Good Ecuadorean brush-finch news

This video is called Pale-headed brush-finch endemic seen in Yunguilla reserve.

From Wildlife Extra:

Ten years of conservation work pay off for pale-headed brush-finch

One of world’s rarest birds makes a comeback

June 2011: One of the world’s rarest birds passed a key milestone – the pale-headed brush-finch was downlisted from Critically Endangered to Endangered on the IUCN Red List of globally threatened birds after of more than a decade of sustained conservation action.

The announcement came following news that the brush-finch has increased in number from fewer than 40 to more than 100 pairs thanks to an international conservation collaboration involving Ecuador’s Fundación Jocotoco, the U.S.-based American Bird Conservancy (ABC), World Land Trust-U.S and others.

Once thought extinct

Zoltan Waliczky, executive director of Fundación Jocotoco said: ‘For a long time, everyone thought that this bird was extinct. When it was rediscovered in 1998, conservationists realised we had been handed a unique second chance and were determined not to waste it. Sustained, focused international cooperation is what has made the difference.

‘While the news that the pale-headed brush-finch is being downlisted is encouraging, it by no means signifies the end of the struggle to save it, nor an opportunity to relax.

We should now redouble our efforts

‘Rather it proves that we can succeed given sufficient resources, and should serve as a call to redouble our efforts,’ said Sara Lara, ABC’s Vice President of International Programmes. ‘Any species whose entire global range is limited to just one site of a few hundred acres faces particularly difficult challenges.

‘This bird still perches precariously on the knife edge between survival and extinction, and its survival totally depends on the continuing conservation actions.’

Species wasn’t seen for 30 years

The pale-headed brush-finch has likely always been a rare bird with a tiny range, restricted to two arid rainshadow valleys in the Andes of southern Ecuador. In the late 1960s, however, agriculture began to destroy its limited habitat, and the species was not seen for more than 30 years.

Then, in 1998, ABC funded an expedition led by experts from Jocotoco and Aves y Conservación that found a tiny population of the brush-finch in a 60-acre patch of scrub woodland in the Río Yunguilla Valley near Girón. Fundación Jocotoco bought the land, establishing the Yunguilla Reserve. Several years of intensive research revealed that the brush-finch population was suffering not only from habitat degradation, but also from parasitism by Shiny Cowbirds, the population of which had increased due to fragmentation of the land by agriculture and the increased food supply associated with increasing agriculture.

Not such good news for other species

Management of the cowbirds and restoration of the habitat, the brush-finch population began to slowly increase. As small land parcels adjacent to the reserve became available, Jocoto bought these, and the area under active management stands at more than 370 acres. The Yungilla Reserve is recognized by the Alliance for Zero Extinction as protecting vital remaining habitat for the species.

Sadly, however, most birds have not fared so well – with a further thirteen species added to the list of those under threat. Among them is the now critically endangered Great Indian Bustard. Read Wildlife Extra’s report on this year’s IUCN bird list: ‘Great Indian Bustard on verge of extinction.’

New biodiversity map of the Andes shows species in dire need of protection: here.

2 thoughts on “Good Ecuadorean brush-finch news

  1. Pingback: Ecuadorean hummingbird video | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  2. Pingback: New Ecuador reserve for rare hummingbird | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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