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.
Grey-faced Woodpecker Picus canus has been split into P. canus, P. guerini and P. dedemi following the application of criteria set out by Tobias et al. (2010).
Prior to this taxonomic change, P. canus (BirdLife species factsheet) was listed as Least Concern on the basis that it was not thought to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under any of the IUCN criteria. This species was estimated to have an extremely large range, and hence did not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence of less than 20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline was not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (at least a 30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is extremely large, and hence was not thought to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (fewer than 10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be at least 10% over ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure).
P. dedemi is endemic to Sumatra, where it occurs in forest and woodland habitats in montane areas (Winkler et al. 1995, del Hoyo et al. 2002). Deforestation and forest degradation are occurring rapidly in Sumatra, with 35.7% of the primary forest cover in 1990 lost by 2010, and an additional 11% of primary forest cover in 1990 degraded by 2010, although much primary forest in highland areas remains intact (Margono et al. 2012). The species may warrant listing as Near Threatened under criteria A2c+3c+4c, on the basis that it could be in moderately rapid population decline (approaching 30% over three generations [c.17 years]) owing to on-going habitat loss and degradation. The rate of decline is not thought to be more rapid because the species shows some tolerance of habitat modification and fragmentation, and occurs in montane areas, thus it is not exposed to the most rapid rates of deforestation in the region.
P. canus (as defined following the taxonomic change, and incorporating jessoensis) is widely distributed from Western Europe to East Asia, and P. guerini (incorporating all other forms) is widespread in central, eastern and southern China, Hainan and Chinese Taiwan, the northern Indian Subcontinent and throughout much of continental South-East Asia. They are both likely to warrant listing as Least Concern, on the basis that they are not thought to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under any of the IUCN criteria.
Comments are invited on these suggested categories 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.
Margono, B. A., Turubanova, S., Zhuravleva, 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. doi:10.1088/1748-9326/7/3/034010
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.
Winkler, H., Christie, D. A. and Nurney, D. (1995) Woodpeckers: a guide to the woodpeckers, piculets and wrynecks of the world. Robertsbridge, U.K.: Pica Press.