Archived 2014 discussion: Edwards’s Pheasant (Lophura edwardsi) and Vietnamese Pheasant (L. hatinhensis) are considered to be the same species and are treated as L. edwardsi: list as Critically Endangered?

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.

References:

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.

Related posts:

  1. Archived 2011-2012 topics: Edwards’s Pheasant (Lophura edwardsi): request for information
  2. Archived 2014 discussion: Salvadori’s Pheasant (Lophura inornata) and Aceh Pheasant (L. hoogerwerfi) are being lumped as L. inornata: list as Near Threatened or Vulnerable?
  3. Archived 2012-2013 topics: Cheer Pheasant (Catreus wallichi): uplist to Endangered?
  4. Archived 2014 discussion: Pheasant Pigeon (Otidiphaps nobilis) is being split: list O. insularis as Endangered and O. aruensis as Vulnerable?
  5. Archived topics 2010-2011: Siamese Fireback (Lophura diardi): correctly listed as Near Threatened?
This entry was posted in Archive, Asia, Galliformes and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Archived 2014 discussion: Edwards’s Pheasant (Lophura edwardsi) and Vietnamese Pheasant (L. hatinhensis) are considered to be the same species and are treated as L. edwardsi: list as Critically Endangered?

  1. Peter Garson says:

    The evidence reported in Hennache et al. (2012) is as compelling as it can be, given the paucity of material to work from. The Vietnamese Pheasant should indeed follow the Imperial Pheasant into the ‘not a true species’ box so we are not distracted by it. We need to concentrate on Edwards’s Pheasant and the possibilities that (a) there are a few still left in the wild, and (b) the the global captive population contains some birds of sufficient genetic quality to form the basis for a revised International Studbook programme for this species.

  2. Andy Symes says:

    Preliminary proposals

    Based on available information and comments posted above, our preliminary proposal for the 2014 Red List would be to treat Edwards’s Pheasant Lophura edwardsi (incorporating ‘hatinhensis’) as Critically Endangered under criterion C2a(i).

    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 categorisation to be put forward to IUCN

    Following further review, there has been no change to our preliminary proposals for the 2014 Red List status of this species.

    The final categorisation will be published later in 2014, following further checking of information relevant to the assessment by BirdLife and IUCN.

Comments are closed.