World Bird News April 2007

The Birder's Market | Resource | Bird news for Britain / Rest of the World | World Bird News | World Bird News 2007 |  World Bird News April 2007

Surveys reveal raptor ‘super-roost’

Surveys reveal raptor ‘super-roost’

26-04-2007
Surveys in Senegal by LPO (BirdLife in France) have revealed a single roost containing over 28,600 Lesser Kestrel Falco naumanni and 16,000 African Swallow-tailed Kite Chelictinia riocourii – one of the largest bird of prey roosts ever found.
“One evening, I saw the passage of some 300 birds flying over,” said Philippe Pilard of LPO, who discovered the site in January 2007. “The next evening I saw 1,300 falcons fly over. I therefore decided to follow them, which was only possible on foot.”

text1

“I first walked 10 kilometres -even crossing rivers by canoe- and finally found the Lesser Kestrel roost, along with the African Swallow-tailed Kites.”
The existence of communal roosts during the non-breeding season -sometimes involving several thousand individuals- has been observed in a number of different countries including Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger. However conservationists have described this enormous roost -altogether some 45,000 insectivorous raptors- as exceptional.
The numbers of roosting Lesser Kestrel at this site are thought to represent more than half of the known breeding populations of western Europe and northern Africa combined. The roost likely held individuals from Morocco, Spain, Portugal and France.
The finding is the culmination of seven years of research and many hours of observation in the field by LPO ornithologists, funded for the past year by La Fondation Nature et Découvertes.
During the course of the next few years, comprehensive surveys of the region are now being planned.Lesser Kestrel is listed as Vulnerable by BirdLife. The species has undergone rapid declines in western Europe - equivalent to c.46% in each decade since 1950. As such, the species has been the subject of significant conservation efforts, particularly in its European breeding range.
LPO have used the discovery to highlight the importance of protecting wintering sites, as well as breeding sites, across the range of this migratory species.
“Although there have been a number of conservation efforts devoted to Lesser Kestrel in France and elsewhere in Europe, these efforts will be fruitless if nothing is put in place to protect its African wintering grounds.” said Yvan Tariel, Head of Raptor Conservation at LPO.

Survey uncovers Grauer’s Swamp-warbler nest

25-04-2007
Recent surveys of Africa’s Albertine Rift Valley have shed new light on Grauer’s Swamp-warbler Bradypterus graeuri, a particularly vocal Endangered bird that occurs nowhere else on Earth.
In the past, adult swamp-warblers have been recorded throughout the Rift Valley, in Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda and Rwanda. Yet breeding and nesting behaviour –two vital facets of information for conservationists working to save the species- remained largely unknown, until now.
“During our routine surveys of the Kabatwa Swamp in the Volcanoes National Park [in Rwanda], we came across a small cup-shaped nest perched in foliage 35cm from the ground. The nest was built from Poa leptocrada and other sedges. To our surprise there were two chicks sitting in the nest,” said Claudien Nsabagasani, Ornithological Researcher with Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International (DFGFI) and IBA Focal Point for Association pour la Conservation de la Nature au Rwanda, ACNR (BirdLife in Rwanda).
“We revisited the Swamp-warbler nest daily from then on to acquire information on nesting and feeding behaviour before the chicks fledged a week later.”
The photos of the warbler nest are Rwanda’s first, shedding important light on the reproductive ecology of the species.
The surveyors, supported by funding from RSPB (BirdLife in the UK) and DFGFI, had been monitoring Grauer’s Swamp-warbler over four seasons, starting in July 2006, in the Volcanoes National Park, an Important Bird Area (IBA). “With threatened species, every nest counts,” said Paul Kariuki Ndang’ang’a, the Species Programme Manager at BirdLife Africa Partnership Secretariat. “Information on where the birds choose to make their nests -at what height, and in what foliage– are all crucial pieces of information for those involved in managing and surveying these sites to help secure populations of threatened species.”
Grauer’s Swamp-warbler is listed as Endangered as a result of its very small, fragmented and declining range – a reflection of habitat loss as the Rift Valley’s mountain forests are converted to cultivation and pasture.
“The swamp-warbler population in the Volcanoes IBA are protected, which is encouraging news for the future of these newly discovered young fledglings,” said Serge Nsengimana, the ACNR Executive Officer. “But site protection remains a critical issue for the species as a whole.”
“Hopefully this added knowledge on nesting behaviour will help in our efforts to save this endemic species from possible extinction.”
In 2005, an ACNR-led team discovered Rwanda’s first Grauer’s Swamp-warbler nest at Rugezi Swamp, an IBA currently lacking legal protection.

