Monk parakeets build nest in New York


This video from the USA says about itself:

26 January 2016

A pair of Monk Parakeets builds a stick nest in New York. It may come as a surprise to see noisy, green-and-gray parrots racing through North American cities. But Monk Parakeets, native to South America, have been long popular in the pet trade, and established wild populations in the U.S. in the 1960s.

Ring-necked parakeet eats apple, video


In this video, a ring-necked parakeet eats an apple. Until a blackbird arrives …

Monique Smulders made this video in Alphen aan den Rijn in the Netherlands on 18 January 2016.

Ghana’s grey parrots in danger


This video says about itself:

African Grey Parrots in the Wild

23 June 2008

Grey Parrots (Psittacus erythacus) foraging and flying in Cameroon, Africa.

From BirdLife:

Ghana’s Grey Parrot population may soon cease to exist

By Kariuki Ndang’ang’a, Mon, 11/01/2016 – 08:08

In the last two decades Ghana has lost 90-99% of its Grey Parrot (Psittacus erithacus) population. This is according to a recently published study by a team of researchers from Ghana and the United Kingdom associated to Manchester Metropolitan University and BirdLife International.

The population decline of the Grey Parrot, a heavily traded bird species, is evidenced by among others, the near-total loss of the major roosts known in 1992. Further evidence indicates an almost a ten-fold reduction in bird encounter rates observed in the 1990s compared to 2014, as well as the perceptions of 96% of the almost a thousand residents that were interviewed during the study.

“Dedicated searching, including visits to roosts which previously had as many as 1,200 individuals 20 years ago, yielded just a handful of Grey Parrot sightings”, said Nathaniel Annorbah, a Ghanaian graduate student of the Manchester Metropolitan University, and the lead author of the scientific paper published in Ibis an international journal of avian science.

“Grey Parrot populations in Ghana have declined catastrophically and the species is now very rare across the country”, added Dr Nigel Collar from BirdLife International.

The authors of the paper titled, ‘Trade and habitat change virtually eliminate the Grey Parrot Psittacus erithacus from Ghana’, attributes the population decline to four main factors: trade, overall forest reduction, silvicultural practices and farmland timber harvesting.

Illegal trade must surely have contributed to the post-1990 declines that we report. This is affirmed by the fact that in the years 1991–2012 when trade was outlawed and Ghana’s reported exports of Grey Parrots totaled just 35 individuals, the population in the country still declined by 95%”, emphasized Dr Stuart Marsden from Manchester Metropolitan University.

“After a successful campaign to ban the trade in Grey Parrots lead by the Wildlife clubs of Ghana, the junior wing of Ghana Wildlife society this comes as a great disappointment”, observes Mr Japheth Roberts of Ghana Wildlife society (GWS, BirdLife Partner in Ghana). “However, it shows us that there are challenges associated with sustaining conservation action and impact over the long term. Having achieved success before, this is the time for GWS and its partners to hit the ground running to arrest and reverse the catastrophic collapse of Grey parrots in Ghana”, he adds.

The situation for Grey Parrot is not only grim in Ghana, but in most of the West Africa region. “Lack of evidence from this and other studies that any Grey Parrot populations in the West Africa region are healthy, suggest that trade in the species must surely be ruled out in the region”, observes Kariuki Ndang’ang’a, the BirdLife Africa Team Leader for Species Science.

In fact the authors question whether indeed there should be any further trade in much of mainland Central Africa as well. The IUCN Red List classification of both Grey Parrots, and especially the much smaller-ranged Timneh Parrot (Psittacus timneh) clearly requires re-evaluating.

In 2013/14, the Africa Secretariat of BirdLife International and CITES supported stakeholders in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Democratic Republic of Congo and Côte d’Ivoire to draft national management plans  for the Grey Parrot, as well as update an existing one for Cameroon. These management plans including methods for monitoring populations and trade in the species must be implemented without delays.

Record ring-necked parakeet numbers in Haarlem city


This is a video from India about a nest of rose-ringed parakeets (Psittacula krameri), also known as ring-necked parakeets.

The Vogelwerkgroep Zuid-Kennemerland in the Netherlands reports about their counting of ring-necked parakeets in Haarlem. All these birds sleep in two trees along the Amerikavaart canal.

