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 2018 Red List update this post remains open and the date of posting has been updated.
Kaempfer’s Woodpecker was rediscovered in 2006 after 80 years without a record, and has now been recorded at several widely-distributed sites across Maranhão, Piauí, Tocantins, Goiás and Mato Grosso in northeast Brazil. Given that the species went unrecorded for many years it was assumed to have a tiny population in an extremely small range. However, recent records have increased the Extent of Occurrence of this species to c.806,000 km2, although it occurs discontinuously throughout this area (Advaldo Dias do Prado in litt. 2007). The population estimate was consequently revised upwards to 250-2,499 mature individuals. The species is listed as Endangered under Criterion C2a(ii) because it has been thought to have a very small population and suspected to be in decline owing to on-going habitat loss and degradation, with 95-100% mature individuals in one subpopulation.
In the Brazilian Red List assessment for birds (MMA 2014) the species is listed as Vulnerable under Criterion C1. Relatively recent discoveries of the species have been made in Mato Grosso and Goiás (Dornas et al. 2011, Pinheiro et al. 2012), leading the Brazilian Red List to estimate the population of Kaempfer’s Woodpecker at 6,000 mature individuals. The species is projected to decline by 15% over three generations owing to deforestation. Pinheiro et al. (2012) suggest that high levels of habitat destruction mean that it is highly threatened. The species’s assessment on the Brazilian Red List can be accessed here.
Information from Dr. Renato Torres Pinheiro suggests that the population may range from 1,500 to 4,000 mature individuals, spanning the thresholds for both Endangered (<2,500 mature individuals) and Vulnerable (<10,000 mature individuals) status under criterion C. Should the species precautionarily remain at Endangered? Are 95-100% mature individuals found in one subpopulation in line with Endangered under C2a(ii)? New records of the species have been made up to 600 km from the type locality (Pinheiro and Dornas 2008). The population trend is difficult to estimate but it is likely to be declining. Is the decrease likely to be 20% in 10 years?
Up-to-date information is requested on Kaempfer’s Woodpecker’s population, trend and subpopulation structure. Comments and any new information are welcomed.
Dornas, T., Leite, G.A., Pinheiro, R.T. and Crozariol, M.A. (2011) Primeiro registro do criticamente ameaçado pica-pau-do-parnaíba Celeus obrieni no Estado do Mato Grosso (Brasil) e comentários sobre distribuição geográfica e conservação. Cotinga, 33: 91-93.
MMA (2014) Lista Nacional Oficial de Espécies da Fauna Ameaçadas de Extinção. Portaria No 444, de 17 de dezembro de 2014. Diário Oficial da União – Seção 1. Nº 245, quinta-feira, 18 de dezembro de 2014.
Pinheiro, R.T. and Dornas, T. (2008) New records and distribution of Kaempfer’s Woodpecker Celeus obrieni. Revista Brasileira de Ornitologia, 16, 2, 167-169.
Pinheiro, R.T., Dornas, T., Leite, G.A., Crozariol, M.A., Marcelino, D.G. and Corrêa, A.G. (2012) Novos registros do pica-pau-do-parnaíba Celeus obrieni e status conservação no estado de Goiás, Brasil. Revista Brasileira de Ornitologia, 20(1): 59‑64.