I hope you are not basing this proposed category on the outlier records from eBird. Most outliers are from very dubious records pulled from eBird, that are outside the species preferred habitat and elevation use. The map as shown is a complete disaster.
Lets write about eBird records (not all on the distribution map shown):
– Near Churco, Pampa Hermosa National Sanctuary. Spot located at 3500 m, too low, plus no adequate habitat, wrong ID.
– La Quina or La Quinua, Huánuco. 3500-3700 m. Too low, besides, it is a Polylepis forest. Wrong ID.
– Four records at Lake Junín, 4080 m. Wrong elevation, there are bogs around the lake, and more not far away. The only individual collected there was a lost one, in very bad condition, pushed by a storm in 1978 (Harris 1980).
– Conococha Lake, Ancash, 4030 m. 1 record. Wrong elevation. I have done exactly 30 censuses around the lake, from 2002 to 2013, including bogs in farther surroundings, and never saw a single palliatus, even atacamensis is uncommon. Wrong ID.
Huascarán National Park
– by Gillian Bowser. He writes “in high rocky areas, over 4500 m”. No mention of anything seemingly like a bog nearby. No locality pinpointed. Inadequate habitat, wrong ID.
– Qubrada Llaca, by Farnaz Fatemi, 4340 m. A small Andean bog (< 1ha) under a small Polylepis forest patch (1.7 ha). Unlikely, bog too small and too far from others. Would be lowest elevation known. I have been there, almost impossible to miss. Most probably, wrong ID.
– Hike Vaquería to Santa Cruz. Eric Haskell. 3850 m, too low. His description can lead also to atacamensis. I have crossed that route three times, and camped at the side of the only large bog there, which is 1.5 km at a side creek from the location pinpointed. I would not miss this species. Wrong ID.
I have to add that I lived in Huaraz for year surveying a large amount of river creeks, bogs and Polylepis forests. I may have needed more time to cover it all, but at least 7 creeks were evaluated twice. There is still a possibility that a population may survive inside HNP, but has not been discovered yet. It is in the list of to do papers, only a draft by now. Adding, Steven Sevillano has covered close to half of the creeks there,
spending a large amount of time inside HNP, also no palliatus, it is a very easy to ID species… if you know it.
Not a single one of this dubious records has a photo of the species.
There are two misplaced records in eBird.
One by Margaret Sloan: "Upper Santa Eulalia Valley" but it is located at the mid valley. The species is found mostly in the Junín side of the Cordillera, but also in the extreme upper valley of the Santa Eulalia.
The second misplaced record is Roger Ahlman's, who seemed to have written a list of the all the important species from the entire visited area, so that the marker ended up near the town of Alis. There is no suitable habitat nearby.
I have surveyed 119 Andean bogs (not including the ones from Huascarán National Park) along the Andes through Cinclodes palliatus habitat. The bogs covered ocurred from extreme north Lima to the high Andean limit between Huancavelica and Ayacucho. Those includeed most of the larger bogs (over 1 km2), but there are at least three times what was covered. 28 of those bogs had at least 1 palliatus. The elevation surveyed went from 4200 to 4900, the elevation range of the specias was from 4430 to 4840. They were only found outside bogs when they were in the slopes of glacial valleys. The total of birds recorded was 167 , from those 28 bogs with the species. I am currently finishing a manuscript with Richard Gibbons about this research. You have SERFOR 2018 as a source, everything there is my data, and I was the one writing the account, so please cite accordingly. The same will be in the next Peruvian Red List Book, now we expect to have the book on time.
The category CR C2a(i) still holds until more data is gathered. I assume there are more populations out there, but sadly the ones found until now are located for the most part in mining prime land, which are mainly open pit mines.
The area of occupancy, taking into account what it is known until now, is still below the threshold for CR, but it may be above it depending on what is found visiting more possible areas and researching more. That is why I prefer to base the criterion on population size and threats. Most of the population is circumscribed around open pit mining areas. A mine in high Andean Junin, bordering Lima, is already using a former bog, previously with palliatus, as a mining tailing. One of the former palliatus localities from central Huancavelica is also being used as a mining tailing, the species seems to have long ago gone from nearby areas. But I do not lose hope it is still somewhere there.
I am considering a single bog, regarding its size, as one locality. However, when the bog is large and steep I divide it every 100 m of elevation range (I use Google Earth to determine the elevation divisions). Birds found on the slopes surrounding a bog but outside it are still considered to belong to the same locality. Until now, I have not found any palliatus far from bogs, only on grassy or rocky slopes surrounding bogs.
C2 a(i) = number of total adults <250 ; Inferred decline in numbers ; largest population found is less than 50 mature individuals, actually, adding all groups found in that area was 42 TOTAL individuals. This still depends on what do we consider a subpopulation… How far they would fly? So that there should be a distance threshold to define it.
The species, habitat and area where it can be found are easy to survey and count total numbers. The most difficult part is access to the majority of the areas.
I am in agreement with Javier Barrio. If I understand the criteria correctly, specifically C2a(i), this species would remain in the critically endangered category. Also, the AOO is far smaller than what is shown in the map. eBird data are unreliable for this species without supporting evidence as there are birders unfamiliar with the local avifauna and want to find this species. Like Javier, I surveyed much of the Cordillera Blanca and found nothing in 2007. Of course that doesn’t mean it isn’t there, but it is unlikely. The Huayhuash to the south is the furthest north with a compelling record. To the south, there is no acceptable record south of Huancavelica in the last 50 years. That looks to be about half of the possibly extant area. We searched this area with an American Bird Conservancy grant in 2007 and struck out. Again, hope remains, but when does an historical record change from possibly extant to historical range?
With the interest in montane peatlands and their environmental services increasing, there is hope that more of this habitat can be preserved.
Many thanks to everyone who has contributed to this discussion. We greatly appreciate the time and effort invested by so many people in commenting. The window for consultation is now closed. We will analyse and interpret the new information and post a preliminary decision on this species’s Red List status on this page in early July.
Thank you once again,
BirdLife Red List Team
Based on available information, our preliminary proposal for the 2021 Red List would be to list White-bellied Cinclodes as Critically Endangered under Criterion C2a(ii).
On a precautionary basis, it is here accepted that a population decline can be inferred as suitable bogs within the range continue being destroyed for mining and degraded through pollution, water abstraction and overgrazing. Moreover, given its small range and occasional records of single individuals away from suitable habitat, it is assumed that the species is able to disperse between sites and that hence all individuals belong to the same subpopulation. The map has been revised to include recent records; this does not impact the proposed listing.
There is now a period for further comments until the final deadline in mid-July, after which the recommended categorisations will be put forward to IUCN.
The final 2021 Red List categories will be published on the BirdLife and IUCN websites in December 2021, following further checking of information relevant to the assessments by both BirdLife and IUCN.
Recommended categorisation to be put forward to IUCN
The final categorisation for this species has not changed. White-bellied Cinclodes is recommended to be listed as Critically Endangered under Criterion C2a(ii).
Many thanks for everyone who contributed to the 2021 GTB Forum process. The final 2021 Red List categories will be published on the BirdLife and IUCN websites in December 2021, following further checking of information relevant to the assessments by both BirdLife and IUCN.
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