Following the split of Scarlet-breasted Lorikeet (BirdLife species factsheet) from Rainbow Lorikeet (Collar et al. 2014) the species was assessed as Near Threatened on the basis that the population was thought to be undergoing a moderately rapid decline owing to unsustainable levels of exploitation, however it was not believed that this decline exceeded the thresholds for listing as Vulnerable (30-49% decline within three generations [17.1 years]).
An evaluation of the status of the taxa comprising the species indicates that the species may now no longer occur on Bali, has become extinct on Tanahjampea following trapping principally prior to 1990 and it is unclear if it persists on Kalatoa (Eaton et al. 2015). On Lombok the species does still occur, with a recent observation of a flock of 18 above 1,500 m in 2015 (F. Rheindt per Eaton et al. 2015), though given the lack of other records for many decades it can be assumed that the population is likely to be small. Sumbawa may now be the stronghold of the species, and the species was suggested to be ‘secure’ (Eaton et al. 2015), and there is a large area of potentially suitable habitat remaining on the island.
The species was well known in the bird trade in the past, with many making their way to Europe during the 20th century (Eaton et al. 2015), however it was not recorded during the recent three day inventory of Javan bird markets (Chng et al. 2015). Given the modern-day rarity of populations at the western end of the species’ distribution it is possible that this market has dried up. More recent trapping was clearly taking place in the east of the range and it is suspected that populations of species from further east are traded through a different network of markets (Chng et al. 2015).
There is no current estimate of the population size. Clearly the numbers present on Sumbawa are key to assessing the status of the species. On the basis that the total population is below 10,000 mature individuals, with fewer than 1,000 mature individuals present on Sumbawa, then it is proposed that the species qualifies for listing as Vulnerable under criterion C2a(ii), on the basis that the species is also suspected to be undergoing a continuing decline.
Better information regarding likely population size is keenly needed.
Chng, S. C. L., Eaton, J. A., Krishnasamy, K., Shepherd, C. R. & Nijman, V. 2015. In the market for extinction: an inventory of Jakarta’s bird markets. Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia: TRAFFIC.
del Hoyo, J.; Collar, N. J.; Christie, D. A.; Elliott, A.; Fishpool, L. D. C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Lynx Edicions BirdLife International.
Eaton, J.A., Shepherd, C.R., Rheindt, F.E., Harris, J.B.C., van Balen, S. (B.), Wilcove, D.S. and Collar, N.J. 2015. Trade-driven extinctions and near-extinctions of avian taxa in Sundaic Indonesia. Forktail 31: 1-12.