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The Cuban Sandhill Crane Grus canadensis nesiotes and Cuban Parrot Amazona leucocephala palmarum are considered endangered species in Cuba and the Isla de la Juventud (formerly Isla de Pinos). Coincident with a public education campaign, a population survey for these species was conducted in the northern part of the Isla de la Juventud on 17 December 1995, from 06hoo to 10hoo. Residents from throughout the island participated, manning 98 stations, with 1-4 observers per station. Parrots were observed at 60 (61.2%) of the stations with a total of 1320, maximum (without correction for duplicate observations), and 1100, minimum (corrected), individuals counted. Sandhill cranes were sighted at 38 (38.8%) of the stations,...
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We evaluated the abundance and distribution of low-elevation forest birds on windward Hawai'i Island during August 1993-February 1994, and present evidence of changes in the species composition of the forest bird community since 1979. Endemic Hawaiian birds occurred in native-dominated forests as low as 120 m elevation. Non-native species were detected at all survey locations. We observed non-native Saffron Finch Sicalis flaveola, previously unrecorded in Puna. Variable circular plot surveys of Kahauale'a Natural Area Reserve indicated the disappearance of two native species ('I'iwi Vestiaria coccinea and 'O'u Psittitostra psittacea), and two non-native additions (Red-billed Leiothrix Leiothrix lutea and Kalij Pheasant...
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Endemic to the islands of Guam and Rota in the Mariana Islands, Mariana Crow Corvus kubaryi is the only corvid in Micronesia. Currently, it survives on Guam only because of translocation of individuals from Rota (1999-2003). Island-wide surveys in 1982 and 1995 on Rota yielded population estimates of 1,348 and 592 respectively, indicating a 56% decrease in only 13 years. A sharp decline in the only viable Mariana Crow population has serious implications for conservation efforts on Rota and for efforts to re-establish the Guam population. However, the validity of the apparent decline has been debated among scientists and government management agencies. We augmented the 1982 and 1995 island-wide VCP surveys with (1)...
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The island of Aguiguan is part of the Mariana archipelago and currently supports populations of four endemic species, including one endemic genus, Cleptornis. Bird population trends since 1982 were recently assessed on the neighbouring islands of Saipan, Tinian, and Rota indicating declines in some native species. Point-transect surveys were conducted in 2008 by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to assess population densities and trends on Aguiguan. Densities for six of the nine native birds—White-throated Ground-dove Gallicolumba xanthonura, Collared Kingfisher Todiramphus chloris, Rufous Fantail Rhipidura rufifrons, Golden White-eye Cleptornis marchei, Bridled White-eye Zosterops conspicillatus and Micronesian...
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Estimating population abundances and patterns of change over time are important in both ecology and conservation. Trend assessment typically entails fitting a regression to a time series of abundances to estimate population trajectory. However, changes in abundance estimates from year-to-year across time are due to both true variation in population size (process variation) and variation due to imperfect sampling and model fit. State-space models are a relatively new method that can be used to partition the error components and quantify trends based only on process variation. We compare a state-space modelling approach with a more traditional linear regression approach to assess trends in uncorrected raw counts and...
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The Numeniini is a tribe of 13 wader species (Scolopacidae, Charadriiformes) of which seven are Near Threatened or globally threatened, including two Critically Endangered. To help inform conservation management and policy responses, we present the results of an expert assessment of the threats that members of this taxonomic group face across migratory flyways. Most threats are increasing in intensity, particularly in non-breeding areas, where habitat loss resulting from residential and commercial development, aquaculture, mining, transport, disturbance, problematic invasive species, pollution and climate change were regarded as having the greatest detrimental impact. Fewer threats (mining, disturbance, problematic...
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In the 1490s a minimum of 28 species of psittacines occurred in the West Indies. Today, only 43% (12) of the species survive. All macaws and most parakeet species have been lost. Although the surviving parrot fauna of the Greater Antilles, Cayman Islands, and Bahama Islands has fared somewhat better than that of the Lesser Antilles, every species has undergone extensive reductions of populations and all but two have undergone extensive reductions in range, mostly as a result of habitat loss, but also from persecution as agricultural pests, conflicts with exotic species, harvesting for pets, and natural disasters. The Cayman Brac Parrot Amazona leucocephala hesterna with its tiny population (less than 150 individuals...
