[CT Birds] Recent changes to IUCN list of relevance to CT

Comins, Patrick PCOMINS at audubon.org
Wed Aug 1 11:26:15 EDT 2012

BirdLife International recently re-categorized several species and it has some implications for Long Island Sound as well as for IBAs in CT:
Here is a summary, but formatting got messed up
Scientific name,  Common Name,  2011 IUCN Red List Category, 2012 IUCN Red List Category, Reason for change, significance to LIS
Melanitta americana,  Black Scoter, N/A, Near Threatened = Piping Plover status, Taxonomy (newly split), some
Clangula hyemalis, Long-tailed Duck, Least Concern, Vulnerable (higher concern than NT = Saltmarsh Sparrow status) , Genuine (recent), high
Calidris pusilla, Semipalmated Sandpiper, LC, NT = Piping Plover status, Genuine (since first assessment), high
I'm kind of surprised that Greater Scaup wasn't reclassified as at least NT.  Semipalmated Sandpiper is already a high priority species, but this may classify some of our sites (esp Milford Point/Wheeler Marsh/Mouth of the Housatonic) as A1 global IBAs.  I don't think Black Scoters are common enough on LIS for this to make a difference, but certainly relevant for other areas of the Atlantic Flyway.   The Long-tailed Duck reclassification is somewhat of a game changer both for potential A1 IBAs and the LIS conservation priorities and may mean there are portions of Long Island Sound that qualify as global IBAs, e.g. waters around Norwalk Islands.   Please consider ebirding any big flocks of Long-tails you come across in the sound, as this could help us document the Sound or portions thereof as a globally Important Bird Area.
Genuine (recent)
The change in category is the result of a genuine status change that has taken place since the last complete assessment. For example, the change is due to an increase in the rate of decline, a decrease in population or range size or habitat, or declines in these for the first time (owing to increasing/new threats) and therefore new thresholds are met relating to the IUCN Red List criteria.

Genuine (since first assessment)

The change in category is the result of a genuine status change that took place prior to the last complete assessment, but since the first complete assessment (1988) and that has only just been detected owing to new information/ documentation. If this new information had been available earlier, the new category would have been assigned during the previous assessment(s).


The new category is different from the previous one (which may be 'Not Recognised') owing to a taxonomic change adopted during the period since the previous assessment. Such changes include: newly split (the taxon is newly elevated to species level), newly described (the taxon is newly described as a species), newly lumped (the taxon is newly lumped with another species) and no longer valid/recognised (either the taxon is no longer valid e.g. because it is now considered to be a hybrid or variant, form or subspecies of another species, or the previously recognised taxon differs from a currently recognised one as a result of a split or lump).

Patrick M. Comins
Director of Bird Conservation

Audubon Connecticut
185 East Flat Hill Road
Southbury, CT 06488

Phone: (203)264-5098 x308 (note, I currently do not have a phone at my desk, but will check messages, email is a quicker way to reach me right now)
Fax: (203)264-6332

pcomins at audubon.org<mailto:pcomins at audubon.org>
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