Archived 2014 discussion: Blue-throated Piping-guan (Pipile cumanensis) is being split: list P. grayi as Near Threatened and P. cumanensis as Least Concern?

The initial deadline for comments on this topic is 28 April 2014, and therefore later than for most other topics currently under discussion.

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.

Blue-throated Piping-guan Pipile cumanensis is being split into P. cumanensis and P. grayi, following the application of criteria set out by Tobias et al. (2010).

Prior to this taxonomic change, P. cumanensis (BirdLife species factsheet) was listed as Vulnerable under criterion A3cd, based on a model of future deforestation in the Amazon basin and the species’s susceptibility to hunting, leading to a suspected population decline of at least 30% over 17 years (estimate of three generations). However, it is suggested here that this past assessment was over pessimistic.

The pre-split species is described as occurring in humid terra firme and varzea forest, semi-deciduous forest, gallery forest and cerrado woodland, mainly in the tropical zone, but also reaching coastal lowlands in the Guianas (del Hoyo et al. 1994). In Paraguay, it appears to mainly occur on the wooded slopes of conical hills. It exhibits a strong preference for strips of forest within 100 m of rivers, both in Amazonia and French Guiana (del Hoyo et al. 1994).

P. grayi occurs in south-eastern Peru, Amazonian Bolivia, north-eastern Paraguay and south-western Brazil, where it is common across the Pantanal region of southern Mato Grosso (del Hoyo et al. 1994).

This species is likely to be in decline owing to on-going habitat loss and hunting pressure; however, there is apparently no evidence that the rate of population decline approaches the threshold of 30% over 17 years. A formal assessment using the Amazonia forest loss analysis (Soares-Filho et al. 2006, Bird et al. 2011) is not put forward for this species, as less than 50% of its range falls within the geographical coverage of the forest loss model. However, it is noted that 42% of the species’s global extent of suitable habitat occurs within the model coverage, and of that 15-16% is projected to be lost over 17 years from 2002. If this rate of habitat loss were considered representative of its entire range, and additional declines were expected on the basis of hunting pressure, the overall rate of decline might be judged to approach 30% over 17 years, potentially qualifying the species as Near Threatened.

On this basis it is tentatively suggested that this species be listed as Near Threatened under criteria A2cd+3cd+4cd, on the basis that it may be undergoing a decline approaching 30% over 17 years.

P. cumanensis (as defined following the taxonomic change) has a very large range in northern South America, occurring in north-western Brazil, the Guianas, Venezuela south of the River Orinoco, Amazonian regions of central and eastern Colombia, eastern Ecuador, eastern Peru and northern Bolivia (del Hoyo et al. 1994). It is described as common in Ecuador and southern Peru and remains locally abundant in Suriname and Guyana (del Hoyo et al. 1994, Restall et al. 2006), but in French Guiana and north-eastern Peru it is rare and very local (del Hoyo et al. 1994). It is described as local in occurrence in Colombia and Amazonas, Venezuela (del Hoyo et al. 1994).

An assessment of Least Concern is suggested for this species in a separate topic that covers the use of a model of forest loss in the Amazon basin (Soares-Filho et al. 2006) to predict population trends in species largely occurring in the region (following Bird et al. 2011). Comments on that topic are invited regarding the species data used in the analysis and whether any of the species considered could qualify for a higher threat category based on their likely population size or other information.

Comments are invited on these suggested assessments and further information is requested.


Bird, J. P., Buchanan, J. M., Lees, A. C., Clay, R. P., Develey, P. F., Yépez, I. and Butchart, S. H. M. (2011) Integrating spatially explicit habitat projections into extinction risk assessments: a reassessment of Amazonian avifauna incorporating projected deforestation. Diversity and Distributions: doi: 10.1111/j.1472-4642.2011.00843.x.

del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A. and Sargatal, J. (1994) Handbook of the Birds of the World, vol. 2: New World Vultures to Guineafowl. Barcelona, Spain: Lynx Edicions.

Restall, R., Rodner, C. and Lentino, M. (2006) Birds of northern South America: an identification guide. Volume 1: species accounts. London, UK: Christopher Helm.

Soares-Filho, B. S., Nepstad, D. C., Curran, L. M., Cerqueira, G. C., Garcia, R. A., Ramos, C. A., Voll, E., McDonald, A., Lefebvre, P. and Schlesinger, P. (2006) Modelling conservation in the Amazon basin. Nature 440(7083): 520-523.

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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3 Responses to Archived 2014 discussion: Blue-throated Piping-guan (Pipile cumanensis) is being split: list P. grayi as Near Threatened and P. cumanensis as Least Concern?

  1. Pipile cumanensis grayi inhabits gallery forests in north east Paraguay and the Chaco-Pantanal region (Alto Paraguay Department), been the main population that along the Apa river border with Brazil in Concepción Department. In that area birds are still present in the same locations and are apparently surviving very well the increasing on population and deforestation. A new population was discovered on 2013 on the Apa river in a rather new settlement named Colonia 6 de Enero Apa (22º15’54” 56º54’06”) heavily impacted by human activity. The status of the species in the country is considered to be VU (SEAM 2006) a review made in 2011 resulted in this trend: VU-NT.

  2. Andy Symes says:

    Preliminary proposals

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

    P. grayi as Near Threatened, approaching the thresholds for classification as Vulnerable under criterion A2cd+3cd+4cd

    P. cumanensis as Least Concern.

    There is now a period for further comments until the final deadline of 14 May, 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.

  3. 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 in mid-2014, following further checking of information relevant to the assessments by BirdLife and IUCN.

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