Archived: How many subspecies have gone extinct in Asia?

Although BirdLife International does not yet have the capacity to assess global extinction risk at the subspecies level, we are currently working on a project to produce a synthesis of all bird taxa, at the species and subspecies level, that are known or thought to have gone extinct since 1500. This is the first time that subspecies extinctions have been systematically documented and analysed, and we hope that the results will provide new insights to support global efforts (including through the BirdLife Partnership) to conserve the world’s threatened birds.

Subspecies extinctions are generally not well documented, and so we would greatly appreciate any information and updates (including on recent surveys or rediscoveries) to support this effort. Attached is a spreadsheet of all Asian subspecies that we think likely to be extinct (for a list of Extinct and Possibly Extinct species, see here) Any feedback on the following would be exceedingly helpful:

  1. Is the date of extinction recorded appropriate? Where possible we have used the midpoint of the last definite record and the first unsuccessful survey that we are aware of. For other taxa we have had to follow other authors’ comments such as  ‘went extinct around 1910’. If you have any further information on records or surveys, or have a better estimate of extinction date than that given, this would be very helpful.
  2. For some taxa there is some uncertainty over whether they may still survive or have gone extinct (defined by IUCN as applying to taxa for which there is no reasonable doubt that the last individual has died, because adequate surveys have been undertaken in all known or likely habitat throughout the historic range). Following the approach taken by BirdLife and IUCN for species, we have therefore tagged some subspecies as ‘possibly extinct’ (PE) – likely to have gone extinct but for which confirmation is required, because, for example, surveys of its range have been inadequate, the taxon is particularly difficult to detect or identify, there have been recent unconfirmed reports, and/or there remains sufficient threat-free habitat where it could persist. Such taxa remain priorities for further searches. We would appreciate any input on whether subspecies in the attached list are appropriately classified as EX or PE, or indeed, whether any should be dropped from the list because they are likely (or have recently been confirmed) to survive.
  3. Are there any additional subspecies from the region that you think are likely to be extinct but which we have omitted? We would be extremely grateful to hear about them including, if possible, any details on the likely date of extinction, surveys that have been carried out, and drivers of extinction.

Click on the link below to download a list of the subspecies being reviewed:

Asian subspecies likely to be extinct

Please post your comments here under the main forum topic.

Any help you can provide will be much appreciated and of course acknowledged as appropriate.

Many thanks and best wishes,

Nyil Khwaja, Global Species Programme Assistant
Stuart Butchart, Global Research and Indicators Coordinator

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3 Responses to Archived: How many subspecies have gone extinct in Asia?

  1. Nyil Khwaja says:

    Added record for Ticao hornbill (Penelopides panini ticaensis) and considering Bongao tit (Parus elegans bongaoensis) and Polillo parrot (Tanygnathus sumatranus freeri) via correspondence with Desmond Allen.

  2. The Columba janthina nitens is not extinct, see this thread over at

  3. I definitely say or confirming that these species the White-bellied Woodpecker Dryocopus javensis cebuensis, Oriolus steerii assimilis, Coracina striata cebuensis, Coracina coerulescens altera are EX. We were not able to find and observed these species in all forest left in Cebu. However for the Amethyst Brown-dove Phapitreron amethystinus frontalis, I was able to observed this in Alcoy in 2008. The forest wardens in Alcoy also reported that the still saw this species and can positively differentiate with more common Phapitreron leucotis.

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