments by BirdLife and IUCN.

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