Concern raised over illegal wild bird trade in Nicaragua

24-04-2007
Conservationists in Nicaragua are calling for measures to help control the country’s illegal capture and trade in wild birds.
The call comes after a BBC journalist, posing as an interested foreign buyer, was offered a number of parrot species, many for sale on the roadside. The same journalist was later offered a Great Green Macaw Ara ambiguous, listed by BirdLife and IUCN as Endangered, meaning that it faces a very high risk of extinction in the wild.
“In the capital of Nicaragua, any tourist can buy all kinds of threatened species, in particular those from the Psittacid [parrot] family.” said Jose Manuel Zolotoff of Fundacion Cocibolca (BirdLife’s project partner in Nicaragua). “You can get a sense of how profitable the trade is when a Great Green Macaw and Scarlet Macaw can be sold in a buffer zone for an average of $200-$400 <actinic:variable name="USD" />, being sold in the US for up to $2,000 <actinic:variable name="USD" />.”
In 2004, a national monitoring study in Nicaragua found parrot numbers had decreased by 69%, compared to previous monitoring exercises in 1999. The decline was put down to habitat loss and exportation for trade. As a result of the study, CITES, the convention governing international trade in species, recommended a ban on all parrot exportations in Nicaragua.
In a BBC News article, Nicaragua’s Environment Minister, Cristobal Sequiera, expressed frustration in controlling the problem, citing economic pressure and lack of awareness as factors driving the illegal trade.
“These people are poor. They don’t understand that we are trying to attract eco-tourists and that those tourists want to see Nicaragua’s beauty.” Mr Sequiera is quoted as saying.
“When we tell the poachers they could get real jobs in the tourism industry, they don’t see it’s in their interests to leave the birds alone.”
“The other problem is the lack of financial resources of MARENA [Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources/Ministerio del Ambiente y Recursos Naturales] to hire rangers to cover extensive amount of protected areas and buffer zones.” said Zolotoff.
“But these are problems that we must address if we are to save many of these species from a near certain extinction.”
Working alongside another organisation, Alianza para las Areas Silvestres (ALAS, Alliance for Natural Areas), Fundacian Cocibolca are currently putting together Nicaragua’s first directory of Important Bird Areas, supported by USFWS-Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act, IUCN Mesoamerica, the Dutch Government (DGIS) and the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund.
Using BirdLife’s IBA programme, the organisations are working to form a foundation for site monitoring and protection – both of which will become crucial components in future efforts to control the country’s illegal wild bird trade.

Conservationists join Ecuador President’s call to save Galapagos

23-04-2007
Two conservation organisations have supported Ecuador’s President Correa in calling that the Galapagos Islands become a national priority for action.
On the same day a delegation from UNESCO, the UN’s scientific, educational and cultural body, visited the islands, Mr Correa spoke publicly about the “danger” the islands were facing. In his statement he referred to growing threats from a rapidly increasing population, and increased incidence of invasive species –many of them predators of nesting birds.
To counteract this pressure, the President outlined a number of solutions including pushing for an implementation of the 1998 Special Law for Galapagos. This would mean investing in the Galapagos’ management authorities; promoting educational reform and ensuring development of sustainable tourism.
Tourism visitation has grown in the Galapagos Islands from 40,000 in 1991 to over 120,000 in 2006; over this period the tourism economy has grown at a yearly rate of 14%. This rapid economic growth has been coupled with a similar rise in immigration, outstripping the capacity of management authorities of the Galapagos, say the Charles Darwin Foundation (CDF).
"The consequences of this growth include an increase in invasive species, increased risk of pollution and finally the likelihood of greater pressures on high value marine resources," said Dr Graham Watkins, CDF’s Executive Director.
“We support the President’s call to action,” said Sandra Loor, Executive Director of Aves & Conservacion (BirdLife in Ecuador). “For us to counter the immense pressure facing the Galapagos Islands, these are crucial issues that must be addressed and followed through.”
Located some 1,000km off Ecuador’s mainland the Galapagos Islands are home to a number of threatened endemic species, many of them birds including: Galapagos Petrel Pterodroma phaeopygia (Critically Endangered), Galapagos Cormorant Phalacrocorax harrisi (Endangered), Galapagos Hawk Buteo galapagoensis (Vulnerable), Galapagos Penguin Spheniscus mendiculus (Endangered), Waved Albatross Phoebastria irrorata (Vulnerable) and Floreana Mockingbird Nesomimus trifasciatus (Endangered).In 2002, BirdLife warned that the Galapagos Islands' finches –made famous by Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection- were under threat from an introduced parasitic fly larvae – the third such case on the islands since 1997.

