This discussion was first published as part of the 2016 Red List update. At the time a decision regarding its status was pended, but to enable potential reassessment of this species as part of the 2017 Red List update this post remained open and the date of posting was updated.
BirdLife species factsheet for Red Lark: http://www.birdlife.org/datazone/species/factsheet/22717180
Calendulauda burra is endemic to the Northern Cape Province of South Africa, with two questionable records from Namibia (BirdLife International 2016). It is currently classified as Vulnerable as its population has been estimated at <10,000 individuals, all within one subpopulation, and the species has been inferred to be undergoing continuing declines due to habitat loss and degradation.
The recent 2015 Eskom Red Data Book of Birds of South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland has estimated a decline at a rate of >30% over the past three generations (11 years; Taylor et al. 2015), thus qualifying it for listing as Vulnerable under criteria A2c and C2a(ii). However, the decline may not in fact be as high as 30% (the time between Southern Atlas Bird Projects is closer to 6 generations), and any decreases in range may be an artefact of incomplete sampling (Taylor et al. 2015). Additionally, Lee et al. (in press) found its range to be increasing (core range increase of 12%). It also has three debatable subspecies (Taylor et al. 2015), so the suggestion that the whole species is present in one subpopulation may not be valid. Thus it would not qualify as Vulnerable under C2a(ii). However, depending on how many subpopulations may be present in this species it may still qualify for Vulnerable under criterion C2a(i) (population size <10,000 individuals, and number of individuals in each subpopulation ≤1,000 individuals).
We request further information about possible trends in this species as well as species ecology to ascertain whether this species might still qualify as Vulnerable.
BirdLife International. 2016. Species factsheet: Certhilauda burra. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org
Lee, A.; Barnard, P.; Altwegg, R. (in press) Estimating conservation metrics from atlas data: the case of southern African endemic birds. Bird Conservation International.
Taylor, M. R.; Peacock, F.; Wanless, R. M. 2015. The 2015 Eskom Red Data Book of Birds of South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland. BirdLife South Africa, Johannesburg.