This discussion was first published as part of the 2016 Red List update. At the time a decision regarding its status was pended, but to enable potential reassessment of this species as part of the 2017 Red List update this post remained open and the date of posting was updated.
BirdLife species factsheet for Sclater’s Lark: http://www.birdlife.org/datazone/species/factsheet/22717356
Spizocorys sclateri is found mainly Northern Cape Province of South Africa, and Namibia and possibly into Western and Eastern Cape (Taylor et al. 2015). It is currently classified as Near Threatened on the basis that it is thought to have a moderately small population but without confirmation of continuing declines.
The recent 2015 Eskom Red Data Book of Birds of South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland (Taylor 2015) continues to list the species as Near Threatened under criterion C2a(i). Its population size remains unknown, and because it occurs in a sparsely populated area it is highly likely to be under-reported (Taylor et al. 2015). Atlas data suggest possible a decline in Area of Occupancy of c.83% (Taylor et al. 2015) or a range decline of 43% (core range decline 41%; Lee et al. in press). However, the decline is likely not in fact be this high as any decreases in range may be an artefact of incomplete sampling, and any decline is probably less severe than suggested by atlas data (Taylor et al. 2015).
We request further information about possible trends in this species as well as its ecology to ascertain whether this species might have declined by 30-49% over three generations (11 years) and therefore require uplisting to Vulnerable under criterion A2c (past population decline observed, estimated, inferred or suspected where the cause is not reversible, not ceased or not understood), given the tentative high rates of decline in Taylor et al. (2015) and Lee et al. (in press).
Lee, A.; Barnard, P.; Altwegg, R. (in press) Estimating conservation metrics from atlas data: the case of southern African endemic birds. Bird Conservation International.
Taylor, M. R.; Peacock, F.; Wanless, R. M. 2015. The 2015 Eskom Red Data Book of Birds of South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland. BirdLife South Africa, Johannesburg.