Archived 2014 discussion: Salvadori’s Pheasant (Lophura inornata) and Aceh Pheasant (L. hoogerwerfi) are being lumped as L. inornata: list as Near Threatened or Vulnerable?

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.

Salvadori’s Pheasant Lophura inornata and Aceh Pheasant L. hoogerwerfi are being lumped as L. inornata, following the application of criteria set out by Tobias et al. (2010).

Prior to the taxonomic change, both L. inornata (BirdLife species factsheet) and L. hoogerwerfi (BirdLife species factsheet) were listed as Vulnerable under criterion C2, on the basis that they were estimated to each have populations of fewer than 10,000 mature individuals, inferred to be in continuing decline owing to hunting pressure and the clearance of mid-elevation forests, with all subpopulations of L. inornata thought to number fewer than 1,000 mature individuals (criterion C2a[i]) and all mature individuals in the L. hoogerwerfi population thought to form a single subpopulation (criterion C2a[ii]).

L. inornata (as defined following the taxonomic change, and thus incorporating hoogerwerfi) may be distributed throughout the highlands of Sumatra, based on records and possible sightings of inornata and hoogerwerfi (see factsheets).The species inhabits foothill and lower montane forest, and may occur in upper montane forest in parts of its range. It tolerates some modified habitats, as there are possible sightings of hoogerwerfi from a timber plantation and reports from forest edge and agricultural areas (M. Iqbal in litt. 2010, van Balen et al. 2011) and, although inornata is thought to prefer unlogged primary forest, it also frequents disturbed areas in close proximity to primary forest.

The species’s population is inferred to be in decline as a result of on-going habitat fragmentation and degradation and hunting pressure. However, the likely rates of decline in the populations of inornata and hoogerwerfi have apparently not been estimated previously. Much of the forest within the lower reaches of the elevation range of inornata around Kerinci has already been cleared for shifting agriculture (see factsheet). Apparently suitable habitat within the putative range of hoogerwerfi has been reduced and fragmented below elevations of 1,000-1,500 m, owing to agricultural encroachment, large-scale timber extraction, and probably also wildfires especially during droughts.

The species is known to be the subject of trapping and hunting pressure, with at least 20 individuals recorded in a bird market in Medan since 1998 (Shepherd et al. 2004, Shepherd 2006, Shepherd and Nijman 2009), and a pair found for sale in Tele in 2010 (van Balen et al. 2011). Hunting pressure is thought to have caused declines in parts of the range of inornata, although it still occurs in heavily settled areas and thus appears to be resilient to some amount of trapping pressure (F. Lambert in litt. 2008).

It is possible that following the taxonomic change, L. inornata has a population of fewer than 10,000 mature individuals, inferred to be in continuing decline; however, it is necessary to obtain more information on the likely overall population size, and the likely subpopulation structure (number of mature individuals in the largest subpopulation or percentage of all mature individuals that form a single subpopulation). The species could qualify as Near Threatened or Vulnerable under criterion C2.

Rates of forest loss in Sumatra are very rapid, with overall losses according to some sources amounting to 28-29% between 1985 and 1997 (see FWI/GFW 2002), with c.36% of primary forest cover in 1990 lost by 2010 (including degraded primary forest) (Margono et al. 2012) and 23.7% of overall forest cover in 2000 lost by 2010 (Miettinen et al. 2011). However, this species occurs at elevations where forests are likely to be less threatened compared to lowland areas, and it tolerates some types of habitat modification, thus it may be buffered to some extent from the impacts of overall forest loss in Sumatra.

This species is thought to have a generation length of five years, thus a three-generation trend period of 15 years. Given the combined and interacting effects of habitat fragmentation and hunting pressure, the population could be undergoing a decline approaching 30% over 15 years, in which case it is likely to qualify as Near Threatened under criterion A. Any evidence that it is declining by 30-49% over 15 years may warrant listing of the species as Vulnerable under this criterion.

Comments are invited and further information would be welcomed.


FWI/GFW (2002) The state of the forest: Indonesia. Bogor, Indonesia and Washington D.C.: Forest Watch Indonesia and Global Forest Watch.

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

Miettinen, J., Chenghua Shi and Soo Chin Liew (2011) Deforestation rates in insular Southeast Asia between 2000 and 2010. Global Change Biology 17: 2261–2270.

Shepherd, C. (2006) The bird trade in Medan, north Sumatra: an overview. BirdingASIA 5: 16–24.

Shepherd, C. R. and Nijman, V. (2009) Trade of Galliformes in Indonesia. The International Newsletter of the World Pheasant Association 82: 6.

Shepherd, C. R., Sukumaran, J. and Wich, S. A. (2004) Open season: an analysis of the pet trade in Medan, Sumatra, 1997-2001. TRAFFIC Southeast Asia, Selangor, Malaysia.

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.

van Balen, S., Noske, R. and Supriatna, A. A. (2011) Around the Archipelago. Kukila 15: 126–143.

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3 Responses to Archived 2014 discussion: Salvadori’s Pheasant (Lophura inornata) and Aceh Pheasant (L. hoogerwerfi) are being lumped as L. inornata: list as Near Threatened or Vulnerable?

  1. John Corder says:

    In the Tring Natural History Museum, there are skins of female Salvadori’s where the markings on the breast feathers appear to differ, depending on whether the birds were taken high or low on Mount Kerinci. The same difference in markings can also been seen on birds in the Raffles collection in Singapore. Both sets of birds were collected by the same collectors Robinson& Kloss. It is not for me to speculate whether Salvadori’s and Hoogerworf’s might be altitudinal variations of the same species.

  2. Joe Taylor says:

    Preliminary proposals

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

    L. inornata as Near Threatened under criteria A2cd+3cd+4cd

    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 categorisation to be put forward to IUCN

    Following further review, there has been no change to our preliminary proposals for the 2014 Red List status of this species.

    The final categorisation will be published later in 2014, following further checking of information relevant to the assessment by BirdLife and IUCN.

Comments are closed.