Archived 2016 topics: The newly described taxon Cichlocolaptes mazarbarnetti is to be recognised as a species by BirdLife: list as Critically Endangered (Possibly Extinct)?

This is part of a consultation on the Red List implications of extensive changes to BirdLife’s taxonomy for passerines

Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International will soon publish the second volume of 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 2 of the checklist (for passerines) will begin to be incorporated into the 2016 Red List update, with the remainder 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.

The newly described taxon Cichlocolaptes mazarbarnetti is to be recognised as a species by BirdLife following application of the Tobias et al. (2010) criteria, which support its distinctiveness from congeners.

Cichlocolaptes mazarbarnetti, Cryptic Treehunter, has been recorded from only 2 locations in Brazil; Murici in Alagoas, and Frei Caneca in Pernambuco, where it may be found in humid forest (Mazar-Barnett and Buzzetti 2014). However, it has not been recorded since April 2007 in Murici and February 2005 in Frei Caneca (Pereira et al. 2014). The lack of recent sightings in areas where it has been recorded, and the fact that this species has not been found at any other sites in the region (Pereira et al. 2014) means that it is possible that this species is now extinct. If this species is still extant, the global population is suspected to be very low (<50 individuals). Therefore, it is proposed that this species be listed as Critically Endangered (Possibly Extinct) under criterion D.

Comments are invited on this proposed category and further information would be welcomed.


Mazar-Barnett, J. and Buzzetti, D.R.C. 2014. A new species of Cichlocolaptes Reichenbach 1853 (Furnariidae), the ‘gritadordo-nordeste’, an undescribed trace of the fading bird life of northeastern Brazil. Revista Brasileira de Ornitologia 22: 75-94.

Pereira, G.A., Dantas, S.M., Silveira, L.B., Roda, S.A., Albano, C., Sonntag, F.A., Leal, S., Periquito, M.C., Malacco, G.B. and Lees, A.C. 2014. Status of the globally threatened forest birds of northeast Brazil. Pap. Avuls. Dept. Zool. São Paulo 54(14): 177 194.

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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3 Responses to Archived 2016 topics: The newly described taxon Cichlocolaptes mazarbarnetti is to be recognised as a species by BirdLife: list as Critically Endangered (Possibly Extinct)?

  1. Daniel Lebbin says:

    I think it should be listed as Extinct, not possibly extinct, until such point information proves otherwise.

  2. Thomas Donegan says:

    I am glad that you are recognizing this species, as the specimens are really quite distinctive. The sceptics have arguably contributed to the delay in this description getting off the ground, and look at what has happened. But let’s move on; and I agree with Dan Lane’s proposal of EX (and recognized taxonomically) unless and until someone rediscovers it (or shows it to have identical DNA).

  3. James Westrip (BirdLife) says:

    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.

Comments are closed.