Festival celebrates Caribbean’s unique birds

Festival celebrates Caribbean’s unique birds

22-04-2007

Today sees the launch of the 6th Annual Caribbean Endemic Bird Festival: one month of events dedicated to raising support and awareness of the region's 208 bird species found nowhere else on Earth.
Coordinated by the Society for the Conservation and Study of Caribbean Birds (SCSCB) -the largest regional organisation devoted to bird conservation in the Caribbean– with whom BirdLife works closely, the festival is taken up locally by many Caribbean islands. The aim of the festival is to increase public awareness of the region’s exceptionally rich but threatened bird life, using the Caribbean's celebrated endemic birds as flagships for conservation.
The annual event last year attracted over 20,000 participants.
This year's Festival theme will focus on the threat of climate change to the region’s biological diversity.
"With climate change, our forests, watersheds, coastal wetlands, coral reefs and beaches are all expected to take yet another turn for the worst in ways we cannot even fully appreciate,” said Andrew Dobson, President of the SCSCB. “The only thing we are certain of is that native species, such as the wild birds of the Caribbean, are today faced with a suite of threats greater than they have ever confronted in their history."
Click here for further details.....

Caribbean Endemic Bird Festival

Caribbean Endemic Bird Festival

Recent reports from the World Meteorological Organization and the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) have highlighted the Caribbean islands as being at great risk from projected impacts of climate change.
“Biodiversity and people are both being adversely affected by climate change. Highlighting global warming in this year’s festival will help promote conservation actions that benefit all life.” said David Wege, BirdLife’s Caribbean Program Manager.
The festival will comprise public activities in each of the islands, such as bird-watching excursions, lectures, photographic exhibitions and school-based art competitions.
The Caribbean Endemic Bird Festival will last for a month; starting from today, Earth Day (22nd April), and running through to International Biodiversity Day on May 22nd.
Click here for further details.....

