Initial deadline for comments: 31 January 2012.
Neblina Metaltail Metallura odomae is relatively common within three areas of southernmost Ecuador (including Podocarpus National Park), and on Cerro Chinguela, northern Peru (Piura), at 2,850-3,350 m. It occurs in elfin forest, forest edge and scrub where, despite its reasonable numerical abundance, it may be of conservation concern owing to its highly restricted distribution. It has a moderately small population (estimated at a minimum of 10,000 mature individuals) which is suspected to be declining owing to habitat loss. Its range is very small (Extent of Occurrence [EOO] estimated to be c.670 km2) and declining, but it is not yet severely fragmented or restricted to a few locations. It is consequently classified as Near Threatened under criteria B1a+b(i,ii,iii,v); C2a(i).
However, Ridgely and Greenfield (2001) believe that “given its relative abundance in its very remote range – where habitat disturbance has, at least to date, been minimal or non-existant – we do not believe it merits listing as even a NT species”. In addition, it is said to be “fairly common” in Peru (Schulenberg et al. 2007). On the basis of these comments, should M. odomae be downlisted and no longer considered Near Threatened?
In order to make such a decision we seek recent information on population size, range size (both its EOO and Area of Occupancy [AOO]), the degree to which the species’s habitat is fragmented, and trends in any of the preceding (is the population thought to be in decline? Are its EOO or AOO contracting? Is habitat quality decreasing? Is there a decline in the number of locations at which the species occurs?).
In terms of the IUCN Red List criteria, a species’s population is judged to be severely fragmented when over 50% of suitable habitat exists in patches that are too small to support viable populations and are separated by distances several times greater than the species’s average long-term dispersal distance. ‘Locations’ are defined according to the most important threat, and are regarded as geographically or ecologically distinct areas in which a single threatening event can rapidly affect all individuals present.
Ridgely, R. S. and Greenfield, P. J. (2001) The Birds of Ecuador: status, distribution and taxonomy. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.
Schulenberg, T. S., Stotz, D. F., Lane, D. F., O’Neill, J. P. and Parker III, T. A. (2007) Birds of Peru. London, UK: Christopher Helm.