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.
Mountain Buzzard Buteo oreophilus is being split into B. oreophilus and B. trizonatus, following the application of criteria set out by Tobias et al. (2010).
Prior to this taxonomic change, B. oreophilus (BirdLife species factsheet) was listed as being of Least Concern, on the basis that it was not thought to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under any of the IUCN Red List criteria.
B. oreophilus (as defined following the taxonomic change) is distributed from Ethiopia, west to eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, and south to Tanzania and Malawi. It is largely restricted to extensive montane forest at 2,000-3,800m, locally to above 4,500m, and seldom ventures far over adjacent grassland or moorland (Ferguson-Lees and Christie 2001). It has decreased in some areas of its range in East Africa as a result of deforestation. Thus, it is suggested that it be listed as Near Threatened under criteria A2c+3c+4c, on the basis that it could be in moderately rapid population decline (approaching 30% over 29 years [estimate of three generations]), owing to on-going habitat loss.
B. trizonatus is restricted to southern and eastern South Africa, found in both uplands and lowlands, in forest edges and clearings and now pine and other commercial plantations from sea-level to 1,000m, seldom to 1,500m (Ferguson-Lees and Christie 2001). It encompasses areas with Afromontane temperate forests, avoiding the more tropical, lowland forests along the coast (Ferguson-Lees and Christie 2001). Although it was considered threatened in South Africa at one stage, the range and numbers of this species are likely to have increased considerably due to adaptation to widespread pine and eucalyptus plantations, despite the destruction of some nests during commercial felling (Ferguson-Lees and Christie 2001, Hockey et al. 2005). As a result, it is likely to be listed as being of Least Concern, on the basis that it is not thought to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under any of the IUCN criteria.
Comments on these suggested categories and further information would be welcomed.
Ferguson-Lees, J. and Christie, D. A. (2001) Raptors of the world. London, UK: Christopher Helm.
Hockey, P. A. R., Dean, W. R. J. and Ryan, P. G. (2005) Roberts birds of southern Africa. Seventh edition. Cape Town, South Africa: Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund.
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.