This is part of a consultation on the Red List implications of extensive changes to BirdLife’s taxonomy for passerines
Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International will soon publish the second volume of 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 2 of the checklist (for passerines) will begin to be incorporated into the 2016 Red List update, with the remainder 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.
Meves’s Glossy Starling Lamprotornis mevesii is being split into L. mevesii, L.violacior and L. benguelensis, following the application of criteria set out by Tobias et al. (2010).
Prior to this taxonomic change, L. mevesii was listed as Least Concern, on the basis that it did not approach the threshold for Vulnerable under any criterion. L. mevesii (as now defined following the taxonomic change) is found in open woodland in the extreme south-east of Angola and north-east of Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and the extreme north of South Africa (Craig and Feare 2016). It may be common to ‘locally very common’ in relatively unpopulated areas in the east of its range (Craig and Feare 2016). L. violacior is found in open woodland in Namibia and south-western Angola, and can be considered locally common (Craig and Feare 2016). The pre-split species was not considered threatened in Namibia (see Environmental Information Service Namibia: http://www.the-eis.com/atlas/), and as L. violacior now represents most of the pre-split species in Namibia it is suspected that this species is not threatened in that country. Any population trends for these species are uncertain, because of the uncertainty over the effects of habitat modification on population sizes. Therefore, it is unlikely that either species approaches the threshold for Vulnerable under any criterion. Therefore, they warrant listing as Least Concern.
L. benguelensis favours open miombo woodland, and is found only in the south-west of Angola (Craig and Feare 2016). The pre-split species was locally common in Angola (Craig and Feare 2016) but the population size of the newly split species has not been quantified and the population trend is uncertain, because of the uncertainty over the effects of habitat modification on population sizes. From density estimates of congeners, and assuming that not all of its range is occupied, its population is unlikely to approach the threshold for Vulnerable. It is also unlikely to approach the threshold under any other criteria and so in the absence of any further information this species would warrant listing as Least Concern. We do however request any further information regarding population size and trends in this species.
Craig, A. and Feare, C. 2016. Meves’s Long-tailed Starling (Lamprotornis mevesii). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from http://www.hbw.com/node/60895 on 27 September 2016).
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.