On Saturday 19 December, around sunset, 783 parakeets were counted. A record number for this species in Haarlem in winter. In January 2014, 638 birds had been counted.

When a sparrowhawk (a bird of prey, roughly the same size as the parakeets) flew near a tree, it did not really upset the ring-necked parakeets. Only five birds started flying to drive the sparrowhawk away.

However, when a goshawk, a bigger bird of prey, appeared, all parakeets started flying, and it took them ten minutes to settle again.

More migratory bird conservation needed


This video says about itself:

Red-spectacled Parrot, Amazona pretrei

13 June 2013

Every year thousands of Red-spectacled Parrots migrate to Urupema, Santa Catarina in southern Brazil, where they congregate in austral autumn and winter between March and July, providing one of the most amazing nature phenomena.

From BirdLife:

World failing to protect its migratory birds

By Ade Long, Thu, 03/12/2015 – 19:10

A new study published in Science has called for a greater international collaborative effort to save the world’s migratory birds, many of which are at risk of extinction due to loss of habitat along their flight paths.

More than 90 per cent of the world’s migratory birds are inadequately protected due to poorly coordinated conservation around the world.

The research, which included using BirdLife International’s data on migratory bird distributions and Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs), found huge gaps in the conservation of migratory birds, particularly across China, India, and parts of Africa and South America. This results in the majority of migratory birds having ranges that are well covered by protected areas in one country, but poorly protected in another.

Major declines

“More than half of migratory bird species travelling the world’s main flyways have suffered serious population declines in the past 30 years. This is due mainly to unequal and ineffective protection across their migratory range and the places they stop to refuel along their routes,” says lead author Dr Claire Runge of Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED) and the University of Queensland (UQ).

“A typical migratory bird relies on many different geographic locations throughout its annual cycle for food, rest and breeding. So even if we protect most of their breeding grounds, it’s still not enough – threats somewhere else can affect the entire population,” she says. “The chain can be broken at any link.”

Remarkable journeys

Co-author Dr James Watson of CEED and UQ explains that these birds undertake remarkable journeys navigating across land and sea to find refuge as the seasons change, from endurance flights exceeding 10,000 kilometres by Bar-tailed Godwits to the annual relay of Arctic Terns, which fly the equivalent of the distance to the moon and back three times during their lives.

Other examples include the Sooty Shearwater which flies 64,000 kilometres from the Falkland Islands/Islas Malvinas to the Arctic, and the tiny Blackpoll Warbler, which flies for three days non-stop across open-ocean from eastern Canada to South America.

Inadequate protection

The CEED study found that of 1,451 migratory bird species, 1,324 had inadequate protection for at least one part of their migration pathway. Eighteen species had no protection in their breeding areas and two species had no protection at all along their whole route.

For migratory bird species listed as threatened on the IUCN Red List by BirdLife International, less than three per cent have sufficient protected areas. “For example, the Red-spectacled Amazon—a migratory parrot of Brazil—is threatened by habitat loss,” says Dr Stuart Butchart, Head of Science at BirdLife International and a co-author of the study. “And yet less than four per cent of its range is protected, and almost none of its seasonal breeding areas in southern Brazil are covered.”

IBAs need more protection

The team also examined over 8,200 Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas that have been identified as internationally important locations for migratory bird populations. They found that just 22 per cent are completely protected, and 41 per cent only partially overlap with protected areas.

“Establishing new reserves to protect the unprotected sites – and more effectively managing all protected areas for migratory species – is critical to ensure the survival of these iconic species,” Dr Butchart adds.

Joined up conservation needed for migratory species

Co-author Associate Professor Richard Fuller of CEED says the results highlight an urgent need to coordinate protected area designation along the birds’ full migration route: “For instance, Germany has protected areas for over 98 per cent of the migratory species that pass its borders, but fewer than 13 per cent of its species are adequately protected across their global range.

“It isn’t just a case of wealthy nations losing their migratory birds to a lack of protection in poorer nations. Many Central American countries, for example, meet the targets for more than 75 per cent of their migratory species, but these same species have less protected area coverage in Canada and USA.”

While protected areas are usually designated by each country, collaborative international partnerships and inter-governmental coordination as well as action are crucial to safeguard the world’s migratory birds.

“It won’t matter what we do in Australia or in Europe if these birds are losing their habitat somewhere else – they will still perish. We need to work together far more effectively round the world if we want our migratory birds to survive into the future,” Dr Fuller says.

