Archived 2014 discussion: Banded Kingfisher (Lacedo pulchella) is being split: list L. pulchella and L. melanops as Near Threatened?

This is part of a consultation on the Red List implications of extensive changes to BirdLife’s taxonomy for non-passerines

Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International will soon publish 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 1 of the checklist (for non-passerines) will begin to be incorporated into the 2014 Red List update, with the remainder, and those for passerines (which will appear in volume 2 of the checklist), 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.

Banded Kingfisher Lacedo pulchella has been split into L. pulchella and L. melanops, following the application of criteria set out by Tobias et al. (2010).

Prior to this taxonomic change, L. pulchella (BirdLife species factsheet) was listed as Least Concern on the basis that it was not thought to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under any of the IUCN criteria. This species was estimated to have an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence of less than 20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). Despite the fact that the population trend appeared to be decreasing, the decline was not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (at least 30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size has not been quantified, but was not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (fewer than 10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be at least 10% over ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure).

L. pulchella (as defined following this taxonomic change, and incorporating amabilis) occurs across South-East Asia, through the Thai-Malay Peninsula, Sumatra and Java, whilst L. melanops occurs on Borneo and Bangka Island, both inhabiting lowland forest (Fry and Fry 1999, del Hoyo et al. 2001).

Both L. pulchella and L. melanops may qualify as Near Threatened under criteria A2c+3c+4c, on the basis that they could be in moderately rapid population decline (approaching 30% over three generations [c.17 years]) owing to on-going habitat loss and degradation.

Comments on these suggested categories are invited and further information would be welcomed.


del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A. and Sargatal, J. (2001) Handbook of the birds of the world, Vol 6: Mousebirds to Hornbills. Barcelona, Spain: Lynx Edicions.

Fry, C. H. and Fry, K. (1999) Kingfishers, bee-eaters & rollers. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

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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4 Responses to Archived 2014 discussion: Banded Kingfisher (Lacedo pulchella) is being split: list L. pulchella and L. melanops as Near Threatened?

  1. For residual L. pulchella, the comments I just made under Bay Owl apply equally to this species; in fact they are quite good match, in Lao PDR, for status in terms of altitude range and occupation of quite heavily degraded and fragmented forest. These two (residual L. pulchella and residual P. badia) have been picked up because of the taxonomic review, which has in each case shed off a small part of the range in a sister species; but it doesn’t seem sensible to consider changing the Red List category of the residuals based on habitat change unless the quite many other species widely spread in non-Sundaic SE Asia are also reconsidered at the same time.

  2. Frederic Goes says:

    No particular reasons raising any conservation attention to that species in Cambodia. Status below FYI.

    CAMBODIA: An uncommon resident of semi-evergreen and degraded hill evergreen forests, bamboo, from lowlands up to 900m. Widespread in the southwest, but more patchily distributed elsewhere. Scarce in the northwest, where recorded at Phnom Kulen NP and two sites in Oddar Meanchey province. In the north, present in Kulen Promtep WS and Preah Vihear PF. In the northeast, known from Snoul WS, Siem Pang, two sites in Ratanakiri, and Seima PF (common), Phnom Prich WS and Sen Monorom plateau in southern Mondolkiri.

  3. Joe Taylor says:

    Preliminary proposals

    Based on available information and comments posted above, our preliminary proposals for the 2014 Red List would be to treat:

    L. pulchella as Least Concern

    L. melanops as Least Concern

    There is now a period for further comments until the final deadline of 31 March, after which recommended categorisations will be put forward to IUCN.

    The final Red List categories will be published on the BirdLife and IUCN websites in mid-2014, following further checking of information relevant to the assessments by both BirdLife and IUCN.

  4. Andy Symes says:

    Recommended categorisations to be put forward to IUCN

    Following further review, there have been no changes to our preliminary proposals for the 2014 Red List status of these species.

    The final categorisations will be published later in 2014, following further checking of information relevant to the assessments by BirdLife and IUCN.

Comments are closed.