Status and conservation of all Critically Endangered species updated
Our knowledge of the world's birds is increasing exponentially, and an
electronic resource that can be continuously updated, like HBW Alive, is the ideal way to assimilate and present new information. By its very nature the Status and conservation section of HBW Alive
is the text that changes and becomes obsolete most rapidly: not only
are we learning ever more about the true status of each species, but
their individual situations and prospects are also in constant flux.
Over the past two years we have made a concerted effort to address this
by focussing particular attention on the Status and conservation
texts for the world's most threatened species, as well as those species
whose conservation status has changed markedly since the publication of
their respective HBW volume. During this time we have completed updates of all Critically Endangered species on HBW Alive. We currently recognise 208 Critically Endangered species (including 14 Possibly Extinct). The Status and conservation
sections for all these species now incorporates information from the
latest IUCN Red List (compiled by BirdLife International, the official
IUCN Red List Authority), supplemented with data from more recent
publications. As a consequence, many of the HBW Alive accounts
currently provide the most up-to-date and accurate single source of
information available on the conservation status of these birds, and
will doubtless assist BirdLife in their comprehensive 2016 Red List
update. Indeed, just as HBW Alive cites BirdLife International
as its major source for information on status, recent BirdLife Forums
and Factsheets now regularly reference individual HBW accounts.
We now endeavour to keep information on Critically Endangered species
up-to-date as new information is published and rediscoveries are made,
like those involving Australia's Night Parrot (Pezoporus occidentalis), the Solomon Islands' Guadalcanal Moustached Kingfisher (Actenoides excelsus) or Colombia's Blue-bearded Helmetcrest (Oxypogon cyanolaemus).
While this update of Critically Endangered process has been carried out,
several major new regional Red Lists have been published. In June of
this year the European Red List of Birds
was launched, the effort of a consortium of bird conservation
organisations coordinated by BirdLife International under the auspices
of the European Commission. We are gradually working through the list of
European species, many of whose conservation status has deteriorated
dramatically in recent decades; 20 of these have been updated so far. At
the same time, we are adding in information from the growing number of
national Red Lists, the recently published Volume 1 of the Red Data Book of Colombian Birds being just one example.
In parallel, several taxonomic groups have been singled out for priority
treatment, often because significant monographs have been published.
For example, looking at some major Neotropical families, all members of
the Tinamous (Tinamidae) and Cracids (Cracidae) have now been updated,
together with all threatened Cotingas (Cotingidae).
What next? We will continue to work through the most threatened species,
with the 418 Endangered species next on the to-do list. Species with
older information will be updated at the same time, and we will continue
to respond as quickly as possible to new information sources. In 2016,
BirdLife International will be carrying out its four-yearly
re-evaluation of the conservation status of the world's birds, a process
which will certainly lead to multiple changes in IUCN Red List
category, which will subsequently be incorporated in HBW Alive. So, there is plenty for us to do to keep up with the changing fortunes of the world's birds!
Editor, HBW Alive