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.
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.