Archived 2016 topics: The newly described taxon Sporophila iberaensis is to be recognised as a species by BirdLife: request for information.

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.

The newly described taxon Sporophila iberaensis is to be recognised as a species by BirdLife.

Sporophila iberaensis, Ibera Seedeater, has been very recently described from north-eastern Argentina, in the Ibera Marshes and Aguapey River basin (Di Giacomo and Kopuchian 2016). There has been some controversy surrounding the description of this species with both S. iberaensis and S. digiacomoi possibly having been used to represent this taxon (see Claramunt and Areta 2016). Di Giacomo and Kopuchian (2016) gave a brief description of the new species, while an “andenda” has been distributed by López-Lanús (available online) appearing to describe the taxon as S. digiacomoi. Di Giacomo and Kopuchian (2016) state that an extended description of S. iberaensis will be put forward in the future, and so it may not be possible to fully assess this species until this has been published; despite the taxon potentially having been described as common (assuming S. iberaensis and S. digiacomoi are synonymous) (López-Lanús online). We request any further information regarding this species, but in the absence of any information it is proposed that it be listed as Data Deficient pending the publication of the extended description of the species.


Claramunt, S. and Areta, N. 2016. Proposal (715) to South American Classification Committee.

Di Giacomo, A. S, and C. Kopuchian 2016. Una nueva especie de capuchino (Sporophila: Thraupidae) de los Esteros del Iberá, Corrientes, Argentina. Nuestras Aves 61: 3-5.

López-Lanús, B. (available online) Adenda. Una nueva especie de capuchino (Emberizidae: Sporophila) de los pastizales anegados del Iberá, Corrientes, Argentina. En pp. 473-489: López-Lanús, B. Guía Audiornis de las aves de Argentina, fotos y sonidos; identificación por características contrapuestas y marcas sobre imágenes. Primera edición. Audiornis Producciones. Buenos Aires, Argentina. Available from:

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.


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2 Responses to Archived 2016 topics: The newly described taxon Sporophila iberaensis is to be recognised as a species by BirdLife: request for information.

  1. James Westrip (BirdLife) says:

    Based on available information, our preliminary proposal for the 2016 Red List would be to adopt the proposed classifications outlined in the initial forum discussion.

    There is now a period for further comments until the final deadline of 28 October, after which the recommended categorisations will be put forward to IUCN.

    Please note that we will then only post final recommended categorisations on forum discussions where these differ from those in the initial proposal.

    The final 2016 Red List categories will be published on the BirdLife and IUCN websites in early December, following further checking of information relevant to the assessments by both BirdLife and IUCN.

  2. James Westrip (BirdLife) says:

    Having received further information we are revising our preliminary proposal for the 2016 Red List to list this species as Endangered under criterion C2a(ii).

    The species is only known to breed in one area; the Esteros de Iberá and the grasslands in neighbouring Corrientes (A. Di Giacomo in litt. 2016). Therefore, this species is believed to be found in only one subpopulation. This subpopulation, and hence the global population size, is thought to number less than 1,000 mature individuals (A. Di Giacomo in litt 2016). Like other seedeaters this species is thought to be threatened by trapping for trade as well as loss of habitat to forestation and agriculture. Therefore the population is thought to be declining, and so this species meets the threshold for listing as Endangered under criterion C2a(ii).

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