Archived 2014 discussion: Ringed Woodpecker (Celeus torquatus) is being split: request for information on C. tinnunculus, and list C. torquatus as Near Threatened and C. occidentalis as Least Concern?

The initial deadline for comments on this topic is 28 April 2014, and therefore later than for most other topics currently under discussion.

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.

Ringed Woodpecker Celeus torquatus is being split into C. torquatus, C. occidentalis and C. tinnunculus, following the application of criteria set out by Tobias et al. (2010).

Prior to this taxonomic change, C. torquatus (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.

C. tinnunculus is restricted to forest remnants in the states of Bahia and Espírito Santo in eastern Brazil (Winkler et al. 1995). The extensive loss of Brazil’s Atlantic forests suggests that this species is in decline, with deforestation said to have been particularly severe since the early 1970s (Tabarelli et al. 2005). It has been estimated that 7-12% remains of the original extent of Atlantic Forest in Brazil (Tabarelli et al. 2005, Ribeiro et al. 2009), some of which now exists in ‘archipelagos’ of tiny and widely scattered fragments (Tabarelli et al. 2005). In the Bahia biogeographical sub-region, c.17% of original forest remains, with only 4.2% of this protected (Ribeiro et al. 2009). Across the Atlantic Forest region in Brazil, it has been estimated that 42% of the total area of remaining forest exists in fragments of less than 250 ha (Ribeiro et al. 2009).

Information is requested on the likely rate of population decline in this species, as estimated, projected or suspected over a period of 15 years (estimate of three generations) into the past or future. The response of the population will of course be influenced by the species’s level of forest dependence and its tolerance of secondary forest and forest edge (e.g. Metzger et al. 2009), thus information on these factors is also invited.

The thresholds under the A criterion are a 25-29% decline for Near Threatened, 30-49% for Vulnerable, 50-79% for Endangered and at least 80% for Critically Endangered. If the species is estimated to number fewer than, or approaching as few as, 10,000 mature individuals, it should also be considered for listing under criterion C2.

C. occidentalis is widespread across the Amazon basin to southern Colombia and Venezuela in the north, eastern Ecuador and Peru and northern Bolivia in the west, central Mato Grosso in the south and central Pará in the east.

C. torquatus is fairly widespread in north-eastern South America, from eastern Venezuela to Tocantins and Maranhão in the south.

C. torquatus (as defined following the taxonomic change) and C. occidentalis have been assessed against a model of forest loss in the Amazon basin (Soares-Filho et al. 2006, Bird et al. 2011), and suggested categories of Near Threatened under criterion A4c and Least Concern, respectively, are put forward in a separate topic. In that discussion, input is invited on the data used in the analysis, the suggested categories and whether any of these species are likely to qualify for higher threat categories based on their likely population sizes.

Comments are invited on these proposed categories and further information would be welcomed.


Bird, J. P., Buchanan, G. M., Lees, A. C., Clay, R. P., Develey. P. F., Yépez, I. and Butchart, S. H. M. (2011) Integrating spatially explicit habitat projections into extinction risk assessments: a reassessment of Amazonian avifauna incorporating projected deforestation. Diversity and Distributions DOI: 10.1111/j.1472 4642.2011.00843.x.

Metzger, J. P., Martensen, A. C., Dixo, M., Bernacci, L. C., Ribeiro, M. C., Godoy Teixeira, A. M. and Pardini, R. (2009) Time-lag in biological responses to landscape changes in a highly dynamic Atlantic forest region. Biological Conservation 142: 1166–1177.

Ribeiro, M. C., Metzger, J. P., Martensen, A. C., Ponzoni, F. J. and Hirota, M. M. (2009) The Brazilian Atlantic Forest: How much is left, and how is the remaining forest distributed? Implications for conservation. Biological Conservation 142: 1141–1153.

Soares-Filho, B. S., Nepstad, D. C., Curran, L. M., Cerqueira, G. C., Garcia, R. A., Ramos, C. A., Voll, E., McDonald, A., Lefebvre, P. and Schlesinger, P. (2006) Modelling conservation in the Amazon basin. Nature 440: 520–523.

Tabarelli, M., Pinto, L. P., Silva, J. M. C., Hirota, M. and Bedê, L. (2005) Challenges and Opportunities for Biodiversity Conservation in the Brazilian Atlantic Forest. Conservation Biology 19(3): 695–700.

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.

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3 Responses to Archived 2014 discussion: Ringed Woodpecker (Celeus torquatus) is being split: request for information on C. tinnunculus, and list C. torquatus as Near Threatened and C. occidentalis as Least Concern?

  1. The taxonomic status of Celeus torquatus pieteroyensis is unresolved, this taxon is apparently endemic to the Belem Centre of Endemism where it is very rare + apparently Marajo (where it is less threatened). Ringed Woodpeckers in general occur at low densities and are closely associated with closed canopy, high basal area forests, which are demonstrably in short supply in the central Atlantic Forest….

  2. Andy Symes says:

    Preliminary proposals

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

    C. torquatus as Near Threatened, approaching the thresholds for classification as Vulnerable under criterion A4c

    C. tinnunculus as Vulnerable under criterion A2c+3c+4c

    C. occidentalis as Least Concern.

    There is now a period for further comments until the final deadline of 14 May, 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 in mid-2014, following further checking of information relevant to the assessments by BirdLife and IUCN.

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