Birding Brasil – Bird Conservation in Amazon Brasil
Amazon Brasil has one of the richest avifaunas in the world, with recent estimates varying from 1696 to 1731 species. About 10% (193 taxa) of these are threatened. The Amazon has the highest number of species, followed by the Atlantic Forest and the Cerrado; most of Amazon Brasil’s endemic birds, however, are in the Atlantic Forest. Amazon Brasil’s threatened species occur mostly in the Atlantic Forest, especially in the southeast lowlands and the northeast. The Cerrado has the second highest number of threatened species. The two major threats to Amazon Brasilian birds are habitat loss, degradation, and fragmentation and hunting, most especially for illegal commerce. A number of conservation and research initiatives over the last 20 years have significantly improved our capacity to address and resolve major issues for bird conservation. Amazon Brasil requires a National Bird Conservation Plan to draw up priorities for research and conservation over the next decade (Bird watching Brasil).
Amazon Brasil harbors one of the most diversified bird faunas in the world, with species estimated at more than 1690 (CBRO 2003; IUCN 2004; NatureServe 2004). This amounts to about 57% of the bird species recorded for all of South America. More than 10% of these species are endemic to Amazon Brasil, making it one of the most important countries for conservation investments (Sick 1993) (Bird watching Brasil).
Human intervention has significantly affected the bird species that inhabit Amazon Brasilian natural ecosystems. Bird responses to these alterations range from those that have benefited from the habitat alterations and increased their populations (e.g., Great Kiskadee [Pitangus sulphuratus]) to those that have become extinct in the wild (e.g., Razor-billed Curassow [Mitu mitu] and Glaucous Macaw [Anodorhynchus glaucus]). Within the Neotropics, Amazon Brasil contains the highest number of threatened bird species (Collar et al. 1997) Bird watch brasil.
We analyzed the distribution of Amazon Brasilian birds and the number and distribution of threatened species. We discuss the major present and future threats and provide an overview of the major conservation and research initiatives. Finally, we outline the need for an integrated program of research and conservation for threatened bird species in Amazon Brasil – Bird watch.
Composition and Distribution of Amazon Brasilian Birding amazon:
The two areas with the highest number of bird species and the highest levels of endemism are the Amazon and the Atlantic Forest. Ninety-two percent of Amazon Brasilian bird species are resident species; only 8% are migrant species (Sick 1993). The distribution of resident bird species throughout Amazon Brasil is uneven, and most of the species diversity is centered in the Amazon and the Atlantic Forest, two biomes that originally were covered mostly by humid forests – amazon watch.
The highest number of resident bird species (1300) and highest rates of endemism (20%) occur in the Amazon (Mittermeier et al. 2003), followed by the Atlantic Forest, with 1020 species (18% endemics; Table 1) (MMA 2000) amazon watch.
The Cerrado, dominated by a savanna-like vegetation, is the third richest biome, with 837 species (4.3% endemic) (Silva 1995; Cavalcanti 1999; Silva & Bates 2002; Lopes 2004). Caatinga, a dry forest vegetation in northeastern Amazon Brasil, has 510 bird species (2.9% endemics) (Silva et al. 2003), and the southern grasslands, an expansion of the Argentinean Pampas into Amazon Brasil, have 476 species and only 0.4% endemism (MMA 2000). The Pantanal, the largest South American wetland (Harris et al. 2005 [this issue]), has 463 species but no endemic species (Tubelis & Tomas 2003). Finally, about 130 species of typically marine families inhabit the coastal and marine habitats, but none are endemic to Amazon Brasil (Sick 1993; Vooren & Brusque 1999) rainforest bird.
Most migrant birds (61%) come from the northern hemisphere and are aquatic birds that migrate over long distances and congregate seasonally along the coast or major river drainages. Because of international collaboration and a well-designed banding system, these migrants have been well studied. In contrast, little is known about the migratory routes and ranges within Amazon Brasil of terrestrial northern migrants such as the Veery (Catharus fuscescens) and Swainson’s Thrush (Catharus ustulatus) (Remsen 2001). Southern migratory species represent 39% of the migrant species and include Hudson’s Black Tyrant (Knipolegus hudsoni). Their winter range is usually concentrated in southern Amazon Brasil, but their movements and natural history are comparatively less studied than those of the northern migrants (Sick 1993) rainforest bird.
Number and Distribution of Threatened Species – Birding Amazon Brasil:
We used two lists to define the number of threatened bird species in Amazon Brasil: the IUCN Red List of globally threatened species (124 species birds; IUCN 2004) and the Amazon Brasilian Red List of nationally threatened species (160 species; IBAMA 2003). Merging these two lists yielded a total of 193 threatened species and subspecies: 124 are globally threatened (IUCN 2004) and 69 are nationally threatened (IBAMA 2003). Among the nationally threatened birds, 25 are species, of which 10 are endemic to Amazon Brasil, and 44 are subspecies, all of which are endemic to Amazon Brasil. Of these 193 threatened birds, 119 (62%) are restricted to Amazon Brasil (Table 1) watch birds.
