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.
Tahiti Kingfisher Todiramphus veneratus is being split into T. veneratus and T. youngi, following the application of criteria set out by Tobias et al. (2010).
Prior to this taxonomic change, T. veneratus (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 Red List criteria.
T. veneratus (as defined following the taxonomic change) is endemic to Tahiti (French Polynesia), where it inhabits woodland, gardens, plantations and montane forest up to 1,700 m (Fry and Fry 1999, del Hoyo et al. 2001).
This species is estimated to have a restricted range, and probably has a moderately small population; however, its ability to use substantially modified and montane habitats implies that it may not currently be in decline. It is therefore proposed to be listed as Least Concern on the basis that it is not thought to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under any of the IUCN criteria. However, if declines are inferred and the population is thought to approach as few as 10,000 mature individuals or lower, it may be eligible for a higher threat category.
T. youngi is endemic to the 134 km2 island of Moorea (French Polynesia), where it occupies primary and secondary forest up to c.300 m and is reportedly generally uncommon, but more common in a few areas (Fry and Fry 1999, del Hoyo et al. 2001).
This species is estimated to have a restricted range, and probably has a small population; however the extent of threat to its habitat is uncertain and it may not currently be in decline. It may be listed as Near Threatened on the basis that there are probably fewer than 2,500 mature individuals, forming a single subpopulation, which may be experiencing limited habitat loss but cannot yet be inferred to be undergoing a continuing decline. If there is enough evidence to infer a slow decline owing to on-going habitat loss and degradation, it could warrant listing as Endangered.
Comments on the likely population size and trend and the extent of likely threats to both species are invited and further information would be welcomed.
del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A. and Sargatal, J. (2001) Handbook of the birds of the world, Vol 6: Mousebirds to Hornbills. Barcelona, Spain: Lynx Edicions.
Fry, C. H. and Fry, K. (1999) Kingfishers, Bee-Eaters & Rollers. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University 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.