This is part of a consultation on the Red List implications of extensive changes to BirdLife’s taxonomy for passerines
Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International will soon publish the second volume of 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 2 of the checklist (for passerines) will begin to be incorporated into the 2016 Red List update, with the remainder 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.
Greater Double-collared Sunbird Nectarinia afra is changing its scientific name and being split into Cinnyris afer, C. stuhlmanni, C. ludovicensis and C. prigoginei, following the application of criteria set out by Tobias et al. (2010).
Prior to this taxonomic change, Greater Double-collared Sunbird was listed as Least Concern, on the basis that it did not approach the threshold for Vulnerable under any criterion. The newly defined C. afer, found in South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland; C. stuhlmanni, found in the mountains of eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, western Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi; and C. ludovicensis found in the highland of western Angola and the Nyika Plateau of Zambia, are common, abundant and locally common in their ranges (Cheke and Mann 2016a, b, c). They are not thought to approach the threshold for Vulnerable under any criteria. Therefore, it is proposed that they are listed as Least Concern.
C. prigoginei is restricted to montane forest, thickets and fields in the Marungu Highlands of south-eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (Cheke and Mann 2016d). It is described as locally common (Cheke and Mann 2016d) but the population size has not been quantified. Its highly restricted range means that this species is unlikely to be globally abundant; but we request any further information regarding whether it may approach 10,000 mature individuals. Anthropogenic habitat destruction and erosion of stream banks by cattle pose threats to the species’s habitat (Cheke and Mann 2016d), and so the species is inferred to be in decline. Depending on pending information regarding the species’s Extent of Occurrence, it may meet the threshold range size for Endangered, but the population is likely not severely fragmented or at fewer than 5 locations* and so would not qualify under that criterion; although we welcome any further comments and information regarding this. In the absence of any further information this species may warrant listing as Least Concern, or as Near Threatened if it is thought to approach the thresholds for classification as Vulnerable under criterion B1ab(iii,v).
Comments are invited on these proposed categories and further information would be welcomed.
*Note that the term ‘location’ defines a geographically or ecologically distinct area in which a single threatening event can rapidly affect all individuals of the taxon present. The size of the location depends on the area covered by the threatening event and may include part of one or many subpopulations. Where a taxon is affected by more than one threatening event, location should be defined by considering the most serious plausible threat (IUCN 2001, 2012).
Cheke, R. and Mann, C. 2016a. Greater Double-collared Sunbird (Cinnyris afer). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from http://www.hbw.com/node/60031 on 29 September 2016).
Cheke, R. and Mann, C. 2016b. Stuhlmann’s Double-collared Sunbird (Cinnyris stuhlmanni). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from http://www.hbw.com/node/60027 on 29 September 2016).
Cheke, R. and Mann, C. 2016c. Montane Double-collared Sunbird (Cinnyris ludovicensis). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from http://www.hbw.com/node/60029 on 29 September 2016).
Cheke, R. and Mann, C. 2016d. Prigogine’s Double-collared Sunbird (Cinnyris prigoginei). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from http://www.hbw.com/node/60028 on 29 September 2016).
IUCN. 2001. IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria: Version 3.1. Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK: IUCN Species Survival Commission.
IUCN. 2012. Guidelines for Application of IUCN Red List Criteria at Regional and National Levels: Version 4.0. Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK: IUCN.
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.