Archived 2014 discussion: Two Amazona splits: list both Amazona guatemalae and A. bodini 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.

Festive Amazon Amazona festiva is being split into A. festiva and A. bodini, and Mealy Amazon A. farinosa is being split into A. farinosa and A. guatemalae, following the application of criteria set out by Tobias et al. (2010).

Prior to the taxonomic change, A. farinosa (BirdLife species factsheet) was listed as being of Least Concern, on the basis that it was not thought to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under any of the IUCN Red List criteria.

Prior to the taxonomic change, A. festiva (BirdLife species factsheet) was listed as Vulnerable under criterion A3c, as it was suspected to undergo a rapid population decline, based on a model of future deforestation in the Amazon basin and the species’s susceptibility to hunting and trapping (Soares-Filho et al. 2006, Bird et al. 2011). According to the model of forest loss, the species was suspected to lose 21.4-35% of suitable habitat within its distribution over 37 years (estimate of three generations, based on an estimated generation length of 12.3 years), thus when persecution is factored in, the rate of decline is calculated to be in the range of 30-49% over this period.

Following these taxonomic changes, the nominate parts of these two splits have been assessed against the model of forest loss in the Amazon basin (Soares-Filho et al. 2006, Bird et al. 2011), and suggested categories under the A4 criterion are put forward in a separate topic. In that discussion, input is invited on the data used in the analysis, the suggested categories and whether these species are likely to qualify for higher threat categories based on their likely population sizes.

The following discussion is regarding the other parts of these two splits:

A. bodini ranges from eastern Colombia east through the Orinoco basin of Venezuela, and sporadically into north-western Guyana (del Hoyo et al. 1997). In the Orinoco Basin, it was formerly very common all along the Orinoco river (Hilty 2003) and, although it remains common, it is now very locally distributed (del Hoyo et al. 1997, Hilty 2003). It is closely associated with humid lowland forest along major rivers, up to c.1,000 m in Venezuela, and occurs in both várzea and igapó, avoiding dryland forest (del Hoyo et al. 1997, Restall et al. 2006). It is threatened by deforestation and is also susceptible to hunting and capture for international trade, particularly in Venezuela (Restall et al. 2006, A. Lees in litt. 2011).

It is suggested that A. bodini qualifies as Near Threatened under criteria A2cd+3cd+4cd, on the basis that it could be undergoing a moderately rapid population decline, approaching 30% over 37 years, owing to habitat loss and degradation, hunting and capture for trade. If the rate of decline is suspected to be 30% or more over this trend period, the species would likely qualify for a higher threat category under the A criterion.

A. guatemalae is present along the Caribbean slope of Middle America, from Veracruz and Oaxaca south to western Panama, and also found on the Pacific slope of Costa Rica and western Panama (Juniper and Parr 1998, Forshaw 2006, 2010). Its abundance varies locally, but it is common in many areas. It inhabits dense humid lowland rainforest, especially near clearings and edges, but also ranges to lower montane forest and frequents plantations, cultivation, gallery forest and deciduous forest (Juniper and Parr 1998, Forshaw 2006).

This species is hunted and trapped for food, pets and international trade, and population declines in Central America have been attributed to deforestation (Juniper and Parr 1998). Forshaw (2006) characterises the pre-split species as declining in parts of its range owing to deforestation and hunting. Wenner et al. (2012) state that the Central American Mealy Amazon Parrot is under increased pressure from habitat loss and collection for the pet trade, making their population especially threatened.

This species may qualify as Near Threatened under criterion A, on the basis that it could be undergoing a moderately rapid population decline approaching 30% over 37 years. Any evidence that the rate of decline is 30-49% over the same period would imply that the species qualifies as Vulnerable under the A criterion.

Comments are invited 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.

del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A. and Sargatal, J. (1997) Handbook of the birds of the world, Vol 4: Sandgrouse to Cuckoos. Barcelona, Spain: Lynx Edicions.

Forshaw, J. M. (2006) Parrots of the world: an identification guide. Princeton, NJ and Oxford, UK: Princeton University Press.

Forshaw, J. M. (2010) Parrots of the World. London, UK: Christopher Helm (Helm Field Guides).

Hilty, S. L. (2003) Birds of Venezuela. London, UK: A & C Black.

Juniper, T. and Parr, M. (1998) Parrots: a guide to the parrots of the world. Robertsbridge, UK: Pica Press.

Restall, R., Rodner, C. and Lentino, M. (2006) Birds of northern South America: an identification guide. Volume 1: species accounts. London, UK: Christopher Helm.

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.

Wenner, T. J., Russello, M. A. and Wright, T. F. (2012) Cryptic species in a Neotropical parrot: genetic variation within the Amazona farinosa species complex and its conservation implications. Conservation Genetics 13: 1427–1432.

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2 Responses to Archived 2014 discussion: Two Amazona splits: list both Amazona guatemalae and A. bodini as Near Threatened?

  1. Andy Symes says:

    Preliminary proposals

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

    A. bodini as Near Threatened, approaching the thresholds for classification as Vulnerable under criterion A2cd+3cd+4cd

    A. guatemalae as Near Threatened, approaching the thresholds for classification as Vulnerable under criterion A2cd+3cd+4cd.

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

    The final Red List categories 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 categorisations to be put forward to IUCN

    Following further review, there have been no changes to our preliminary proposals for the 2014 Red List status of these species.

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

Comments are closed.