Brazilian seabirds news

This video from Britain is called Saving Our Seabirds. BBC Natural World Wildlife Documentary.

From the Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels site:

Bianca Vieira (Centro Nacional de Pesquisa e Conservação de Aves Silvestres, Instituto Chico Mendes de Conservação da Biodiversidade, Brazil) and colleagues have written in Check List (an online journal of biodiversity data) on bird surveys conducted within Brazil’s Arvoredo Marine Biological Reserve.  A total of 17 procellariiform birds was  recorded at sea within the reserve, among them nine species of ACAP-listed albatrosses and petrels.

The paper’s abstract follows:

“The Arvoredo Marine Biological Reserve (RBMA) is a protected area in southern Brazil created in 1990 to safeguard the marine biodiversity of the Arvoredo Archipelago.  There are only few studies about bird assemblage in most of the Brazilian coastal islands, including this protected area.  Therefore, this paper presents the first complete list of birds for RBMA based on data from literature and surveys between 1986 and 2012 on islands and surrounding waters.  Birds were recorded during captures using mist-nets and opportunistic observations on land in January 2012, as well as in monthly strip-transects and sectors on sea between 2010 and 2012.

The present list includes 84 species (15 captured) from primary data and 22 species from other sources, totaling 106 species from 37 families.  Bird assemblage in the RBMA is composed by 44 aquatic birds and 62 landbirds, whereas 13 are endemic to the Atlantic Forest and 12 are threatened.

As expected due to the diversity of habitats, Arvoredo and Galé Islands supported the richest assemblages in the RBMA.  The number of species in the whole RBMA is smaller than bigger islands elsewhere in the Atlantic Forest domain, but similar to same-sized and same-habitat ones.

Our results highlight the importance of this reserve as a suitable and isolated habitat to forest species.  Deserta Island is an important site for nesting, resting, and foraging seabirds.”

Rufous-thighed kites in South America, new study

This is a rufous-thighed kite video from Brazil.

From Ibis, international journal of avian science, January 2015:

Exposing hidden endemism in a Neotropical forest raptor using citizen science


Gaps in our knowledge of the geographical distribution of species represent a fundamental challenge to biogeographers and conservation biologists alike, and are particularly pervasive in the tropics.

Here we highlight the case of the Rufous-thighed Kite Harpagus diodon, a South American raptor commonly mapped as resident across half the continent. Recent observations at migration watch points have indicated it may be partially migratory in the southernmost parts of its range. To investigate this possibility, we collated contemporary and historical specimen records, published sight records and ‘digital vouchers’ – photographs and sound-recordings archived online (from citizen science initiatives) – and explored the spatiotemporal distribution of records. We were unable to trace any documented records of this species from Amazonia during the austral summer (October–March), or records from the Atlantic Forest biome during the peak of the Austral winter (June–August), and all proven breeding records stem from the Atlantic Forest region.

We compared this pattern with that of a ‘control’ species, the congeneric Double-toothed Kite H. bidentatus, again using specimens and digital vouchers. For this species we found no evidence of seasonality between biomes and can disregard spatiotemporal variation in observer effort as a cause of seasonal biases. We consider that all populations of Rufous-thighed Kites are fully migratory, wintering in Equatorial forests in the Amazonian basin. We provide evidence that this pattern was previously obscured by erroneous undocumented records and poor or erroneous specimen metadata, and its discovery was primarily facilitated by digital vouchers.

This discovery requires a reassessment of the species’ global conservation status as an Atlantic Forest breeding endemic, threatened by habitat loss and degradation, as it was previously considered to be resident across large swathes of undisturbed Amazonian Forest on the Guiana Shield. The bulk of the digital voucher data used to elucidate this pattern were extracted from a Brazilian citizen science initiative WikiAves, which may serve as a model for collating biodiversity data in megadiverse countries and help catalyse environmental awareness.

Brazilian marine reserve video

The BBC writes about this video from Brazil:

How do you map the ocean floor? – in 15 secs

31 December 2014 Last updated at 05:54 GMT

In a bid to map striking areas of the ocean floor and make them “walkable” on its Street View service Google has sent divers to the island of Fernando de Noronha.

It was their first stop in Brazil, but they also plan to map the country’s other national marine parks.

Google has already mapped Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, the Galapagos islands and other areas of the ocean floor.

But how do they do it?

Video courtesy of Google and produced by BBC Brazil’s Paula Adamo Idoeta.

Protecting Brazil’s Araripe manakin

This is an Araripe manakin video from Brazil.

From the American Bird Conservancy:

First-ever Reserves Established to Protect Brazil’s Araripe Manakin

Critically Endangered Bird Survives on Only 11 Square Miles

(Washington, D.C., December 15, 2014) The first-ever bird reserves have been created for the critically endangered Araripe Manakin, a six-inch bird only discovered in 1996 that numbers fewer than 800 individuals and survives in the smallest of areas – 11 square miles – in northeastern Brazil.

