Archived 2016 topics: Scarlet-breasted Lorikeet Trichoglossus forsteni: uplist from Near Threatened to Vulnerable?

Following the split of Scarlet-breasted Lorikeet (BirdLife species factsheet) from Rainbow Lorikeet (Collar et al. 2014) the species was assessed as Near Threatened on the basis that the population was thought to be undergoing a moderately rapid decline owing to unsustainable levels of exploitation, however it was not believed that this decline exceeded the thresholds for listing as Vulnerable (30-49% decline within three generations [17.1 years]).

An evaluation of the status of the taxa comprising the species indicates that the species may now no longer occur on Bali, has become extinct on Tanahjampea following trapping principally prior to 1990 and it is unclear if it persists on Kalatoa (Eaton et al. 2015). On Lombok the species does still occur, with a recent observation of a flock of 18 above 1,500 m in 2015 (F. Rheindt per Eaton et al. 2015), though given the lack of other records for many decades it can be assumed that the population is likely to be small. Sumbawa may now be the stronghold of the species, and the species was suggested to be ‘secure’ (Eaton et al. 2015), and there is a large area of potentially suitable habitat remaining on the island.

The species was well known in the bird trade in the past, with many making their way to Europe during the 20th century (Eaton et al. 2015), however it was not recorded during the recent three day inventory of Javan bird markets (Chng et al. 2015). Given the modern-day rarity of populations at the western end of the species’ distribution it is possible that this market has dried up. More recent trapping was clearly taking place in the east of the range and it is suspected that populations of species from further east are traded through a different network of markets (Chng et al. 2015).

There is no current estimate of the population size. Clearly the numbers present on Sumbawa are key to assessing the status of the species. On the basis that the total population is below 10,000 mature individuals, with fewer than 1,000 mature individuals present on Sumbawa, then it is proposed that the species qualifies for listing as Vulnerable under criterion C2a(ii), on the basis that the species is also suspected to be undergoing a continuing decline.

Better information regarding likely population size is keenly needed.



Chng, S. C. L., Eaton, J. A., Krishnasamy, K., Shepherd, C. R. & Nijman, V. 2015. In the market for extinction: an inventory of Jakarta’s bird markets. Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia: TRAFFIC.

del Hoyo, J.; Collar, N. J.; Christie, D. A.; Elliott, A.; Fishpool, L. D. C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Lynx Edicions BirdLife International.

Eaton, J.A., Shepherd, C.R., Rheindt, F.E., Harris, J.B.C., van Balen, S. (B.), Wilcove, D.S. and Collar, N.J. 2015. Trade-driven extinctions and near-extinctions of avian taxa in Sundaic Indonesia. Forktail 31: 1-12.


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4 Responses to Archived 2016 topics: Scarlet-breasted Lorikeet Trichoglossus forsteni: uplist from Near Threatened to Vulnerable?

  1. James Eaton says:

    Given the lack of any sizable populations in the wild for several years now, and the widespread local extinctions of the species, should it be better listed as Endangered? the lack of records in bird markets presumably means a lack of birds being trapped due to the low numbers, of species from Sumbawa and Lombok are regularly found in trade throughout Java (pers obs).

  2. Serene Chng says:

    This species was also not recorded in an inventory of five markets in Surabaya, Malang and Yogyakarta in June 2015 although other eastern Indonesian species (including multiple Loriidae species) were recorded (Chng and Eaton, 2016), nor in Bandung in September 2016.

    Unfortunately, as Trichoglossus forstenii is listed on CITES Appendix II as T. haematodus, information for subspecies level is unavailable there is no way to differentiate the proportion of trade that is of T. forstenii.

    Chng, S.C.L. & Eaton, J.A. (2016). In the Market for Extinction: eastern and central Java. TRAFFIC. Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia.

  3. Rob Martin (BirdLife International) says:

    Much of the decline in the species appears to have occurred prior to three generations before present, while still considered part of T. haematodus. This has clearly reduced populations to concerning levels, but the presence of an apparently ‘secure’ population on Sumbawa and continued presence in small numbers on Lombok is assumed to represent two subpopulations. Defining what the population may be presently on Sumbawa is key to the status of the species, but it has been assumed here that it exceeds 250 mature individuals (the threshold for listing as Endangered under Criterion C2a(i)).
    On this basis, the preliminary proposal for the species is accepted.

    Preliminary proposals

    Based on available information, our preliminary proposal for the 2016 Red List would be to adopt the proposed classifications outlined in the initial forum discussion.
    There is now a period for further comments until the final deadline of 28 October, after which the recommended categorisations will be put forward to IUCN.

    Please note that we will then only post final recommended categorisations on forum discussions where these differ from those in the initial proposal.

    The final 2016 Red List categories will be published on the BirdLife and IUCN websites in early December, following further checking of information relevant to the assessments by both BirdLife and IUCN.

  4. Rob Martin (BirdLife International) says:

    Comments have been received from Burung Indonesia (in litt. 2016) supporting the uplisting of this species to Vulnerable.

Comments are closed.