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.
Yellow-breasted Brush-finch Atlapetes latinuchus is being split into A. latinuchus and A. nigrifrons, following the application of criteria set out by Tobias et al. (2010).
Prior to this taxonomic change, A. latinuchus was listed as Least Concern, on the basis that it did not approach the threshold for Vulnerable under any criterion. A. latinuchus (as defined following the taxonomic change) is found in mid-elevation to highland (1,600-3,700 m) bushy habitats on the border of forest, secondary growth, overgrown pasture and roadside thickets in Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru (Jaramillo 2016). It is considered locally common, and its relative tolerance of disturbed habitats mean it is unlikely to be threatened. It is not thought to approach the threshold for Vulnerable under any criterion and so it is proposed that this species be listed as Least Concern.
A. nigrifrons is found only in the Perija Mountains on the border of Colombia and Venezuela, in mid-montane to high elevation bushy habitats (see Jaramillo 2016). Lower-elevation habitat (below 2,000 m) is under threat from a range of processes; including colonisation, the cultivation of narcotics, ranching and mineral exploitation – which are aided by the roads approaching the Colombian side – [C. J. Sharpe in litt. 1997, 2000, A. Viloria per J. Fjeldså in litt. 1998, Sharpe and Lentino 2008]. It was thought high-elevation habitat was less likely to be affected by these factors, however, such areas are now believed to be being affected by illegal cultivation, causing forest habitats to decline and become fragmented (Renjifo et al. 2002, C. J. Sharpe in litt. 2003).
The pre-split species was thought to be adaptable to disturbed habitats (Jaramillo 2016), and so this species may be able to cope with such some habitat disturbance. However, given the great extent of the habitat conversion and clearance, its population may be declining. As this species may be able to adapt to disturbed habitat, it is unsure to what extent its population may be fragmented within its restricted range, and we request any further information regarding this. In the absence of any information regarding the fragmentation of this species it is not thought to approach the threshold for Vulnerable; however if any evidence exists to show this species may be fragmented or severely fragmented (see IUCN 2001, 2012) this species may qualify to be listed as at least Near Threatened under criterion B1ab(i,ii,iii,v).
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.
Jaramillo, A. 2016. Yellow-breasted Brush-finch (Atlapetes latinuchus). 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/61992 on 26 September 2016).
Renjifo, L. M., Franco-Maya, A. M., Amaya-Espinel, J. D., Kattan, G. H. and López-Lanús, B. 2002. Libro rojo de aves de Colombia. Instituto de Investigación de Recursos Biológicos Alexander von Humboldt y Ministerio del Medio Ambiente, Bogotá, Colombia.
Sharpe, C.J. and Lentino, M. 2008. Piscuiz de Perijá Schizoeaca perijana. In: Rodríguez, J.P. and Rojas-Suárez, F. (eds), Libro Rojo de la fauna Venezolana. Tercera Edición, pp. 150. Provita & Shell Venezuela, S.A., Caracas, Venezuela.
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.