The initial deadline for comments on this topic is 10 March 2014, and is therefore later than for most other topics currently under discussion.
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.
Edwards’s Pheasant Lophura edwardsi and Vietnamese Pheasant L. hatinhensis are now considered the same species, as evidence implies that L hatinhensis is an inbred morph of L. edwardsi (Hennache et al. 2012).
Prior to the change in the taxonomic treatment, L. edwardsi (BirdLife species factsheet) was listed as Critically Endangered under criterion C2a(i), on the basis that a lack of recent records suggested that the population numbered fewer than 250 mature individuals, with each subpopulation probably numbering fewer than 50 mature individuals, and inferred to be in continuing decline owing to high levels of hunting pressure and lowland forest loss and modification. L. hatinhensis (BirdLife species factsheet) was listed as Endangered under criterion C2a(i), on the basis that it was estimated to have a very small population, numbering perhaps 600-1,700 mature individuals (based on an estimate of fewer than 2,500 individuals from 1995), with each subpopulation thought to number fewer than 250 mature individuals, and inferred to be in continuing decline owing to the destruction of lowland forest and high levels of hunting.
Apart from a single record from Thua Thien Hue province, all records of hatinhensis are derived from the Ke Go and Khe Net areas. Although areas of potentially suitable lowland forests remain in these regions, years of hunting and snaring by local people in Ha Tinh and Quang Bing Provinces has apparently rendered them highly degraded ‘empty forests’ in terms of biodiversity value – three years of camera trapping in Ke Go and Khe Net resulted in no records of any Galliformes (Le Trong Trai in litt. 2012).
L. edwardsi (as defined following the change in taxonomic treatment) may have a population of fewer than 250 mature individuals, given the lack of recent records of both edwardsi and ‘hatinhensis’. The population estimate used for hatinhensis dates from 1995 and there are reasons to infer rapid declines since then.
In addition, the appearance of the hatinhensis phenotype may suggest that the remaining wild population of edwardsi is highly inbred and possibly close to extinction (Hennache et al. 2012).
Archived discussion of the status of Edwards’s Pheasant, with reference to hatinhensis, resulting in its uplisting to Critically Endangered in 2012, may be found here: http://www.birdlife.org/globally-threatened-bird-forums/2012/01/edwards%E2%80%99s-pheasant-lophura-edwardsi-request-for-information/
It is suggested that the newly-defined L. edwardsi (including hatinhensis) be listed as Critically Endangered under criterion C2a(i), as its global population may number fewer than 250 mature individuals, with all subpopulations numbering 50 mature individuals or fewer, and undergoing continuing declines.
Comments are invited and further information would be welcomed.
Hennache, A., Mahood, S. P., Eames, J. C. and Randi, E. (2012) Lophura hatinhensis is an invalid taxon. Forktail 28: 129–135.
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.