Archived 2014 discussion: Brown Barbet (Calorhamphus fuliginosus) is being split: list both C. fuliginosus and C. hayii 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.

Brown Barbet Calorhamphus fuliginosus is being split into C. fuliginosus and C. hayii, following the application of criteria set out by Tobias et al. (2010).

Prior to this taxonomic change, C. fuliginosus (BirdLife species factsheet) was listed as being of Least Concern, on the basis that it was not thought to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under any of the IUCN Red List criteria.

C. fuliginosus (as defined following the taxonomic change, and incorporating tertius) occurs in primary forest and some modified habitats in the lowlands of Borneo, while C. hayii is found in similar habitats in the Thai-Malay Peninsula and Sumatra (Short and Horne 2001, del Hoyo et al. 2002).

Given the estimated three-generation trend period of c.26 years for these species and rates of forest loss in the region, it is possible that they are undergoing moderately rapid population declines. Rates of forest loss between 2000 and 2010 have been estimated at 23.7% for Sumatra, 12.0% for Borneo and 8.2% for Peninsular Malaysia (Miettinen et al. 2011). Both species could qualify as Near Threatened under criteria A2c+3c+4c, if they are suspected to be undergoing declines approaching 30% over three generations (c.26 years).

Comments are invited and further information would be welcomed.


del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A. and Sargatal, J. (2002) Handbook of the birds of the world, Vol 7: Jacamars to Woodpeckers. Barcelona, Spain: Lynx Edicions.

Miettinen, J., Chenghua Shi and Soo Chin Liew (2011) Deforestation rates in insular Southeast Asia between 2000 and 2010. Global Change Biology 17: 2261–2270.

Short, L. and Horne, J. (2001) Toucans, Barbets and Honeyguides: Ramphastidae, Capitonidae and Indicatoridae. Oxford, UK: Oxford 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: Brown Barbet (Calorhamphus fuliginosus) is being split: list both C. fuliginosus and C. hayii as Near Threatened?

  1. Ding Li Yong says:

    Both taxa appears relatively insensitive to selective logging, and can remain relatively common even recently logged forests (e.g. Panti forest reserve, Johor) or 20-year old logged forests in Tasik Kenyir, Terengganu. In Panti which is a mosaic of mostly logged lowland dipterocarp and freshwater swamp forest, C. hayii is encountered on most visits there. It also appears relatively common in the logged forests surrounding the Danum Valley Conservation Area and abundances in twice-logged forests appear very similar to that in unlogged forests (Edwards et al. 2010). I have also observed the C. fuliginosus in heavily degraded scrub abutting the Semenggoh forest reserve in south Sarawak in 2010 and 2011.

    Elsewhere in Peninsular Malaysia, Peh et al. (2005) and (2006) also found C. hayii in rubber plantations, mixed agriculture landscapes and secondary forests, suggesting tolerance to habitat modification. In general, both taxa are certainly able to persist in degraded forests/plantations, albeit at lower densities. Since a lot of logged forests remain in Peninsular Malaysia and Borneo, the species is likely to remain relatively common, and is one of the most easily-detected barbets. Moreover its use of the canopy during foraging means that it is less sensitive to micro-climatic changes which affect other understorey birds in Sundaic forests. In view of available evidence, it is adequate to retain both taxa as least concern.

  2. Joe Taylor says:

    Margono et al. (2012) estimate 21.11 million ha of intact and degraded primary forest on Sumatra in 1990, and that 7.54 million ha of this had been lost by 2010, suggesting that primary forest on Sumatra was lost at a rate of c.36% over 20 years.


    Margono, B. A., Turubanova, S., Zhuraleva, I., Potapov, P., Tyukavina, A., Baccini, A., Goetz, S. and Hansen, M. C. (2012) Mapping and monitoring deforestation and forest degradation in Sumatra (Indonesia) using Landsat time series data sets from 1990 to 2010. Environmental Research Letters 7: 034010.

  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:

    C. fuliginosus as Least Concern

    C. hayii as Near Threatened under criteria A2c+3c+4c

    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.

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