Four new species of orioles have been created in the Caribbean. How? BirdLife International explains:
The splitting of the Greater Antillean Oriole Icterus dominicensis into four separate species – as detailed in a recent paper by Melissa Price and Bill Hayes – has formally been accepted by the American Ornithologists’ Union. This taxonomic revision results in the “creation” of four new island endemics – the Bahama (I. northropi), Cuban (I. melanopsis), Hispaniolan (I. dominicensis) and Puerto Rican (I. portoricensis) orioles.
This change is cause for excitement among ornithologists, but is also cause for concern about one of the “new” species:
The Bahama Oriole has entered the role call of species as one of the rarest birds in the Caribbean.
[W]ith a declining population that could be less than 250 individuals, the Bahama Oriole would qualify as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List. The formal Red List categorisation of the species is currently being worked on by BirdLife, but if it is indeed Critically Endangered it would join a list of 14 other Caribbean bird species that are perilously close to extinction and in urgent need of conservation action.
Read more at birdlife.org.
[Photo: Melissa Price via birdlife.org]