Archived 2010-2011 topics: Belted Flycatcher (Xenotriccus callizonus): downlist to Least Concern?

Belted Flycatcher Xenotriccus callizonus is uncommon and locally distributed in south Mexico (Chiapas), Guatemala and extreme north-west El Salvador. It is listed as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List because it was thought to have a restricted range that approaches the threshold for listing as Vulnerable (<20,000 km2) combined with severely fragmented habitat or occurrence at approximately ten or fewer locations and a continuing decline in its habitat, population size or number of locations/sub-populations.

However, this species has been mapped by Natureserve/BirdLife International as having an estimated Extent of Occurrence (EOO) of 56,900 km2, hence it does not appear to approach the IUCN thresholds and appears to warrant downlisting to Least Concern. However, if the species has experienced declines over the past three generations (11 years, BirdLife International unpubl. data) approaching 30% it may warrant listing as Near Threatened under the A criterion (population declines). Given its relatively large range size it seems unlikely that this species will have a population approaching 10,000 mature individuals so it would not qualify as threatened or Near Threatened on population size under the C criterion.

Comments on the population trends of this species and its proposed downlisting are welcomed.

This entry was posted in Archive, Central America, North America and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Archived 2010-2011 topics: Belted Flycatcher (Xenotriccus callizonus): downlist to Least Concern?

  1. Andy Symes says:

    Knut Eisermann posted the following in February 2010:
    Belted Flycatcher: area of occupancy and rate of habitat loss warrant VU status

    The Belted Flycatcher is a specialized inhabitant of highland pine-oak forests. Recently (after 2000), the species has been recorded at few locations. In Chiapas it has been observed repeatedly in the El Sumidero National Park (e.g. voice recording by D. Lane 2000, R. C. Hoyer 2005, C. Vogt 2007; all deposited at In Guatemala, all recent documented records are from the valley of Lake Aitilán (part of IBA GT015), where it was observed near Panajachel (Eisermann & Avendaño 2007), in the Laguna Lodge Nature Reserve near Santa Cruz La Laguna (K. Eisermann and C. Avendaño in Jones & Komar 2009), and near San Pedro La Laguna (J. Fagan in Jones & Komar (2010b). It has also been reported from the department of Huehuetenango (IBA GT005; García Barrientos & Gaitán González 2003, Eisermann & Avendaño 2009). At none of the sites in Guatemala it has been reported as common. In El Salvador, Belted Flycatcher was recorded recently in the Montecristo National Park (Komar 2002, R. Juarez in Jones & Komar 2010a). The Belted Flycatcher is a skulky species which is not easily detected unless calling. Available data suggest that this species occurs very locally, taking into account that research and birding activity in the region have increased in recent years and only few new sites have been reported. This flycatcher has been reported from less than 10 sites and it can be speculated that the actual area of occupancy has a size <2,000 km2, which would correspond to the IUCN Red List criterion VU B2a,b(iii).

    The Belted Flycatcher's habitat, pine-oak forest and woodland, has suffered heavy deforestation throughout the species' range and a further decline of the area of suitable habitat is expected, see Eitniear & Eisermann (2009) and comments on the habitat of Ocellated Quail:

    Even if the Belted Flycatcher would occur at many other so far undiscovered sites, its habitat is shrinking rapidly. Much remains to be learned on the distribution and ecology of the Belted Flycatcher. State of knowledge is that it has been observed recently at less than 10 sites, suggesting an IUCN Red List classification under VU B2a,b(iii).


    Eisermann, K. & C. Avendaño (2007) Lista comentada de las aves de Guatemala – Annotated checklist of the birds of Guatemala. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.

    Eisermann, K. & C. Avendaño (2009) Conservation priority-setting in Guatemala through the identification of Important Bird Areas. Proceedings of the Fourth International Partners in Flight Conference, Tundra to Tropics: 315-327.

    Eitniear, J. C. & K. Eisermann (2009) Status and recent sightings of Ocellated Quail. International Journal of Galliformes Conservation 1: 85-93.

    García Barrientos, A. & L. B. Gaitán González (2003) Evaluación rápida de la avifauna en tres sitios identificados por PROCUCH como prioritarios para conservación de: Todos Santos Cuchumatán, Pepajau-Magdalena y Cerro Cruz Maltín, Sierra de Los Cuchumatanes, Huehuetenango, Guatemala. Fundación Interamericana de Investigación Tropical (FIIT), Guatemala. (Unpublished report)

    Jones, L. & O. Komar (2009) August through November 2008: Central America. North American Birds 63: 167-172.

    Jones, L. & O. Komar (2010a, in press) March through May 2009: Central America. North American Birds 64.

    Jones, L. & O. Komar (2010b, in press) June through July 2009: Central America. North American Birds 64.

    Komar, O. (2002) Birds of the Montecristo National Park, el Salvador. Ornitología Neotropical 13:167-193.

  2. Oliver Komar says:

    Knut Eisermann’s comments are well thought out and justified, arguing for uplisting rather than downlisting. Although Symes points out that the EOO may be quite larger, this species has a highly fragmented range (AOO under 2000 km2, according to Eisermann), with just a few documented populations. Some of the localities may only reflect extinct populations or dispersal sites. Eisermann is a highly experienced field ornithologist working in the heart of the Belted Flycatchers’ range.

Comments are closed.