Archived 2017 topics: Shelley’s Crimson-wing (Cryptospiza shelleyi): uplist from Vulnerable to Endangered?

This discussion was first published as part of the 2016 Red List update. At the time a decision regarding its status was pended, but to enable potential reassessment of this species as part of the 2017 Red List update this post remained open and the date of posting was updated.

BirdLife species factsheet for Shelley’s Crimson-wing: http://www.birdlife.org/datazone/species/factsheet/22719374

Cryptospiza shelleyi is known from several localities in the mountains of the Albertine Rift, in Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, as well as the Virunga Mountains (2,200-3,000 m) on the border between DRC, Rwanda and Uganda.

It is currently classified as Vulnerable as it has a small, declining population within which all subpopulations are very small.

It is generally rare (Butynski et al. 1997), and reporting rates have been dropping (S. Cichon, M. McQuillan and E. Meyjes in litt. 2016). Declines in the species’s population are most likely related to forest degradation and destruction (Catterall 1992), which are prevalent throughout this species’s range. Its population size had previously been estimated to be in the range of 2,500-4,999 mature individuals, but given the decline in reporting rate and a lack of recent sightings this is now likely to be an overestimate (S. Cichon, M. McQuillan and E. Meyjes in litt. 2016). With a revised population size in the range of 1,000-2,500 mature individuals which is inferred to be declining, and if all subpopulations are assumed to be <250 mature individuals this species is likely to qualify as Endangered under criterion C2a(i).

We welcome any comments on this proposed uplisting.

References:

Butynski, T. M.; Agenonga, U.; Ndera, B.; Hart, J. F. 1997. Rediscovery of the Congo Bay (Itombwe) Owl Phodilus prigogineiBulletin of the African Bird Club 4(1): 32-35.

Catterall, M. J. 1992. Conservation priorities for the Albertine Rift Endemic Bird Area. MSc Thesis, Wye College, University of London.

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3 Responses to Archived 2017 topics: Shelley’s Crimson-wing (Cryptospiza shelleyi): uplist from Vulnerable to Endangered?

  1. James Westrip (BirdLife) says:

    Based on available information, our proposal for the 2016 Red List would be to pend the decision on this species and keep this discussion open until 2017, while leaving the current Red List category unchanged in the 2016 update.

    Final 2016 Red List categories will be published on the BirdLife and IUCN websites in early December, following further checking of information relevant to the assessments by both BirdLife and IUCN.

  2. James Hogg says:

    Referring to Birds in Rwanda an Atlas and Handbook, Vande weghe and Vande weghe, 2011 (RDB, Kigali) this species was historically known from several sites; Nyungwe Forest, Volcanoes NP, Busaga Forest and Mukura Forest. Nyungwe and Volcanoes although protected are much smaller than historical park boundaries. Busaga and especially Mukura have become heavily degraded. So there are problems with what was once the traditional habitats of this species.

    Second to that, to my knowledge there have been few (possibly no) records in Rwanda in recent years. Even amongst Nyungwe guides there are few if any records and one experienced guide went as far to suggest the species may be extinct in Rwanda. Although that is conjecture the lack of records does support possibly support that theory. Furthermore, this seems to be a poorly known species.

    Hence uplisting the species seems to be a sensible move. It would be good to have some dedicated work needed to determine where populations are still present and to better understand the species’ ecology and risks.

  3. James Westrip (BirdLife) says:

    Preliminary proposals
    Based on available information, our preliminary proposal for the 2017 Red List would be to list:

    Shelley’s Crimsonwing as Endangered under criterion C2a(i).

    There is now a period for further comments until the final deadline of 4 August, after which the recommended categorisations will be put forward to IUCN.

    Please note that we will then only post final recommended categorisations on forum discussions where these differ from the initial proposal.

    The final 2017 Red List categories will be published on the BirdLife and IUCN websites in early December, following further checking of information relevant to the assessments by both BirdLife and IUCN.

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