Archived 2014 discussion: Mountain Imperial-pigeon (Ducula badia) is being split: list D. cuprea 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 are planning to publish a taxonomic 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 Lynx-BirdLife list will be based on the application of criteria for recognising species limits described by Tobias et al. (2010). The new list 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 2013 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 welcome comments on these initial assessments. Please note that there will be opportunities to comment and provide input on the potential/proposed taxonomic decisions themselves elsewhere on the BirdLife forums.

Mountain Imperial-pigeon Ducula badia is being split into D. badia and D. cuprea, following the application of criteria set out by Tobias et al. (2010).

Prior to this taxonomic change, D. badia (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.

D. cuprea occurs in the Western Ghats south from Goa, India, inhabiting primary and mature secondary forest to 2,000 m (del Hoyo et al. 1997, Gibbs et al. 2001, Rasmussen and Anderton 2012).

As reported in BirdLife factsheets for other species in the Western Ghats, an increasing human population has led to increased illegal encroachment into forests. Hydroelectric power development and road-building are causing reductions in forest cover in some areas. Between 1961 and 1988, 47% of evergreen/semi-evergreen forest was lost in the Kerala portion of the Western Ghats, as a result of clearance for plantations, cash-crops (e.g. tea), reservoirs and human settlements (del Hoyo et al. 2007). This apparently continued, with c.25% of forest cover lost within the range of Nilgiri Wood-pigeon Columba elphinstonii during the 20 years prior to 1997 (S. Somasundaram in litt.), and forest loss continues to date (L. Vijayan in litt. 2007). As with Nilgiri Wood-pigeon, hunting may be a threat in certain parts of the range of D. cuprea.

It is suggested that this species be listed as Near Threatened under criteria A2c+3c+4c, on the basis that it is suspected to be in moderately rapid population decline (approaching 30% over 20 years [estimate of three generations]), owing to on-going habitat loss, fragmentation and degradation.

D. badia (as defined following the taxonomic change, and incorporating all other forms) is widespread in the Himalayas and South-East Asia, and is likely to be listed as being of Least Concern, on the basis that it is not thought to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under any of the IUCN criteria.

Comments on these suggested categories and further information would be welcomed.

References:

del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A. and Sargatal, J. (1997) Handbook of the birds of the world, Vol 4: Sandgrouse to Cuckoos. Barcelona, Spain: Lynx Edicions.

del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A. and Christie, D. (2007) Handbook of the Birds of the World, vol. 13: Penduline-tits to Shrikes. Barcelona, Spain: Lynx Edicions.

Gibbs, D., Barnes, E. and Cox, J. (2001) Pigeons and doves: a guide to the pigeons and doves of the world. Robertsbridge, UK: Pica Press.

Rasmussen, P.C. and Anderton, J.C. (2012) Birds of South Asia: The Ripley Guide. Second edition. Barcelona, Spain: Lynx Edicions.

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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3 Responses to Archived 2014 discussion: Mountain Imperial-pigeon (Ducula badia) is being split: list D. cuprea as Near Threatened?

  1. Praveen J says:

    Mountain (=Jerdon’s) Imperial Pigeon Ducula [badia] cuprea is times more common than Nilgiri Wood-Pigeon in undisturbed forests and occur also in disturbed forests. E.g. Travancore-Cochin Survey came up with an estimate of 12.3 birds / sq.km across the forests of Western Ghats south of Palakkad gap in Kerala. All forest birds had declined in Kerala between 1961 & 1988 – however, since the establishment of protected areas and increased protection of reserve forests, further declines has been largely arrested but for some species which have strong habitat preferences. It is doubtful that the the decline of this species is more than 30% in last 20 years (between 1994 and 2014) when the decline in forest cover has not been that steep.

  2. Joe Taylor says:

    Preliminary proposals

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

    D. badia as Least Concern

    D. cuprea as Least Concern

    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.

  3. 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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