Archived 2014 discussion: Olive-throated Parakeet (Aratinga nana) is being split: list A. nana as Near Threatened?

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.

Olive-throated Parakeet Aratinga nana is being split into A. nana and A. astec, following the application of criteria set out by Tobias et al. (2010).

Prior to this taxonomic change, A. nana (BirdLife species factsheet) was listed as being of Least Concern, on the basis that it was not thought to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under any of the IUCN Red List criteria.

A. nana (as defined following the taxonomic change) is endemic as a native species to Jamaica, where it is most common in middle elevation wet limestone forests (Juniper and Parr 1998, Forshaw 2006). In lowland areas, it is also common in drier woodland or scrubland, cultivation with remnant trees and urban parks or gardens (Forshaw 2006). It has apparently become more restricted in range (Wiley 1991) and has probably declined owing to habitat loss through forest clearance (del Hoyo et al. 1997, Juniper and Parr 1998). It has also been persecuted as a crop pest on the island (del Hoyo et al. 1997).

It is suggested that it be listed as Near Threatened under criterion C2a(ii), on the basis that it probably has a moderately small population (approaching as few as 10,000 mature individuals), all in a single subpopulation, which is inferred to be in continuing decline owing to habitat loss and degradation, and persecution. It may also qualify as Near Threatened under criterion A if there is evidence that its population has or will decline at a rate approaching 30% over 21 years (estimate of three generations), and possibly under criterion B1ab(iii,v), as it occupies a small range (with an Extent of Occurrence estimated at c.11,000 km2); however, this would be contingent on the species being restricted to fewer than 20 locations or its habitat being judged to be at least very fragmented (approaching 50% existing as patches too small to support viable populations).

A. astec is widespread in Middle America, being distributed mainly along the Caribbean slope from central Tamaulipas, Mexico, in the north, ranging south and east to Bocas del Toro in north-western Panama. It inhabits a variety of wooded habitats, from margins or clearings in humid forest to deciduous woodland, scrubland, plantations and agricultural lands with scattered trees (Forshaw 2006). It is locally common to scarce at the extremities of its range (Forshaw 2006), including Costa Rica and Panama (where it is possibly a seasonal visitor from south of Limón), and is thought likely to have declined in Costa Rica owing to habitat loss (Juniper and Parr 1998). However, it is generally common to abundant across the rest of its range, and is described as the most numerous parrot in some regions, such as the Yucatán Peninsula, Mexico (Forshaw 2006).

It is likely to be listed as being of Least Concern, on the basis that it is not thought to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under any of the IUCN criteria.

Comments on these suggested categories and further information would be welcomed.


del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A. and Sargatal, J. (1997) Handbook of the birds of the world, Vol 4: Sandgrouse to Cuckoos. Barcelona, Spain: Lynx Edicions.

Forshaw, J. M. (2006) Parrots of the World. Princeton, NJ and Oxford, UK: Princeton University Press.

Juniper, T. and Parr, M. (1998) Parrots: a guide to the parrots of the world. Robertsbridge, UK: Pica Press.

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.

Wiley, J. W. (1991) Status of conservation of parrots and parakeets in the Greater Antilles, Bahama Islands, and Cayman Islands. Bird Conservation International 1: 187-214.

Comments from Catherine Levy and Susan Koenig, sent on 12 February 2014: Aratinga nana status Levy & Koenig Feb14

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3 Responses to Archived 2014 discussion: Olive-throated Parakeet (Aratinga nana) is being split: list A. nana as Near Threatened?

  1. Joe Taylor says:

    Comments were sent by Catherine Levy and Susan Koenig on 12 February 2014. These comments can be viewed as a PDF via the link below the references in the forum topic.

  2. Joe Taylor says:

    Preliminary proposals

    Based on available information and comments posted above, our preliminary proposals for the 2014 Red List would be to treat:

    A. nana as Near Threatened under criterion C2a(ii)

    A. astec as Least Concern

    There is now a period for further comments until the final deadline of 31 March, 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.

  3. 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 later in 2014, following further checking of information relevant to the assessments by BirdLife and IUCN.

Comments are closed.