Archived 2014 discussion: Whistling Green-pigeon (Treron formosae) is being split: list T. formosae 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.

Whistling Green-pigeon Treron formosae is being split into T. formosae and T. permagnus, following the application of criteria set out by Tobias et al. (2010).

Prior to this taxonomic change, T. formosae (BirdLife species factsheet) was listed as Near Threatened under criterion C1, on the basis that it was thought to have a moderately small population, which was inferred to be declining mainly as a result of hunting and habitat degradation.

T. formosae (as defined following the taxonomic change, and incorporating filipina) occurs on Lanyu Island and Taiwan (China), Batan, Calayan, Camiguin Norte and Sabtang (Philippines), where it occupies forest and modified wooded habitats (del Hoyo et al. 1997, Gibbs et al. 2001, N. J. Collar in litt. 2012). It is suggested that it qualifies as Near Threatened under criterion C1, on the basis that it is likely to have a moderately small population, which is thought to be in decline owing to habitat loss and hunting pressure, although the rate of decline has not been estimated.

T. permagnus (incorporating medioximus) occurs in the Ryukyu Islands (Japan) and inhabits forest and modified habitats such as cultivated areas and gardens with trees (del Hoyo et al. 1997, Gibbs et al. 2001). It is thought likely to warrant listing as Least Concern, on the basis that it is not thought to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under any of the IUCN criteria.

Comments are invited on these suggested categories 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.

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.

Related posts:

  1. Archived 2014 discussion: Rainbow Lorikeet (Trichoglossus haematodus) is being split: list T. rosenbergii as Vulnerable and both T. weberi and T. forsteni as Near Threatened?
  2. Archived 2014 discussion: Variable Kingfisher (Ceyx lepidus) is being split: list C. dispar as Vulnerable and five other newly defined species as Near Threatened?
  3. Archived 2011-2012 topics: Taxonomic change in the genus Cissa: list Javan Green Magpie (C. thalassina) as Critically Endangered and Bornean Green Magpie (C. jefferyi) as Least Concern?
  4. Archived 2010-2011 topics: Malaysian Whistling-thrush (Myophonus robinsoni): uplist to Near Threatened?
  5. Archived 2012-2013 topics: Victoria Crowned-pigeon (Goura victoria): downlist to Near Threatened?
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4 Responses to Archived 2014 discussion: Whistling Green-pigeon (Treron formosae) is being split: list T. formosae as Near Threatened?

  1. Desmond Allen says:

    I am not sure that these differ any more than the 2 races of Ptilinopus merrilli. What is the reason for the split?

    • Joe Taylor says:

      This split follows the application of the Tobias et al. (2010) criteria, and is based on differences in plumage and biometrics.

  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:

    T. formosae as Near Threatened under criterion C1

    T. permagnus 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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