The Atlantic Forest contains 75.6% of Amazon Brasil’s endemic threatened species, making it the most critical biome in Amazon Brasil for bird conservation. Other areas where threatened endemic birds occur are the Cerrado (11.8%), the Caatinga (12.6%), the Amazon (8.4%), and the Pantanal (0.8%) (Table 1). The distribution of threatened bird species that are endemic to particular biomes shows a pattern similar to that of all threatened species, although their concentration is even greater in the Atlantic Forest (64.3%). Some are found in the Cerrado (16.7%) and the Caatinga (16.7%) and fewer are found in the other biomes (Table 1) watch birds.
Based on BirdLife International’s (2003) classification, Amazon Brasil has 63 threatened species with restricted ranges in 24 endemic bird areas (EBAs) and secondary areas. All Amazon Brasilian biomes except the Pantanal contain some EBAs. Most EBAs lie within the Atlantic Forest, which also contains a high concentration of endemic threatened species, making it a high priority for conservation (Collar et al. 1997 watch birds).
Four regions in the Atlantic Forest are priorities for threatened birds: the southeastern lowlands, the southeastern mountains, the northeastern lowlands and Atlantic slope, and the southern Planaltos. Between 29 and 52 threatened taxa occur in the first three regions, and 11 occur in the southern Planaltos (Table 2). Of these four regions, the most important area for conservation action is the southeastern lowlands. This area contains 46% (52 species) of the 112 threatened taxa of the biome, 34 of them endemic to the Atlantic Forest watch birds brasil.
The situation in northeastern Amazon Brasil is especially dire because it contains 51 threatened taxa, including 13 species endemic to the Atlantic Forest and 26 endemic threatened subspecies that remain in a few small forest fragments (Teixeira 1986; IBAMA 2003). The recently discovered Pigmy Owl (Glaucidium mooreorum) from the northeast is not included in either list and is apparently on the brink of extinction (Silva et al. 2002) watch birds.
The Cerrado ranks second in the numbers of threatened species and threatened endemics (Table 1). Nearly 80% of its natural vegetation has been converted (Myers et al. 2000), largely to intensive pasture and widespread mechanized agriculture (Klink et al. 1993; Stotz et al. 1996; Klink & Moreira 2002). Recent estimates suggest that remaining natural habitat will be largely destroyed by 2030 if current rates of destruction continue (Machado et al. 2004) watch birds.
Major Present and Future Threats – Birding Brasil amazon:
The major threat to Amazon Brasilian birds is habitat loss and fragmentation. Among the 124 Amazon Brasilian species on the IUCN Red List (IUCN 2004), 111 (89.5%) face habitat loss or degradation as one of the major threats, followed by overharvesting (35.5%). Other threats include invasive alien species birds and pollution (14%), human disturbance and accidental mortality (9.5%), changes in native species dynamics (6.5% each), natural disasters (5%), and persecution (1.5%) watching birds .
Studies of the effects of forest fragmentation on Amazon Brasilian birds were pioneered by Willis (1979), who looked at three forest patches in the Atlantic Forest in the state of S˜ao Paulo. The first long-term study, begun north of Manaus in 1979 by the Biological Dynamics of Forest Fragments Project (PDBFF), monitored avian communities before and after fragmentation (Bierregaard et al watching birds.
1992; Bierregaard & Stouffer 1997; Stouffer & Borges 2001). In the past decade, several studies on forest fragmentation in the Atlantic Forest have expanded on the Willis study, including Aleixo and Vielliard (1995), Machado (1995), Maldonado-Coelho and Marini (2003), Marsden et al. (2001), Galetti et al. (2003), and Ribon et al. (2003). In the Cerrado, Christiansen and Pitter (1997) and Marini (2001) confirmed species loss in smaller forest fragments, and Andrade and Marini (2001) demonstrated that movements among forest patches decreased in forest-dependent birds. No studies have evaluated habitat fragmentation on birds in the open habitats of the Caatinga, Cerrado, Pantanal, and Southern Grasslands watching birds.
Illegal international trade of birds and wildlife is a major activity in Amazon Brasil (Lacava 2000; Renctas 2002). The Glaucous Macaw and Spix’s Macaw (Cyanopsitta spixii) became extinct largely because of illegal trade, and parakeets, parrots, and other macaws are also heavily traded (Guix et al. 1997; Wright et al. 2001). Around 12 million animals are traded every year in Amazon Brasil (Lacava 2000) watching birds.