The reserves were made possible by the purchase of one parcel of land encompassing 140 acres and through a formal agreement with a neighboring landowner, who designated 27 acres of his land as a fully protected area. Both actions were carried out by Aquasis, a Brazilian conservation organization that has led the effort to protect the species, and through support from American Bird Conservancy (ABC), an organization that leads bird conservation efforts across the Americas.

“The Araripe Manakin exists only in a narrow strip of humid forest on the slopes of the Araripe Plateau,” said Dr. Daniel Lebbin, Director of ABC’s International Programs. “Creating this reserve is a critically important step in what must be a long-term effort to protect this bird’s habitat and prevent its extinction.”

“After 10 years of mapping the remaining habitat of the Araripe Manakin, we were confident enough to select properties that have all the desired features for this type of reserve: permanent springs and streams with prime nesting territories; good quality moist forest habitat; and good neighbors with excellent connectivity potential,” said Alberto Campos, Director of Aquasis.

The Araripe Manakin’s habitat is subject to continuing pressure from agriculture and the development of recreational facilities, so having “good neighbors” is critical to the species’ survival. The 140-acre reserve, referred to as the Sítio Lopes property, borders the Araripe National Forest to the south and includes a house that may one day be converted to a tourist lodge. This property is also connected by a vegetated river valley with the Sítio Fundão State Park, a 230-acre fully protected area managed by the state government. The 27-acre parcel located to the south is now a type of private reserve that is formally recognized as fully protected for perpetuity.

A joint reforestation project between Aquasis and ABC led to this acquisition. That project resulted in the planting of 4,652 seedlings of various native species within the project area, with more planned.

The Araripe Plateau is located in the heart of the vast, semi-arid and drought-strickened area that dominates most of the landscape of northeastern Brazil. The area features a massive plateau that spans the boundary of the states of Ceará and Pernambuco and is dominated by a unique ecosystem that includes a mix of Amazonian and Atlantic Forest habitats.

The numerous small rivers that transect the parched and distinctive desert vegetation in Ceará spring from a handful of mountains and high plateaus that draw moisture from the passing clouds. In addition to serving as the principal sources of water for millions of people living in this region, these unique mountainous areas harbor many relict species, including the Araripe Manakin. The area has been naturally isolated for millennia in what are essentially humid forest fragments of the tropical forest habitats that once dominated the region.

The Araripe Manakin prefers the lower and middle strata of the forest. It is dependent on forest streams with vegetation and feeds on a variety of fruit species found in the dense understory. The species shares its habitat with other Brazilian species found nowhere else, such as the Silvery-cheeked Antshrike, the White-browed Antpitta, and the Caatinga Antshrike. Just above their habitat is a plateau that collects rainfall and is home to an additional 100+ species, including the endemic Planalto Slaty-Antshrike and the Ceará Leaftosser.

This video shows a Ceará leaftosser.

New Brazilian frog named after Ozzy Osbourne

This video is called Wild Amazon Part 1.

From National Geographic:

New “Bat Frog” Found in Amazon, Named for Ozzy Osbourne

Dendropsophus ozzyi males make high-pitched, batlike calls

Carrie Arnold

November 8, 2014

Holy Batfrog! Scientists have discovered a new tree frog species with a shrill, batlike call in the Brazilian Amazon.

“As soon as I heard its call, I knew it was a new species. I had never heard anything like it,” said Pedro Peloso, one of the frog’s discoverers and a postdoctoral fellow at Museu Paraense Emílio Goeldi, Brazil.

Peloso and colleagues found the 0.75-inch (19.4-millimeter) amphibian in 2009 as part of a biodiversity survey of Floresta Nacional de Pau-Rosa, a protected area in the state of Amazonas (map).

During the month-long expedition, the team found 21 specimens of the brown-and-orange creature, which has mysteriously long, delicate fingers and toes. (Read about tree frogs in National Geographic magazine.)

The male frogs also have an unusually large vocal sac, a nearly transparent piece of skin that inflates to produce its unique high-pitched chirping sound. Male tree frogs in general make loud calls to communicate with females in distant treetops, but the new species is the first known to sound like a bat.

Once the team had brought their treasure back to the lab, “we kept talking about the ‘bat frog,’ which led to us talking about being fans of Ozzy Osbourne and Black Sabbath,” Peloso said.

At a concert in 1981, Osbourne bit the head off a bat that a fan threw on the stage, although Osbourne later said he believed it was rubber. Peloso named his bat frog Dendropsophus ozzyi, and it’s described November 6 in the journal Zootaxa.