Archived 2014 discussion: The recently described taxon Capito fitzpatricki is being recognised as a species by BirdLife: list the species as Near Threatened?

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.

The recently described taxon Capito fitzpatricki (Seeholzer et al. 2012) is being recognised as a species by BirdLife, following the application of criteria set out by Tobias et al. (2010).

This species is known from at least 10 specimens from at least three localities within a 30-km stretch of the Cerro del Sira, Peru, with all localities being on the crests of ridges that descend east into the lowlands from the main spine of the mountains (Seeholzer et al. 2012). It is thought likely that the species occurs in montane forest along the length of the east slope of the southern Sira, and possibly also on the west slope. The confirmed elevation range of the species is 950-1,250 m, although it may range further upslope to under 1,700 m (Seeholzer et al. 2012).

The species occurs on the boundary and within the Sira Communal Reserve, which, along with the topography and lack of infrastructure in the area, provides some protection (Seeholzer et al. 2012). However, mining, logging and oil exploration are active in the region and threaten montane forest, with projected climate change also a potential threat to this species (Seeholzer et al. 2012).

Seeholzer et al. (2012) suggest that the species be considered for listing as Endangered or Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List, although they do not cite under which criteria they advise this, but estimate the species’s total range at 300-700 km2. Mapping of the species’s range by BirdLife has yielded an estimated Extent of Occurrence (EOO) of c.500 km2.

This species’s range is covered by a model of forest loss in the Amazon basin after 2002 (Soares-Filho et al. 2006). This model has been used to predict population declines over three generations for forest-dependent species that are largely covered by the model (following Bird et al. 2011). These methods suggest that C. fitzpatricki will lose c.6% of its habitat over 26 years (estimate of three generations), starting in 2002. This suggests that a very slow future decline can be inferred, but it is unclear whether a decline has already started or whether this predicted decline can be considered a continuing decline. It is suggested here that the species’s population is likely to be stable at present.

On the basis of this information it is suggested that the species could qualify as Near Threatened under criterion D, on the basis that its population may approach as few as 1,000 mature individuals, but is assumed to be stable. If the population is estimated to include fewer than 1,000 mature individuals, the species would qualify as Vulnerable under the same criterion, and if estimated to number fewer than 250 mature individuals then listing as Endangered should be considered.

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


Bird, J. P., Buchanan, G. M., Lees, A. C., Clay, R. P., Develey. P. F., Yépez, I. and Butchart, S. H. M. (2011) Integrating spatially explicit habitat projections into extinction risk assessments: a reassessment of Amazonian avifauna incorporating projected deforestation. Diversity and Distributions DOI: 10.1111/j.1472 4642.2011.00843.x.

Seeholzer, G. F., Winger, B. M., Harvey, M. G., Caceres. A., D. and Weckstein, J. D. (2012) A new species of barbet (Capitonidae: Capito) from the Cerros del Sira, Ucayali, Peru. Auk 129(3): 551-559.

Soares-Filho, B. S., Nepstad, D. C., Curran, L. M., Cerqueira, G. C., Garcia, R. A., Ramos, C. A., Voll, E., McDonald, A., Lefebvre, P. and Schlesinger, P. (2006) Modelling conservation in the Amazon basin. Nature 440: 520–523.

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: The recently described taxon Capito fitzpatricki is being recognised as a species by BirdLife: list the species as Near Threatened?

  1. Andy Symes says:

    Preliminary proposals

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

    C. fitzpatricki as Near Threatened, approaching the thresholds for classification as Vulnerable under criterion D1.

    There is now a period for further comments until the final deadline of 14 May, after which recommended categorisation will be put forward to IUCN.

    The final Red List category 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 categorisation to be put forward to IUCN

    Following further review, there has been no change to our preliminary proposal for the 2014 Red List status of this species.

    The final categorisation will be published in mid-2014, following further checking of information relevant to the assessment by BirdLife and IUCN.

Comments are closed.