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.