Archived 2016 topics: The newly described taxon Thripophaga amacurensis is to be recognised as a species by BirdLife: list as Endangered?

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 Thripophaga amacurensis is to be recognised as a species by BirdLife following application of the Tobias et al. (2010) criteria, which support its distinctiveness from congeners.

T. amacurensis, Delta Amacuro Softtail, has been found at only four localities in the southern part of the delta of the Orinoco River in Venezuela (Hilty et al. 2013). The species occurs in seasonally flooded forest near to streams and rivers, with a possible range of only 32-48km2 (Hilty et al. 2013). In the eastern part of its range there appear to be no immediate threats (Fjeldså and Sharpe 2016), but in the west deforestation may be affecting this species. Logging, oil exploration and clearance for agriculture are particular threats (Hilty et al. 2013, Lentino and Sharpe 2015); and by April 2010 the most westerly of its four sites had been deforested (Lentino and Sharpe 2015). The population size of this species has not been quantified, but it is not thought to be large given this species’s very restricted range, and is thought to be declining as a result of habitat loss. The species is classed as Endangered in Venezuela (Lentino and Sharpe 2015), and we suggest that the species be listed globally as Endangered at least under criterion B1ab(i,ii,iii,iv,v).

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


Fjeldså, J. and Sharpe, C.J. (2016). Delta Amacuro Softtail (Thripophaga amacurensis). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 27 September 2016).

Hilty, S. L., Ascanio, D. and Whittaker, A. 2013. A new species of softtail (Furnariidae: Thripophaga) from the delta of the Orinoco River in Venezuela. Condor 115: 143-154.

Lentino, M. and Sharpe, C. J. 2015. Rabiblando del Delta Amacuro, Thripophaga amacurensis. En: J.P. Rodríguez, A. García-Rawlins y F. Rojas-Suárez (eds.) Libro Rojo de la Fauna Venezolana. Cuarta edición. Provita y Fundación Empresas Polar, Caracas, Venezuela. Recuperado de: Mar, 27/09/2016 – 05:45

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 Thripophaga amacurensis is to be recognised as a species by BirdLife: list as Endangered?

  1. 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.

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