More information:

The study “Protected areas and global conservation of migratory birds” by Claire Runge, James Watson, Stuart Butchart, Jeffrey Hanson, Hugh Possingham and Richard Fuller is published in Science.

The study was led by the ARC Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED).

Green-winged macaws back in Argentina after 200 years


This is a green-winged macaw video from Brazil.

By Aves Argentinas in Argentina, Monday, 02/11/2015 – 17:31:

The return of a giant: Green-winged Macaw back in Argentina

After an almost two hundred-year disappearance, the first Green-winged macaws have been released in northeastern Argentina. BirdLife Partner Aves Argentinas describes how they brought this giant of the parrot world back into their former range.

Macaws have been historically persecuted by humans because of their colorful plumage. In the province of Corrientes in northeastern Argentina, there were at least two species: the Glaucous Macaw (Anodorhynchus glaucus), which became globally extinct, and the Green-winged macaw (Ara chloropterus), which also disappeared from the region. The macaws inhabited fields with jungle islands between estuaries, and palm and gallery forests along the waterways.

Today the only Green-winged Macaw populations close to Corrientes are more than 300 kilometers to the north in the states of Mato Grosso do Sul and Parana in Brazil, in the extreme northern Paraguay, and in southeastern Bolivia, and they are not sufficiently protected. The Green-winged Macaw is globally listed in the IUCN Red List as a species of “Least Concern”. In Argentina it is classified as a “critically endangered” species, although there are no recent records and the species is considered extinct.

An opportunity to recover a giant of the parrot world

Because of the precarious state of the Green-winged macaw’s survival in Corrientes, a recovery project was begun. Fortunately, the Ibera Natural Reserve represents a unique opportunity to save this species because the reserve has a large area of protected habitat sufficient to allow forest islands to harbor a stable population of Green-winged macaws.

Additionally, in Ibera there are institutions and experts with experience in working with the restoration of extinct and endangered populations as diverse as the giant anteater, the pampas deer and the collared peccary. Another positive development is the growth of ecotourism in Ibera, where the presence of these birds will attract tourists, which will contribute to the development of local communities. The cultural value of Corrientes still present in artistic expressions and historical accounts has also been preserved.

From captivity to freedom

The project focusses on using captive Green-winged macaws originating from several zoos and breeding centers around the country. These birds form the “Ecological Complex of Aguará,” located in the province of Corrientes, where groups of individuals are consolidated and all health checks are performed to rule out diseases that may be spread in the wild following the release. Before their release, the birds spent several weeks in an acclimation aviary in the Cambyretá area, proving the northern access to the Esteros del Ibera.

In this aviary, the macaws learn to feed on native fruits and develop other skills for their reintegration into the wild. The birds are equipped with a small radio transmitter that allows the tracking of each individual in the field. After their release and as they expand their range, the macaws are monitored by project staff to check their adaptation to the natural environment, reproduction and long-term survival.

The power of many

The Conservation Land Trust financing most of the project thanks to the donation of a European philanthropist, and bringing its previous experience in wildlife reintroduction projects in Ibera.  The CONICET scientists contribute their knowledge on the ecology of these birds and their reintroduction. The Directorate of Natural Resources of Corrientes provides the Center Aguará facilities, where the macaws are kept before being transferred to Ibera.

The Directorate of Parks and Reserves authorizes and supervises the proper implementation of the project on the ground. Several ecological parks, wildlife centers and zoos across the country provide the macaws to be released. Conservation institutions as Aves Argentinas (BirdLife in Argentina) and The World Parrot Trust have supported the project from its beginnings, contributing their skills and experience in the conservation of endangered species.

Finally, several groups of volunteers, including scouts, schools and club birders help to disseminate information on the project, and contribute their observations of animals in the field. Through this initiative, Argentina regains its first extinct species from the ex-situ management of wild bird specimens, and will continue working on their recovery through intensive management.

More information: http://www.proyectoibera.org/guacamayo

Ring-necked parakeets and autumn colours


Ring-necked parakeet male, 23 October 2015

On 23 October 2015, ring-necked parakeets came to the trees opposite my window. Including this male, #A13.

Ring-necked parakeet male, on 23 October 2015

As one can see, the trees are in their autumn colours.

Ring-necked parakeet, 23 October 2015