Archived 2016 topics: The newly described taxon Cyanocorax hafferi is to be recognised as a species by BirdLife: 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 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 Cyanocorax hafferi is to be recognised as a species by BirdLife following application of the Tobias et al. (2010) criteria, which support its distinctiveness from congeners.

Cyanocorax hafferi, Campina Jay, is endemic to the Brazilian Amazon, within the Madeira-Purus interfluve, and one observation west of the Rio Purus (Cohn-Haft et al. 2013). It is confined to campina habitats in this area, and satellite imagery shows many other patches of suitable habitat in the region where the species may possibly be found. Subsequently its Extent of Occurrence is quite large (>200,000km2). However, given its specific habitat requirements for campina habitats its possible Area of Occupancy may be quite low. Cohn-Haft et al. (2013) calculated a potential AOO for this species of 1,090 km2, by taking a 100 m strip around the edge of all campinas within its range, which may in fact be an over-estimate given the species’s narrow breeding requirements (Cohn-Haft et al. 2013). While this is not a definitive AOO by IUCN criteria (IUCN 2001, 2012) it may represent a maximal AOO for this species.

The species’s habitat is under threat from habitat destruction as the BR-319 road that passes through the species’s range is being re-paved, which can lead to further colonisation, development and deforestation of the region, in particular associated with agriculture and ranching (Cohn-Haft et al. 2013). Further destruction may occur as a result of a gas pipeline which is being built to cross the region and planned dam works on the Madeira (Cohn-Haft et al. 2013). The fact that it has a restricted AOO might qualify this species as Vulnerable under criterion B2, however, the number of locations* where this species has been sighted does not appear the meet the threshold for Vulnerable. The species’s distribution does, however, appear fragmented and with continued habitat destruction and degradation the degree of fragmentation is likely to increase in the future. Therefore, while the current level of fragmentation is unlikely to be classed as ‘severe’ (IUCN 2001, 2012) it may become so in the near future. Therefore, it is proposed that this species be listed as Near Threatened under criterion B2ab(ii,iii,v). We welcome any further information as to the degree of fragmentation to see whether it may qualify as Vulnerable under the same criterion.

*Note that the term ‘location’ defines a geographically or ecologically distinct area in which a single threatening event can rapidly affect all individuals of the taxon present. The size of the location depends on the area covered by the threatening event and may include part of one or many subpopulations. Where a taxon is affected by more than one threatening event, location should be defined by considering the most serious plausible threat (IUCN 2001, 2012).



Cohn-Haft, M., Santos Jr., M. A., Fernandes, A. M. and Ribas, C. C. 2013. A new species of Cyanocorax jay from savannas of the central Amazon. Pp. 306-310 in: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J. and Christie, D. A. eds Handbook of the Birds of the World. Special Volume: New Species and Global Index. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.

IUCN. 2001. IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria: Version 3.1. Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK: IUCN Species Survival Commission.

IUCN. 2012. Guidelines for Application of IUCN Red List Criteria at Regional and National Levels: Version 4.0. Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK: IUCN.

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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1 Response to Archived 2016 topics: The newly described taxon Cyanocorax hafferi is to be recognised as a species by BirdLife: list as Near Threatened or Vulnerable?

  1. James Westrip (BirdLife) says:

    Based on available information, our preliminary proposal for the 2016 Red List would be to list this species as Near Threatened under criterion B2ab(ii,iii,v).

    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 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.

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