Archived 2014 discussion: Hodgson’s Hawk-cuckoo (Cuculus fugax) is being split: list both C. fugax and C. pectoralis as Near Threatened?

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.

Hodgson’s Hawk-cuckoo Cuculus fugax is being split into C. fugax, C. nisicolor, C. hyperythrus and C. pectoralis, following the application of criteria set out by Tobias et al. (2010).

Prior to this taxonomic change, C. fugax (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 criteria. This species was estimated to have an extremely large range, and hence did not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence of less than 20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appeared to be stable, and hence the species did not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (at least a 30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size has not been quantified, but it was not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (fewer than 10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be at least 10% over ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure).

C. fugax (as defined following the taxonomic change), is found throughout much of the Sundaic region, in the southern Thai-Malay Peninsula, Sumatra, Borneo and western Java, where it inhabits primary and secondary forest and cocoa plantations (Erritzøe et al. 2012). It is suggested that it qualifies as Near Threatened under criteria A2c+3c+4c, on the basis that it may be undergoing a moderately rapid population decline (approaching 30% over three generations [c.21 years]) owing to widespread and rapid deforestation and habitat degradation. Its tolerance of some habitat modification suggests that the rate of decline is not more rapid than this.

C. pectoralis is endemic to the Philippines, where it occupies primary and secondary forest (Erritzøe et al. 2012). It is suggested that it qualifies as Near Threatened under criteria A2c+3c+4c, on the basis that it may be undergoing a moderately rapid population decline (approaching 30% over three generations [c.21 years]) owing to on-going deforestation and habitat degradation throughout its range. The decline is not thought to be more rapid because it occurs in montane areas where forest may be more secure.

C. nisicolor and C. hyperythrus are both very widespread migratory species that show flexible habitat requirements (Erritzøe et al. 2012). As such they are both likely to warrant classification as Least Concern, on the basis that they are not thought to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under any of the IUCN criteria.

Comments are invited on these suggested categories and further information would be welcomed.

References:

Erritzøe, J., Mann, C. F., Brammer, F. P. and Fuller, R. A. (2012) Cuckoos of the world. Helm Identification Guide. London, UK: Christopher Helm.

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.

This entry was posted in Archive, Asia and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Archived 2014 discussion: Hodgson’s Hawk-cuckoo (Cuculus fugax) is being split: list both C. fugax and C. pectoralis as Near Threatened?

  1. Certainly agree that whatever the one in Lao PDR is should be LC; dramatically tolerant of forest degradation and fragmentation (not quite total clearance, but lives in some secondary landscapes that barely have got back from tall xcrub into ‘forest’ category.

  2. Ding Li Yong says:

    Philippine hawk cuckoo also occurs in low stature limestone forest in the Rajah Sikatuna National Park and in remnant patches of secondary woodland and groves in the Chocolate Hills Protected Landscape (Bohol), mahogany plantations in Mt Kanlaon National Park (Negros) and even in little habitat remnants in Metro Manila (e.g. La Mesa forest), Angono in Luzon. Certainly more tolerant to habitat degradation than we think it is.

  3. Joe Taylor says:

    Preliminary proposals

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

    C. fugax as Least Concern

    C. pectoralis as Least Concern

    C. nisicolor as Least Concern

    C. hyperythrus as Least Concern

    There is now a period for further comments until the final deadline of 31 March, 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. Joe Taylor says:

    The following comments were received from Carol Inskipp and Hem Baral on 19 March 2014:

    Hodgson’s Hawk Cuckoo Hierococcyx fugax
    This species has been assessed for the national Nepal bird Red Data Book as Near-threatened. It is a rare and local summer visitor to the east and possibly also to central Nepal, although probably overlooked. Post 1990, the species has been recorded rarely in three protected areas: Langtang National Park, Shivapuri Nagarjun National Park and Makalu Barun National Park, several times in the buffer zone of Makalu Barun National Park a national park buffer zone, and rarely on passage. Hodgson’s Hawk Cuckoo is threatened by loss and degradation of its subtropical forest habitat which is especially threatened in Nepal. The species may also be at risk from hunting and trapping. As a result its population is probably declining.

  5. 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 later in 2014, following further checking of information relevant to the assessments by BirdLife and IUCN.

Comments are closed.