Bare-faced Curassow (Crax fasciolata) is being split: list C. pinima as Critically Endangered and C. fasciolata as Near Threatened?

The initial deadline for comments on this topic is 28 April 2014, and 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.

Bare-faced Curassow Crax fasciolata is being split into C. fasciolata and C. pinima, following the application of criteria set out by Tobias et al. (2010).

Prior to the taxonomic change, C. fasciolata (BirdLife species factsheet) was listed as being of Least Concern, on the basis that it was not thought to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under any of the IUCN Red List criteria.

C. pinima occurs in north-eastern Brazil, being known from eastern Pará and western Maranhão. According to Lees et al. (2013), this taxon is close to global extinction. It is extinct around Belem, Pará (Novaes and Lima 1998), and may survive only in western Maranhão at Reserva Biológica do Gurupi and adjoining areas (BirdLife International, Lees et al. 2013). The species was not found during extensive fieldwork around Paragominas in eastern Pará (A. Aleixo per F. Olmos in litt. 2003).

A model of forest loss in the Amazon basin since 2002 (Soares-Filho et al. 2006), combined with the species’s approximate maximum range and data on its ecology and life history (following the methods of Bird et al. 2011), suggests that the species will lose 78-88% of suitable habitat in the Amazonian portion of its range (as defined by the model, and which accounts for c.68% of the total area of suitable habitat for this species) over 35 years (estimate of three generations). The pessimistic scenario for forest loss suggests that the species will lose at least 60% of its global extent of suitable habitat over this period. By also factoring in additional declines owing to the species’s susceptibility to fragmentation, edge-effects and hunting, the suspected rate of population decline is thought to be 70% over 35 years.

The Amazonian forest loss analysis suggests that the species qualifies as Endangered under criterion A4cd; however, the information given by Lees et al. (2013) implies that the species could qualify as Critically Endangered under the C criterion, if its population is estimated to include fewer than 250 mature individuals. Further information would assist with this species’s Red List assessment.

C. fasciolata (as defined following the taxonomic change) is known from central and southern Brazil, eastern Bolivia, and Paraguay.

Although this species survives in much of Brazil, and can be locally common (as in the northern Pantanal and Serra dos Carajás), it is extinct, or nearly so, in Sao Paulo and Paraná (del Hoyo 1994, F. Olmos in litt. 2003). It is considered rare and threatened in Argentina. In Paraguay, the species has been extirpated, or is close to disappearing, from much of its range, although in 1999 the species was still relatively numerous in northern Concepción Department (Clay 2001). In Bolivia, the species is widely distributed throughout the llanos de moxos (savannas), with many areas holding protected populations (B. Hennessey in litt. 2003).

Although the species occupies a relatively large range, it has disappeared from parts of its former range as a result of habitat destruction and hunting (del Hoyo 1994). Hunting pressure is an issue in Goiás and Tocantins, but this species is not considered to be particularly threatened overall in Brazil (F. Olmos in litt. 2003). Despite the species’s abundance in northern Concepción Department (Paraguay), human presence in this area has increased considerably over the past few years, and hunting pressure may now be high (Clay 2001).

A model of forest loss in the Amazon basin since 2002 (Soares-Filho et al. 2006), combined with the species’s approximate range and data on its ecology and life history (following the methods of Bird et al. 2011), suggests that the species will lose 24-36% of suitable habitat in the Amazonian portion of its range (as defined by the model, and which accounts for c.50% of the total area of suitable habitat for this species) over 35 years (estimate of three generations). The pessimistic scenario for forest loss suggests that the species will lose at least 17.8% of its global extent of suitable habitat over this period. By also factoring in additional declines owing to the species’s susceptibility to fragmentation, edge-effects and hunting, a suspected rate of population decline is calculated to be 27.8% over 35 years.

The Amazonian forest loss analysis suggests that the species qualifies as Near Threatened under criterion A4cd. However, given the evidence of declines in areas outside the Amazon basin, it is suggested that this species could qualify as Vulnerable if it is suspected to be declining at 30-49% over 35 years.

Comments are invited and further information would be welcomed.

References:

Bird, J. P., Buchanan, G. M., Lees, A. C., Clay, R. P., Develey. P. F., Yépez, I. and Butchart, S. H. M. (2011) Integrating spatially explicit habitat projections into extinction risk assessments: a reassessment of Amazonian avifauna incorporating projected deforestation. Diversity and Distributions DOI: 10.1111/j.1472 4642.2011.00843.x. http://wileyonlinelibrary.com/journal/ddi.

Clay, R. P. (2001) The status and conservation of the cracids of Paraguay. In: Brooks, D.M.; Gonzalez-F, F. (ed.), Biology and conservation of cracids in the new millenium, pp. 124-138. Misc. Publ. Houston Mus. Nat. Sci. No. 2.

del Hoyo, J. (1994) Cracidae (Chachalacas, Guans and Curassows). In: del Hoyo, J.; Elliott, A.; Sargatal, J. (ed.), Handbook of the birds of the world, pp. 310-363. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.

Lees, A. C., de Moura, N. G., Dantas, S. M. and Thompson, I. (2013) Capital Birding: Belém, Pará, Brazil. Neotropical Birding 13: 32–42.

Soares-Filho, B. S., Nepstad, D. C., Curran, L. M., Cerqueira, G. C., Garcia, R. A., Ramos, C. A., Voll, E., McDonald, A., Lefebvre, P. and Schlesinger, P. (2006) Modelling conservation in the Amazon basin. Nature 440: 520–523.

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.

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4 Responses to Bare-faced Curassow (Crax fasciolata) is being split: list C. pinima as Critically Endangered and C. fasciolata as Near Threatened?

  1. Crax fasciolata inhabits gallery forests in eastern Paraguay, even this region suffered from severe deforestation we continue to record the species in an annual basis in Concepción and Ñeembucú Departments. Rest of female was discovered in 2011 in the Chaco-Pantanal area confirming that the species is still present in the area in low numbers. It is considered to be VU in the country (SEAM 2006), a review made in 2011 resulted in this trend; VU-NT.

  2. The last confirmed record of pinima in the wild was made in 1978 – see references in Lees et al. (2012) http://www.ararajuba.org.br/sbo/ararajuba/artigos/Volume202/rbo202art2.pdf although there are persistent rumours that the species may be present in Gurupi. If this is true it is still unlikely that more than 20-30 individuals exist if its not already extinct. A pinima-like Crax taxon formerly occurred in Pernambuco too. Luis Fabio Silveira http://www.ib.usp.br/~lfsilveira/equipe.htm is your man to ask about this bird.

  3. Andy Symes says:

    Preliminary proposals

    Based on available information, our preliminary proposals for the 2014 Red List would be to treat:

    C. fasciolata as as Vulnerable under criterion A4cd

    C. pinima as Critically Endangered under criterion C2a(ii).

    There is now a period for further comments until the final deadline of 14 May, 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

  4. 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 in mid-2014, following further checking of information relevant to the assessments by BirdLife and IUCN.

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