Archived 2014 discussion: New Zealand Pigeon (Hemiphaga novaeseelandiae) is being split: list H. chathamensis as Vulnerable and H. novaeseelandiae 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.

New Zealand Pigeon Hemiphaga novaeseelandiae is being split into H. novaeseelandiae and H. chathamensis, following the application of criteria set out by Tobias et al. (2010).

Prior to this taxonomic change, H. novaeseelandiae (BirdLife species factsheet) was listed as Near Threatened under criteria A2cde+3cde+4cde, on the basis that it was suspected to be in moderately rapid population decline (approaching 30% over three generations (c.20 years), owing to the impacts of introduced predators, hunting and habitat degradation.

H. chathamensis is endemic to the Chatham Islands (e.g. del Hoyo et al. 1997, Gibbs et al. 2001, Dilks et al. 2010). It is suggested that it qualifies as Vulnerable under criterion D1, on the basis that the population is estimated to number fewer than 1,000 mature individuals (Dilks et al. 2010; a total population of more than 600 individuals was estimated in 2009) and to be increasing thanks to conservation actions.

H. novaeseelandiae (as defined following the taxonomic change) occurs across much of New Zealand (including North Island, South Island, and many of their satellite islands), where it inhabits native forest and many modified habitats (del Hoyo et al. 1997, Gibbs et al. 2001). It may qualify as Near Threatened under criteria A2cde+3cde+4cde, on the basis that it could be in moderately rapid population decline (approaching 30% over three generations [c.20 years]), owing to the impacts of introduced predators, hunting and habitat degradation.

Comments are invited 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.

Dilks, P. J., Powlesland, R. G., Adams, L. K. and Flux, I. A. (2010) Changes in abundance of parea (Chatham Islands pigeon, Hemiphaga chathamensis), 1994-2009. Notornis 57: 156-161.

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

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: New Zealand Pigeon (Hemiphaga novaeseelandiae) is being split: list H. chathamensis as Vulnerable and H. novaeseelandiae as Near Threatened?

  1. Joe Taylor says:

    Comments received from Dr Tony Beauchamp on 15 July 2013:

    Hemiphaga novaeseelandiae, the New Zealand Pigeon (kereru, kukupa) has suffered two substantial large scale (whole of Northland, Auckland and some offshore islands (Kawau Is is monitored) in the past 10 years. The reasons for these mortalities has not been established by necropsy and appears to be associated with intestial disintergration. There have been two droughts in Northland 2010-11 and 2012-13 and a very wet summer 2011-12. Some taraire (a tree that has an important fruit) are showing poor recovery after the last drought and are unlikely to produce fruit this year. In addition there has been continuing spread of guava moth in northern New Zealand and the potential for myrtle rust to arrive here.

    These impacts are in addition to the criteria you mention as impacts on pigeon. I still consider there is a potential for widespread problems with this species.

  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:

    H. novaeseelandiae as Near Threatened under criteria A2cde+3cde+4cde

    H. chathamensis as Vulnerable under criterion D

    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.

Comments are closed.