Rainbow Lorikeet (Trichoglossus haematodus) is being split: list T. rosenbergii as Vulnerable and both T. weberi and T. forsteni 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.

Rainbow Lorikeet Trichoglossus haematodus is being split into T. haematodus, T. rosenbergii, T. forsteni, T. capistratus, T. weberi, T. rubritorquis and T. moluccanus following the application of criteria set out by Tobias et al. (2010).

Prior to this taxonomic change, T. haematodus (BirdLife species factsheet) was listed as Least Concern on the basis that it was not thought to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under any of the IUCN criteria. This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence of less than 20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). Despite the fact that the population trend appeared to be negative, the decline was not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (at least a 30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size has not been quantified, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (fewer than 10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be at least 10% over ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). It should be noted that the pre-split species has been regarded as heavily traded, with trapping prevalent in some parts of its range (del Hoyo et al. 1997, Juniper and Parr 1998).

T. rosenbergii is endemic to Biak Island and may qualify as Vulnerable under criterion C2a(ii), on the basis that there are estimated to be fewer than 10,000 mature individuals, forming a single subpopulation, which is inferred to be in decline owing to trapping pressure.

T. forsteni (incorporating mitchelli, djampeanus and stresemanni) is found on the islands of Bali, Lombok, Sumbawa, Tanahjampea and Kalaotoa, and may be most appropriately listed as Near Threatened under criteria A2d+3d+4d, on the basis that capture for trade could be driving a moderately rapid population decline (approaching 30% over three generations [c.17 years]).

T. weberi is endemic to the island of Flores and may warrant listing as Near Threatened under criterion C2a(ii), on the basis that it has a moderately small population (approaching as few as 10,000 mature individuals), forming a single subpopulation, which is inferred to be in decline owing to trapping pressure.

T. haematodus (New Guinea and many satellite islands, New Britain, New Ireland, Bougainville and the Solomon Islands), T. capistratus (on Timor, and incorporating fortis on Sumba and flavotectus on Wetar and Romang), T. moluccanus (eastern Australia; incorporating septentrionalis) and T. rubritorquis (northern Australia west of the Gulf of Carpentaria) are all likely warrant listing as Least Concern, on the basis that they are not thought to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under any of the IUCN criteria.

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


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.

Juniper, T. and Parr, M. (1998) Parrots: a guide to the parrots of the world. Robertsbridge, UK: 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.

Related posts:

  1. Archived 2012-2013 topics: Ornate Lorikeet (Trichoglossus ornatus): request for information
  2. Archived 2010-2011 topics: Pohnpei Lorikeet (Trichoglossus rubiginosus): request for information
  3. Blue-rumped Parrot (Psittinus cyanurus) is being split: list P. abbotti as Vulnerable and P. cyanurus as Near Threatened?
  4. Silvery Kingfisher (Alcedo argentata) is being split and Indigo-banded Kingfisher (A. cyanopectus) is being split: list A. argentata and A. flumenicola as Vulnerable and A. nigrirostris as Near Threatened?
  5. Philippine Scops-owl (Otus megalotis) is being split: list O. nigrorum as Vulnerable and O. megalotis and O. everetti as Near Threatened?
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7 Responses to Rainbow Lorikeet (Trichoglossus haematodus) is being split: list T. rosenbergii as Vulnerable and both T. weberi and T. forsteni as Near Threatened?

  1. Guy Dutson says:

    I have been to Biak three times, including 20-25 June 2012. I have seen rosenbergii only once and suggest that it is uncommon and/or localised. I support the judgements that it has a population ,10,000 birds, in a single subpopulation and declining. However, i have seen no evidence of capture for the cagebird trade, have seen very few trapped Biak Red Lories, and suggest that ongoing but slow forest loss from subsistence agriculture and subsistence logging is likely to be a threat of at least similar impact.

  2. Joe Taylor says:

    Further input would be welcomed on whether the rate of decline in the population of T. forsteni is likely to be more rapid than suggested here, and whether there are any significant threats affecting T. capistratus.

  3. Rosenbergii has become very uncommon on the island of Biak. I lived in Biak for 4 months in 2007 and even then the numbers of birds encountered was very low.
    The last strong hold for this species is the remaining patches of good forests in Supiori. I don’t think that the number of the remaining individuals exceed 3 to 4 thousands I’m afraid.
    Garuda airline crew are still bringing lories and lorikeets from Biak to Java so something has to be done to stop that.

    • Are the other subspecies like Massena, Deplanchii, Flavicans,Caeruleiceps etc. still within the haemathodus group.

      What about the status of the Mitchellii.

      • Joe Taylor says:

        Dear Peter,

        Thank you for your post. I do apologise for the discussion topic not being clearer about the split.

        I confirm that massena, deplanchii, flavicans, caeruleiceps, nigrogularis, micropteryx and nesophilus are included in the haematodus part of the split.

        Form mitchelli is included with forsteni.

        Best wishes,


  4. 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:

    T. haematodus as Least Concern

    T. rosenbergii as Vulnerable under criterion C2a(ii)

    T. forsteni as Near Threatened under criteria A2d+3d+4d

    T. weberi as Near Threatened under criteria A2d+3d+4d; C2a(ii)

    T. capistratus as Least Concern

    T. moluccanus as Least Concern

    T. rubritorquis 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.

  5. 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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