European outrage as Malta’s spring hunting season begins

10-04-2007
On the same day that Malta’s spring hunting season of birds begins, bird conservation organisations across Europe have united in protest against the Maltese government for allowing the practice to continue, despite ongoing legal and political action taken by the European Commission.
The European Partnership of BirdLife International -consisting of 42 separate national conservation organisations- have together urged the Maltese Prime Minister Dr Lawrence Gonzi to end spring hunting and “clamp down” on poaching.
The conservation groups argue that, since joining the EU in 2004, Malta has breached the European Birds Directive by allowing spring hunting of Turtle Dove and Quail. Spring hunting is prohibited by the Birds Directive in order to protect wild birds during their migration from Africa to breeding grounds in Europe.
This is the fourth consecutive breach of the EU law since Malta joined the Union in 2004.
Legal action by the European Commission against Malta began in June 2006, with a European Court case expected to start later this year. On 15 March 2007 the European Parliament adopted a strong resolution calling on Malta to end spring hunting and trapping of birds immediately.
Speaking on behalf of the BirdLife European Partnership, Konstantin Kreiser, EU Policy Manager at BirdLife International in Brussels said:
“Malta is a vital stepping-stone for these birds on their exhausting journey northwards, hence this is not an issue just for Malta – it affects all European nations.”
“Conservationists, citizens, organisations and governments across Europe have invested significant amounts of time and resources in protecting wild birds in their own countries. The fact that the Maltese government allows these birds to be killed during their journey to the breeding grounds is deeply shocking – particularly as this decision ignores the law and all scientific evidence and instead seems heavily influenced by upcoming elections.”
“The Maltese hunters may not want to live up to their common responsibility as Europeans but the Maltese government should.” said Kreiser.
Starting today, Malta’s spring hunting season will end on the 20 May. During the hunting period significant numbers of European Turtle-dove Streptopelia turtur and Common Quail Coturnix coturnix will be killed and trapped. Protected species like birds of prey are also known to be killed illegally during the hunting season.
This year –before the official opening of the season- the BirdLife Partner in Malta has already received reports of illegal shooting:
“Declining or endangered species continue to be shot illegally on a regular basis. Only last week a Pallid Harrier and a Purple Heron were found shot,” said Joseph Mangion, President of BirdLife Malta. “With the European population of Pallid Harriers down to only a handful of birds, the actions of a single Maltese hunter could impact dramatically on the future of this species. This scenario is repeated for a wide range of threatened birds that are shot illegally on a regular basis here in Malta.”
“BirdLife Malta and the whole European network of BirdLife International will continue to press Malta to stop spring hunting and to clamp down on poaching, otherwise the country risks not only a heavy fine from the European Court of Justice but also a further deterioration of its public reputation in the EU.” added Kreiser.

Long-distance Godwit sets new record

Long-distance Godwit sets new record

05-04-2007

A satellite-tracked Bar-tailed Godwit Limosa lapponica has set a new record for long-distance non-stop flight. The bird flew from North Island, New Zealand to Yalu Jiang, at the northern end of the Yellow Sea in China – a distance of 10,200 kilometres.
The movements of Bar-tailed Godwit can be viewed live - visit the Pacific Shorebird Migration Project website.

text

The Bar-tailed Godwit tracking study is being undertaken as part of the Pacific Shorebird Migration Project; involving biologists from PRBO Conservation Science, the US Geological Survey (USGS) Alaska Science Centre, Massey University and The University of Auckland (both New Zealand). The work was funded by the USGS and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation.
Previous research had revealed the godwits’ long journey southward, aided by favourable winds, from Alaska to New Zealand and Australia. The new findings show the godwits' capability in flying northward, without the benefit of tailwind. The flight took just nine days.
Conservationists have highlighted the value of satellite-tracking studies in the conservation of migratory bird species:
“Satellite-tracking is an important tool helping us to learn more about the incredible journeys these birds undertake and the threats they face along the way,” said Vicky Jones, BirdLife’s Global Flyways Officer. “The challenge is to use this knowledge to ensure effective conservation of migratory bird species throughout their flyways. This means protecting populations not only on their breeding and wintering grounds, but also at critical stopover sites used on passage.
Site protection remains a critical issue. Man-made changes -particularly reclamation and pollution- to wetland habitats along flyway routes have contributed to the recent declines observed in many of the world’s migratory waterbird species.
The coastal wetlands of China’s Yellow Sea, where the satellite-tracked godwits landed, are no exception: large areas of coastline continue to be reclaimed for agriculture, industry, urban expansion and other development – an estimated c.37% of intertidal areas have been lost since 1950. The Sea is vitally important to threatened waterbirds. To date, BirdLife have listed sixteen Important Bird Areas (IBAs) in the region, specifically to cover the most important breeding, passage and wintering sites.

Wings over Wetlands - The African-Eurasian Flyways Project

Wings over Wetlands - The African-Eurasian Flyways Project

Wings Over Wetlands (WOW) aims to improve the conservation of African-Eurasian migratory waterbirds through implementing measures to conserve the critical network of sites that these birds require to complete their annual cycle. click here

The Birder's Market | Resource | Bird news for Britain / Rest of the World | World Bird News | World Bird News 2007 |  World Bird News April 2007

add this

RSPB

RSPB GIFT MEMBERSHIP

RSPB GIFT MEMBERSHIP


celestron
Foto

Foto

Today' Best Deals
Lizard Bird Diary

Lizard Bird Diary

d





Compact Mini Rubber 8 x 21 Kids Binoculars

BTO

Valid CSS!