The initial deadline for comments on this topic is 28 April 2014, and therefore later than for most other topics currently under discussion.
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.
Amethyst-throated Sunangel Heliangelus amethysticollis is being split into H. amethysticollis, H. clarisse and H. spencei, following the application of criteria set out by Tobias et al. (2010).
Prior to this taxonomic change, H. amethysticollis (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.
H. spencei is endemic to the Andes of Mérida in north-western Venezuela (del Hoyo et al. 1999, Hilty 2003, Restall et al. 2006). It has been characterised as much less common and more confined to forest interior than H. clarisse (Hilty 2003), although Restall et al. (2006) state that it is found at the borders of forest and woodland.
Apparently no potential threats have been identified to date (del Hoyo et al. 1999); however, this species may be declining as a result of land-use change. The species could qualify as Vulnerable or Near Threatened under criterion C2 if its population is thought to number fewer than or approaching as few as 10,000 mature individuals, forming a single sub-population or existing in multiple sub-populations of no more than 1,000 mature individuals each, and inferred to be in on-going decline owing to continued deforestation.
H. amethysticollis (as defined following the taxonomic change) is widespread along the Andes from Ecuador to central Bolivia, occurring in wet and humid montane forests, forest edge and bushy habitats including secondary growth at 1,800-3,200 m (del Hoyo et al. 1999).
H. clarisse is known from the East Andes of Colombia (Norte de Santander to Cundinamarca) and adjacent Venezuela, and the Sierra de Perijá on the Colombian-Venezuelan border, occurring at the borders of cloudforest, dwarf forest, open areas and paramo, at c.2,000-3,600 m (del Hoyo et al. 1999).
Both H. amethysticollis and H. clarisse are described as at least fairly common, with apparently no substantial threats identified (del Hoyo et al. 1999). They are therefore thought likely to be listed as being of Least Concern, on the basis that they do not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under any of the IUCN Red List criteria.
Comments are invited on these suggested categories and further information would be welcomed.
del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A. and Sargatal, J. (1999) Handbook of the Birds of the World, vol. 5: Barn-owls to Hummingbirds. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.
Hilty, S. L. (2003) Birds of Venezuela. London, UK: Christopher Helm.
Restall, R., Rodner, C. and Lentino, M. (2006) Birds of northern South America: an identification guide. Volume 1: species accounts. 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.