Archived 2014 discussion: Comments are invited on suggested Red List categories for a suite of newly-defined species occurring in Amazonia, according to predicted declines based on projected forest loss

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.

BirdLife’s taxonomic treatment of a number of taxa occurring in the Amazonia region has been revised following the application of criteria set out by Tobias et al. (2010).

The initial Red List assessments for these newly-defined species have been carried out based on predicted population trends derived from projected forest loss, in line with the methods of Bird et al. (2011).

To date, c.18% of Amazonia’s tropical forest has been cleared (INPE 2011) and models have been developed projecting up to 40% forest loss by 2050 (Soares-Filho et al. 2006). A recent study used these published models to project rates of population decline in Amazonian birds (Bird et al. 2011), and apply these to the Red List A4 criterion.

The A4 criterion has thresholds for observed, estimated, inferred, projected or suspected population reduction (up to a maximum of 100 years) where the time period must include both the past and the future, and where the causes of reduction may not have ceased or may not be understood or may not be reversible’ (IUCN 2001, 2014). The thresholds for declines over 10 years or three generations (whichever is longer), are: ≥80% for Critically Endangered, ≥50% for Endangered and ≥30% for Vulnerable.

BirdLife International’s distribution maps for newly-defined species were used to identify those for which more than 50% of their global range lies within the limits of Amazonia (see Bird et al. 2011 for details) and which are thought to have ‘medium’ or ‘high’ forest dependence.

Generation lengths, based on those from BirdLife’s World Bird Database, were used to define three-generation trend periods for the calculation of population trends and application of criterion A4. Percentage population reductions were calculated based upon the proportion of forest (Extent of Suitable Habitat/ESH) projected to be lost within each species’ range over three generations, beginning in 2002 and extending into the future, under the optimistic (Governance/GOV) and pessimistic (Business As Usual/BAU) deforestation scenarios from Soares-Filho et al. (2006).

The attached excel table presents data for 64 species that are largely restricted to Amazonia (i.e. >50% of their suitable habitat is in Amazonia) and which are thought to show high or medium forest dependence. These data include estimated generation lengths (taken from the previously recognised species), projected population trends (including adjustment for those species more susceptible to fragmentation, edge-effects and hunting), and suggested IUCN Red List categories (see Bird et al. 2011 for further details).

Please note that this spreadsheet does not contain a comprehensive list of the newly-defined species that largely occur in Amazonia – a few other taxonomic changes will receive individual forum topics.

Spreadsheet for download: Suggested Red List categories for newly-defined species in Amazonia

We are seeking comments on the following issues:

1. Are any of these species likely to qualify for a higher Red List category owing to their population size (C and D criteria)?

2. Is the classification of forest dependence correct?

3. Is the classification of susceptibility to edge-effects, fragmentation and hunting correct?

4. Does the generation length estimate seem reasonable?

5. Is the deforestation rate in the non-Amazonian part of the species’s range likely to approach or exceed that projected in the Amazon?

6. Does the suggested Red List classification seem reasonable?


Bird, J. P., Buchanan, G. 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.

INPE (2011) Monitoramento da Floresta Amazônica Brasileira por Satélite: Projeto PRODES (in Portuguese). Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais, Saõ José dos Campos, Saõ Paulo. Available at: (accessed 15 June 2011).

IUCN (2001) IUCN Red List categories and criteria: version 3.1. IUCN Species Survival Commission. International Union for the Conservation of Nature: Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK.

IUCN (2014) Guidelines for Using the IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria. Version 11.0. Prepared by the Standards and Petitions Subcommittee of the IUCN Species Survival Commission. Available at: and

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. & Schlesinger, P. (2006) Modelling conservation in the Amazon basin. Nature 440: 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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2 Responses to Archived 2014 discussion: Comments are invited on suggested Red List categories for a suite of newly-defined species occurring in Amazonia, according to predicted declines based on projected forest loss

  1. Andy Symes says:

    Preliminary proposals

    Based on available information, our preliminary proposals for the 2014 Red List would be to list all species under the suggested categories proposed in the spreadsheet.

    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.

  2. 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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