Archived 2010-2011 topics: Newly-split Malayan Banded Pitta (Pitta irena), Bornean Banded Pitta (P. schwaneri) and Javan Banded Pitta (P. guajana): list all as Least Concern?

Banded Pitta Pitta guajana has been split into Malayan Banded Pitta P. irena, Bornean Banded Pitta P. schwaneri and Javan Banded Pitta P. guajana following recommendations put forward by Rheindt and Eaton (2010), who showed the three subspecies to be morphologically, ecologically and probably vocally distinct, with strong and consistent differences in both male and female plumages between each of the taxa, which, given the history of land connections in the region, should probably be regarded as parapatric.

It is proposed that P. irena, P. schwaneri and P. guajana all be listed as Least Concern on the basis that none of them meet the thresholds for Vulnerable under any of the IUCN criteria. These species have large ranges, with Extents of Occurrence (EOOs) estimated in the range 130,000-733,000 km2, hence they do not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (EOO 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). They are suspected to be declining due to deforestation and capture for the illegal cage bird trade (Lambert and Woodcock 1996, del Hoyo et al. 2003). However, declines owing to deforestation may be limited by their tolerance of disturbed, degraded and secondary habitats (Lambert and Woodcock 1996, Rheindt and Eaton 2010). Despite the fact that their population trends are suspected to be negative, the declines are not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (at least a 30% decline over 12 years [estimate of three generations]). The population sizes of these species have not been quantified, but they are 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 three generations, or with a specified population structure). Comments are invited on the proposal to list these species as Least Concern and further information is requested, particularly on the estimated population trends and severity of threats for each species.

del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A. and Christie, D. (2003) Handbook of the Birds of the World, vol 8: Broadbills to Tapaculos. Barcelona, Spain: Lynx Edicions.

Lambert, F. and Woodcock, M. (1996) Pittas, broadbills and asities. Robertsbridge, U.K.: Pica Press.

Rheindt, F. E. and Eaton, J. A. (2010) Biological species limits in the Banded Pitta Pitta guajana. Forktail 26: 86-91.

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3 Responses to Archived 2010-2011 topics: Newly-split Malayan Banded Pitta (Pitta irena), Bornean Banded Pitta (P. schwaneri) and Javan Banded Pitta (P. guajana): list all as Least Concern?

  1. Ding Li Yong says:

    Propose uplisting Malayan Banded Pitta (Pitta irena) to near-threatened on basis of extensive habitat loss throughout its range. P. irena appears to be restricted to lowland evergreen and swamp forest in Malay peninsular and Sumatra and does not appear to persist well in logged forests, at least based on observations in Pen. Malaysia. Occurence is low density except for some sites (e.g. Taman Negara, Way Kambas), and does not appear to be common in hilly forest. In Panti Forest Reserve, only detected a few times despite extensive field surveys over 10 years. 2 months of field work in Terengganu in hilly lowland forest (elevation: 194m asl) did not detect any individuals. Appears to be very uncommon in lowland hilly forest around KL (e.g. Ulu Langat, Ampang)

  2. Nick Brickle says:

    ‘Javan’ Banded is pretty common in even really degraded habitat, and widespread across the lowlands of both Java and Bali.

    ‘Malaysian’ on Sumatra is a lot less widespread, and when I think about it I’ve only really seen them at a couple of sites which are undisturbed lowland forest (such as Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park – where they are abundant). I’ve not really seen them in degraded forest (or uplands, or swamp forest). Undisturbed lowland forest is pretty scarce on Sumatra, so maybe this merits ‘near-threatened’ if the species is restricted in this way?

    I’ve not travelled enough in Borneo to really be in a position to comment on ‘Bornean’.

  3. Boas Emmanuel says:

    Javan Banded Pitta is fairly common in lowland forest of Carita. I can hear their call easily.

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