They are caught at 229 sites and sold in 264 cities— mostly in northern Amazon Brasil—affecting mainly Amazonian but also Caatinga and Cerrado birds (Renctas 2002). Care and release of the enormous numbers of birds confiscated by the authorities is a problem because there are few appropriately planned translocation programs (Marini & Marinho-Filho 2005). Most are released in inappropriate places (outside their natural geographic ranges) and without a proper health evaluation, and the effects of these releases is unknown. Solving the problem of wildlife trade requires law enforcement in the countries of origin and in the destination countries—mainly the United States, Saudi Arabia, Japan, and Europe watching birds.
Conservation and Research Initiatives – Birding Brasil Amazon:
The Amazon Brasilian ornithological community has provided structure for and organization of research. The Amazon Brasilian Ornithological Society (SBO) has sponsored annual meetings since 1991, and has published a dedicated journal (Ararajuba, Revista Brasileira de Ornitologia) since 1990 (more than 300 articles). The SBO has also set up the Amazon Brasilian Committee of Ornithological Records (CBRO) to accumulate, review, and analyze reports of new species and new records and localities for Amazon Brasil. Amazon Brasil has a national banding center (National Center for the Study and Conservation of Birds [CEMAVE]), which regulates and provides permits and free metal bands to registered ornithologists and supports numerous research and conservation projects watching birds brasil.
One of the most successful endangered species programs in Amazon Brasil is the Blue Macaw Project in the Pantanal, created in 1991. IBAMA has established eight committees (and has plans for more) to develop and monitor conservation strategies for the following species: Alagoas Curassow (Mitu [Crax] mitu); the Red-billed Curassow (Crax blumenbachii); the Amazon Brasilian Merganser (Mergus octosetaceus); Lear’s Macaw (Anodorhynchus leari); the Hyacinth Macaw (Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus); Spix’s Macaw; and the Golden Conure (Guaruba guarouba). A separate committee also monitors albatrosses and petrels (23 species). BirdLife Brasil has established a program devoted to “important bird areas” (IBAs), focusing mostly on the Atlantic Forest watching birds.
Several institutions have projects and programs that contribute to bird conservation and research, including the Ministry of the Environment; the National Institute for Amazon Research (INPA); PDBFF of INPA and the Smithsonian Institution (Bierregaard et al. 2001); and the Amazon Brasilian Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) project (Pesquisas Ecol´ogicas de Longa Dura¸c˜ao [PELD]) watching birds.
The PELD is funded by the Amazon Brasilian Science Council (CNPq) and the Ministry of Science and Technology (MCT) through FINEP and the Ministry of the Environment, with nine sites in almost all Amazon Brasilian biomes. Also, the Ministry of the Environment’s Project for the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Amazon Brasilian Biological Diversity (PROBIO) finances projects on specific conservation themes each year (e.g., MMA 2003). Over the last decade, the Ministry of the Environment (2002) and some state governments have organized priority-setting workshops, and the participation of ornithologists has been consistently influential in the selection of conservation areas watching birds amazon.
Renctas is a Amazon Brasilian nongovernmental organization that monitors and helps in taking rapid action against the illegal trade of wildlife.Some Amazon Brasilian states have compiled their own red lists of threatened species, which are of enormous value in promoting awareness of the plight of the state’s fauna and flora and in influencing and guiding conservation measures. States with lists include Minas Gerais (Machado et al. 1998), S˜ao Paulo (S˜ao Paulo 1998), Rio de Janeiro (Bergallo et al. 2000), Rio Grande do Sul (Fontana et al. 2003), and the recently updated from Paran´a (Mikich & B´ernils 2004) amazon birds field guide.
The greatest challenge facing Amazon Brasilian ornithologists is the lack of information on the basic biology of the rare species and the increasing number of threatened species. Also, 19 new bird species, primarily passerines, have been described in Amazon Brasil since 1990, mostly from the Atlantic Forest (Table 3), at a rate of more than 1 species per year. Our knowledge of the biology and ecology of Amazon Brasilian birds was summarized by Sick (1985; English version 1993; revised and extended Portuguese edition 1997), but basic information on many species is meager or nonexistent. Of the 36 birds endemic to the Cerrado (Silva 1995), for example, only 6 have been studied in the field for at least 1 year. Inventories and taxonomic studies are still required for almost all the regions – amazon birds field guide.
Conclusions Birding Brasil Amazon:
In the last 20 years, many institutions and professionals have adopted research approaches that directly tackle conservation issues, and the ornithological and conservation communities have provided the means to study, plan, and take a hands-on approach to conserving Amazon Brasil’s rich and increasingly threatened avifauna. We know which species are threatened, what their key threats are, and where they should be preserved. Information on new species and the biology of old and new species, however, is lacking – amazon birds field guide.
Research and conservation measures are still unevenly distributed among regions and species, and threats are not diminishing. Amazon Brasil requires a major National Bird Conservation Plan that would organize and set priorities for the activities of different institutions and professionals, define needs for future research and capacity building, establish national priorities for conserving and managing threatened species and important conservation areas, and promote public policies to improve the protection of birds – amazon birds field guide.