Archived 2014 discussion: Scarlet-fronted Parakeet (Aratinga wagleri) is being split: request for information

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.

Scarlet-fronted Parakeet Aratinga wagleri is being split into A. wagleri and A. frontata, following the application of criteria set out by Tobias et al. (2010).

Prior to this taxonomic change, A. wagleri (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. The population of the pre-split species was regarded as stable in the former Red List assessment; however, Juniper and Parr (1998) note that range contraction has occurred in some regions, such as in Colombia, owing to habitat loss, and that the species is trapped for the cagebird trade. The pre-split species was regarded as patchily common, even abundant, but scarce or absent in many areas, especially in the south of its range (Juniper and Parr 1998).

A. frontata (incorporating minor) is found from south-western Ecuador to extreme southern Peru, occurring in semi-arid cloudforest, scrub and cultivation, to 3,000 m in Peru (Juniper and Parr 1998, Schulenberg et al. 2007). It is described as very rare in Ecuador and declining across much of its range (Forshaw 2006). The species is sold in bird markets in at least some areas of Peru, but is apparently not among the most commonly occurring Psittacid species in local trade (Gastañaga et al. 2011).

A. wagleri (as defined following the taxonomic change, and incorporating transilis) is found in western Colombia and northern Venezuela, where it occurs in moist and humid forest, secondary growth, cultivated areas, including coffee plantations and cornfields where it is a pest, generally to 2,000 m (Juniper and Parr 1998, Hilty 2003). It is described as a fairly common but now somewhat local resident in Venezuela, with present numbers said to be doubtless much reduced (Hilty 2003), and declines likely in other parts of its range (Forshaw 2006).

From available information, it is not clear whether either of these newly-defined species could qualify as Near Threatened or Vulnerable. Under criterion A, these species would be eligible to be listed as Near Threatened if they were estimated, suspected or projected to undergo declines approaching 30% over 21 years (estimate of three generations) in the past or future. If declines were thought to be 30-49% over 21 years, they could qualify as Vulnerable under the same criterion.

Comments are invited and further information is requested.


Forshaw, J. M. (2006) Parrots of the world: an identification guide. Princeton, NJ and Oxford, UK: Princeton University Press.

Gastañaga, M., MacLeod, R., Hennessey, B., Urgate Núñez, J., Puse, E., Arrascue, A., Hoyos, J., Maldonado Chambi, W., Vasquez, J. and Engblom, G. (2011) A study of the parrot trade in Peru and the potential importance of internal trade for threatened species. Bird Conservation International 11: 76–85.

Hilty, S. L. (2003) Birds of Venezuela. London, UK: A & C Black.

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

Schulenberg, T. S., Stotz, D. F., Lane, D. F., O’Neill, J. P. and Parker, T. A. III (2007) Field guide to the birds of Peru. London, UK: Christopher Helm.

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.

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2 Responses to Archived 2014 discussion: Scarlet-fronted Parakeet (Aratinga wagleri) is being split: request for information

  1. Andy Symes says:

    A. wagleri and A. frontata are being transferred to the genus Psittacara and will be listed as P. wagleri and P. frontatus.

    Preliminary proposals

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

    both P. wagleri and P. frontatus as Near Threatened, approaching the thresholds for classification as Vulnerable under criterion A2cd+3cd+4cd

    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.

  2. 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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