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Cyclonic storms, variously called typhoons, cyclones, or hurricanes (henceforth, hurricanes), are common in many parts of the world, where their frequent occurrence can have both direct and indirect effects on bird populations. Direct effects of hurricanes include mortality from exposure to hurricane winds, rains, and storm surges, and geographic displacement of individuals by storm winds. Indirect effects become apparent in the storm's aftermath and include loss of food supplies or foraging substrates; loss of nests and nest or roost sites; increased vulnerability to predation; microclimate changes; and increased conflict with humans. The short-term response of bird populations to hurricane damage, before changes...
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The movement and migration pattern of the 'Near Threatened' Sooty Falcon Falco concolor is poorly known. Sooty Falcons breed on the islands of the Arabian Gulf after arriving from their non-breeding areas that are mainly in Madagascar. In the first satellite tracking of the species we fitted a 9.5 g Argos solar powered transmitter on an adult breeding Sooty Falcon off the western coast of Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. The bird successfully undertook autumn migration to Madagascar, a known wintering area for the species. We document the Sooty Falcon's autumn migration route and stop-over sites. The adult Sooty Falcon initiated its migration at night and with tailwinds, and travelled mainly during daytime...
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The avifauna of the Mariana Islands, an archipelago in the western Pacific, faces the threats of rapid economic development and the spread of non-native species, particularly a devastating predator, Brown Tree Snake Boiga irregularis. In this paper, we examine the status and trends of the land bird fauna of Saipan Island based on three island-wide surveys conducted in 1982, 1997, and 2007. During this period, the human population on Saipan increased more than four-fold and much of the island has been developed. The surveys employed standard point-transect methods based on Distance Sampling. Remarkably, we found nearly all species of land birds - 11 native species and three introduced species - to be common or abundant....
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The Hawaiian honeycreepers are thought to be limited primarily to middle- and high-altitude wet forests due to anthropogenic factors at lower altitudes, especially introduced mosquitotransmitted avian malaria. However, recent research has demonstrated that at least one native species, the Hawai'i 'Amakihi (Hemignathus virens virens), is common in areas of active malaria transmission. We examined the current distribution and abundance of native and exotic forest birds within approximately 640 km2 of low-altitude (0-326 m) habitat on south-eastern Hawai'i Island, using roadside variable circular plot (VCP) at 174 stations along eight survey transects. We also re-surveyed 90 stations near sea level that were last surveyed...
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Kirtland's Warbler Dendroica kirtlandii breeds in young jack pine Pinus banksiana forests on sandy soils in Michigan's lower peninsula, where there were 502 censused singing males in 1951 and 167 in 1974 and 1987. An ongoing control programme for the Brown-headed Cowbird Molothrus ater, a nest parasite, resulted in immediate and continued improvement in warbler reproductive success which was not, however, matched by an increase in warbler numbers until the 1990S. From three 1,000 ha reserves in the 1960s, currently over 54,000 ha are managed for the warbler. Despite the establishment of managed plantations, over 70% of arblers censused in the past 15 years have occupied habitat created by wildfires. Optimal habitat...
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Condors and vultures comprise the only group of terrestrial vertebrates in the world that are obligate scavengers, and these species move widely to locate ephemeral, unpredictable, and patchily-distributed food resources. In this study, we used high-resolution GPS location data to quantify monthly home range size of the critically endangered California Condor Gymnogyps californianus throughout the annual cycle in California. We assessed whether individual-level characteristics (age, sex and breeding status) and factors related to endangered species recovery program efforts (rearing method, release site) were linked to variation in monthly home range size. We found that monthly home range size varied across the annual...
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Migration routes used by Nearctic migrant birds can cover great distances; they also differ among species, within species, and between years and seasons. As a result, migration routes for an entire migratory avifauna can encompass broad geographic areas, making it impossible to protect continuous stretches of habitat sufficient to connect the wintering and breeding grounds for most species. Consequently, ways to enhance habitats converted for human use (i.e. for pasture, crop cultivation, human settlement) as stopover sites for migrants are especially important. Shelterbelts around pastures and fields, if planted with species targeted to support migrant (and resident) bird species that naturally occupy mature forest...
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Management of threatened and endangered populations of wildlife increasingly relies upon active intervention such as predator control, habitat manipulation, and ex situ breeding or care. One tool that has received consideration for the management of declining or threatened avian populations is headstarting, or the artificial incubation of eggs and subsequent placement of newly hatched chicks in original or foster nests. We assessed the feasibility of implementing a headstarting program for the American Oystercatcher Haematopus palliatus, a species of high conservation concern in the eastern USA. Annual productivity is often low and lost during incubation, suggesting artificial incubation could enhance annual productivity....