Archived 2010-2011 topics: Goldie’s Bird-of-paradise (Paradisaea decora): uplist to Endangered?

Link to BirdLife species factsheet for Goldie’s Bird-of-paradise

Goldie’s Bird-of-paradise Paradisaea decora is currently classified as Near Threatened under criterion C1 because it was suspected to have a moderately small population that was believed to be declining. Research into the species’s distribution and ecology has found the entire global population to be confined to undisturbed forest habitats on Ferguson (1,340 km2) and Normanby (1,040 km2) Islands in the D’Entrecasteaux archipelago of east Papua New Guinea. David Mitchell (in litt. 2007) has provided the following information about the species:

“Ferguson Island (FI) 500 individuals maximum, found in 6 major sub populations. (Maybole Mountain, Oya Tabu Mountain, Edagwaba Mountain, Sebutuia Bay lowlands, Lavu Lowlands, Lamonai); Normanby Island (NI) 150 individuals maximum in 5 major subpopulations (Lomitawa, Mount Solomonai, inland Sewa, Lonana, and Mount Hobia) Within these subpopulations distribution of the species is fragmented often in groups of 10 individuals. Population reduction of 2 subpopulations one on FI and 1 on NI known to be 20% in the last 10 years from survey figures, owing to habitat conversion to gardens in a subsistence agriculture/fallow mosaic. Pressures from increasing human population which doubles every 32 years.”

This evidence suggests that the species should be uplisted to Endangered meeting criterion C2ai with a global population of fewer than 2,500 individuals and no one sub-population supporting more than 250 individuals, and experiencing an ongoing decline. The species would also qualify as Endangered under criterion B1 as its global Extent of Occurrence is less than 5,000 km2, if its forest habitat is considered severely fragmented. Comments on this proposal, including assessment of the degree of fragmentation of remaining habitats are welcomed.

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5 Responses to Archived 2010-2011 topics: Goldie’s Bird-of-paradise (Paradisaea decora): uplist to Endangered?

  1. Joe Taylor says:

    Guy Dutson posted this comment on 16 September 2008:

    I would be cautious about using the criteria of ‘fragmentation’: congeners are tolerant of secondary and patchy habitat, and presumably disperse readily between patches, with displaying males often occuring in small patches of habitat. Some more information on the altitudinal range of this species (reported as abovre 300m to at least 600m at probably considerably higher in Frith & Beehler 1998 The birds of pardise) and the altitudinal range threatened by clearance for gardens would be useful. Maps of forest cover and fragmentation ould be very useful.

  2. Joe Taylor says:

    Mark van Biers has provided the following note (posted by Admin on 5 February 2009):

    I was in the D’Entrecasteaux Islands in 2005 and we had planned to return there last year, but stormy weather sabotaged our plans and we were stuck in Alotau, waiting for better weather to cross over to Fergusson Island. So, I don’t have any recent information on the status of Goldie’s Bird of Paradise. Your text seems to be in total accordance of what we learnt on our visit in 2005.

  3. Joe Taylor says:

    Phil Gregory has provided the following note (posted by Admin on 26 January 2010):

    I would regard Goldie’s as Threatened due simply to small range and exploding human population, which means inevitably forest clearance and disturbance. I would not be too insouciant about congeners adapting to disturbed habitat either, that’s a big maybe and these small island species might be less resilient.

  4. Joe Taylor says:

    Bruce Beehler posted this comment on 18 February 2010:

    I would love to see the detailed demographic analysis of Goldie’s published or at least circulated before listing as Endangered. Determining sizes of paradisaeid populations is very difficult, and I am unaware of any single species being so analyzed – in this case Goldie’s would be a first. No other Paradisaea (except maybe Blue which is distinct (‘Paradisornis’) is threatened, not even rubra from the Raja Ampats. I would be most surprised if Goldie’s would truly qualify as Endangered. Bruce Beehler

  5. Joe Taylor says:

    The following comment was received from Jon Hornbuckle on 29 January 2011 in reaction to this topic:

    Yes, scarce and very restricted range

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