New Brazilian bird species discovery


This video says about itself:

Diamantina Tapaculo – Tapaculo-da-chapada-diamantina – Scytalopus diamantinensis

30 August 2012

Described to science only in 2007; this is one of the least known Brazilian Tapaculos. Endemic to the Chapada Diamantina mountain range and seen by just a few world birders… This is the first video available of the species.

From Wildlife Extra:

Newly discovered Brazilian bird species is endangered

A new birds species found in a narrow strip in the Atlantic Forest on the northeastern state of Bahia, Brazil, has already been reported as endangered.

The bird is locally called ‘macuquinho-preto-baiano’, and has been catalogued under the scientific name Scytalopus gonzagai, and has also been given the common name of the mouse-coloured tapaculo.

The bird was identified as a new species by an international team of ornithologists led by Dr Marcos Bornschein, and was initially thought by the researchers to be a common species found in south and southeast Brazil, but two expeditions in 2004 and 2006 made it possible for them to investigate further in the region of Bahia and ascertain that the species was indeed new.

The small mouse-coloured tapaculo – which measures just 12cm in length and weighs in at an average of 15g – was quickly listed as an endangered species, as the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) stipulates that if a species totals up between 2,500 to 10,000 individuals, it is endangered. Calculations undertaken by the team found that there were around 2,888 of the newly discovered tapaculo.

Source: BrazzilSci-news.com.

The scientific description of the new species is here.

Brazilian football racism scandal


This video from Brazil is called Racism in FootballGrêmio fans shout monkey chants to Aranha (Santos).

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Goalkeeper called a monkey by Gremio fans

Saturday 30th August 2014

Brazilian football has been hit by a racism scandal after Santos goalkeeper Aranha was the target of racist taunts by Gremio fans.

In a Brazilian Cup match on Thursday night, fans at the Arena Gremio in Porto Alegre were caught on camera yelling “monkey,” causing a brief disruption in play while the goalkeeper made the referee aware what was happening.

Aranha was seen to make monkey gestures to the referee as he explained what was going on.

When the match continued, he turned to the crowd and touched his right arm and said: “I’m proud to be black.”

Speaking after the match, he said the taunts “hurt” and hoped that “this is a warning so it doesn’t happen again.”

Gremio coach Luiz Felipe Scolari was sent from the dugout at half-time for complaining to the referee.

This video from Brazil shows good saves by Santos goalkeeper Aranha.

Leach’s storm-petrel migration tracked using geolocators


This video is called Klykstjärtad stormsvala Leach’s Storm petrel (Oceanodroma leucorhoa).

From the Journal of Field ornithology:

Migratory movements and wintering areas of Leach’s Storm-Petrels tracked using geolocators

Volume 85, Issue 3, pages 321–328, September 2014

ABSTRACT

Accumulating evidence suggests that Atlantic populations of Leach’s Storm-Petrels (Oceanodroma leucorhoa) are experiencing significant declines. To better understand possible causes of these declines, we used geolocators to document movements of these small (∼50-g) pelagic seabirds during migration and the non-breeding period. During 2012 and 2013, movement tracks were obtained from two birds that traveled in a clock-wise direction from two breeding colonies in eastern Canada (Bon Portage Island, Nova Scotia, and Gull Island, Newfoundland) to winter in tropical waters.

The bird from Bon Portage Island started its migration towards Cape Verde in October, arrived at its wintering area off the coast of eastern Brazil in January, and started migration back to Nova Scotia in April. The bird from Gull Island staged off Newfoundland in November and then again off Cape Verde in January before its geolocator stopped working. Movements of Leach’s Storm-Petrels in our study and those of several other procellariiforms during the non-breeding period are likely facilitated by the prevailing easterly trade winds and the Antilles and Gulf Stream currents. Although staging and wintering areas used by Leach’s Storm-Petrels in our study were characterized by low productivity, the West Africa and northeastern Brazilian waters are actively used by fisheries and discards can attract Leach’s Storm-Petrels.

Our results provide an initial step towards understanding movements of Leach’s Storm-Petrels during the non-breeding period, but further tracking is required to confirm generality of their migratory routes, staging areas, and wintering ranges.

‘Butterfly-headed’ pterosaurs discovery in Brazil


A new species of flying reptile from the Cretaceous Era, Caiuajara dobruskiii, has been unearthed in southern Brazil. The creature, described in a 2014 PLOS ONE paper, sported a bony crest on its head. Credit: Maurilio Oliveira/Museu Nacional-UFRJ

From Live Science:

Flock of Ancient ‘Butterfly-Headed’ Flying Reptiles Discovered

By Tia Ghose, Staff Writer

August 13, 2014 02:00pm ET

An ancient flying reptile with a bizarre, butterflylike head has been unearthed in Brazil.

The newfound reptile species, Caiuajara dobruskii, lived about 80 million years ago in an ancient desert oasis. The beast sported a strange bony crest on its head that looked like the wings of a butterfly, and had the wingspan needed to take flight at a very young age.

Hundreds of fossils from the reptile were unearthed in a single bone bed, providing the strongest evidence yet that the flying reptiles were social animals, said study co-author Alexander Kellner, a paleontologist at the Museu Nacional/Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. [See Images of the Bizarre 'Butterfly Head' Reptile]

Rare find

Though pterosaur fossils have been unearthed in northern Brazil, no one knew of pterosaurs fossils in the southern part of the country. In the 1970s, a farmer named Dobruski and his son discovered a massive Cretaceous Period bone bed in Cruzeiro do Oeste in southern Brazil, a region not known for any fossils, Kellner said. The find was forgotten for decades, and then rediscovered just two years ago. The team dubbed the reptile Caiuajara dobruskii, after the geologic formation, called the Caiuá Group, where it was found, as well as the farmer who discovered the species, Kellner said.

C. dobruskii belonged to a group of winged reptiles known as pterosaurs, which are more commonly known as pterodactyls.

Hundreds of bone fragments from the species were crammed in an area of just 215 square feet (20 square meters). At least 47 individuals — and possibly hundreds more — were buried at the site. All but a few were juveniles, though the researchers found everything from youngsters with wingspans of just 2.1 feet (0.65 m) long to adults with wingspans reaching 7.71 feet (2.35 m). The fossils weren’t crushed, so the 3D structure of the animals was preserved, the authors wrote in a research article published today (Aug. 13) in the journal PLOS ONE.

The ancient reptiles’ bony crests changed in size and orientation as the pterosaurs grew.

Because the adult skeletal size (other than the head) wasn’t much different from the juveniles’, the researchers hypothesized that C. dobruskii was fairly precocious and could fly at a young age, Kellner said.

Water congregation

Based on the sediments in which the bones were found, the area was once a vast desert with a central oasis nestled between the sand dunes, the authors wrote in the paper.

Ancient C. dobruskii colonies may have lived around the lake for long periods of time and died during periods of drought or during storms. As the creatures died, the occasional desert storm would wash their remains into the lake, where the watery burial preserved them indefinitely, the researchers said. Another possibility is that the pterosaurs stopped at this spot during ancient migrations, though the authors suspect that is less likely.

The bone bed, with its hundreds of individuals in well-dated geological layers, is some of the strongest evidence yet that the fruit-eating animals were social, Kellner said.

“This was a flock of pterosaurs,” Kellner told Live Science.

This finding, in turn, strengthens evidence that other pterosaur species may have been social as well, the authors wrote in the paper.

Brazilian endangered parakeet new discovery


This video from Brazil, in Portuguese with English subtitles, is called Grey breasted parakeet Conservation Project – AQUASIS.

From BirdLife:

New population of Critically Endangered Parakeet Found in north-east Brazil

By Martin Fowlie, Tue, 12/08/2014 – 09:29

A team of young conservationists in Ceará state, north-east Brazil, has discovered a small population of five Grey-breasted Parakeet Pyrrhura griseipectus. Less than 200 of these parakeets are known to survive in the wild – all in Ceará state. These rare birds are listed as Critically Endangered by BirdLife on the IUCN Red List and face immediate threats such as trafficking for the pet trade and habitat destruction. The newly discovered birds represent the third remnant population of 15 populations which were previously known to exist – the other two existing in Serra do Baturité and Quixadá.

The team, employed by Brazilian NGO Aquasis, was granted a Conservation Leadership Programme (CLP) Future Conservationist Awardin 2012. CLP funding allowed the team to conduct several research expeditions with the aim of finding new populations and improving knowledge about the parakeet’s range.

“Last year, as part of our CLP-funded project we found clues suggesting the presence of this species in an isolated mountain, and it was only in March that we were able to confirm and document the finding”, said Fabio Nunes, project leader. “This discovery could be a new hope to add to the existing conservation efforts led by Aquasis and its partners.

Usually, the Grey-breasted Parakeet lives in tropical forests, nesting inside tree hollows. Yet on this occasion, the five individuals were found in a nest located in a small cavity on top of a rocky mountain, above dry vegetation known locally as Caatinga.

The discovery of new populations is excellent news, but the Grey-breasted Parakeet faces an uphill struggle. Having been left in isolation for so long, the genetic make-up of the new  population may be different enough to suggest that uniting populations may be problematic and risky.

The team is now writing a scientific paper to emphasise the importance of this discovery for the survival of the Grey-breasted Parakeet. Future conservation efforts will focus on environmental education, and direct species and habitat conservation activities led by Aquasis and supported by CLP, BirdLife International and other donors.

Aquasis are also the BirdLife Species Guardian for Araripe Manakin and have been supported by Species Champion Sir David Attenborough through the BirdLife Preventing Extinctions Programme.

The Conservation Leadership Programme (CLP) is a partnership between BirdLife InternationalFauna & Flora InternationalConservation International, the Wildlife Conservation Society and BP

All is well, until the last word of this press release: BP. BP, the oil corporation notorious for killing birds and other wildlife by its pollution, uses this laudable program for greenwashing.