World Bird News for April 2011

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Critically Endangered Restinga Antwren

Critically Endangered Restinga Antwren

Sérgio Cabral, Governor of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, has signed an historic decree creating an important new protected area – The Costa do Sol State Park. The new park is the only place in the world that the Critically Endangered Restinga Antwren Formicivora littoralis is found and encompasses 9,840 hectares of unique habitat – the Restinga de Maçambaba – that has been long-identified as a priority IBA by SAVE Brasil (BirdLife in Brazil).

Speaking at a formal announcement ceremony on 15 April that was held in the city of Búzios, at the headquarters of the Lagos São João Consortium (CLSJ), Cabral said “Parks attract tourists and the Costa do Sol State Park will be innovative, the first in Brazil to involve so many municipalities. The environment is, undoubtedly, a tool of economic development, especially in a beautiful region like this. We are preserving nature so people can benefit from this region”. The ceremony was also attended by the vice-governor of Rio de Janeiro, Luiz Fernando Pezão; the State Secretary of Environment, Carlos Minc (former Ministry of Environment); the president of the State Environmental Institute (INEA), Marilene Ramos; the executive sub-secretary of the Secretary of Environment, Luiz Firmino Martins Pereira; and the director of Biodiversity and Protected Areas of INEA, André Ilha, in addition to the mayors of the six municipalities that the park covers – Saquarema, Araruama, Arraial do Cabo, São Pedro da Aldeia, Cabo Frio and Búzios.

The state government and Lagos São João Consortium, together with SAVE Brasil and local civil society organizations, have been working in partnership, advocating for the park to be created for several years. SAVE Brasil’s participation has been supported by BirdLife Species Champions Dr. Urs-Peter Stäuble and Birdfair (The British Birdwatching Fair) through a BirdLife Preventing Extinctions Programme project that aims to save Restinga Antwren and protect the many other threatened species present in the area. The project is also supported through the IUCN’s Save Our Species fund.

Speaking after the announcement ceremony, SAVE Brasil’s Director of Conservation – Pedro Develey – commented “ We are delighted by this important announcement which should act as a beacon of hope to environmentalists lobbying for protected areas throughout the world. The new park will help conserve ecosystems that are among the most threatened in the state of Rio de Janeiro, including the restingas, marshes, lakes and lagoons, areas of mangroves, forest, sandy and rocky shores, and 15 coastal islands. Securing official protection is a huge achievement.”

The Costa do Sol State Park encompasses the entire range of the endemic and Critically Endangered Restinga Antwren and other rare, endemic and/or threatened animal species found there include; Tropical Mockingbird Mimus gilvus; Sand Lizard Liolaemus lutzae, and Golden Lion Tamarin Leontopithecus rosalia. The lagoons and marshes are used by migratory birds as feeding, reproduction, or resting areas and among the threatened plant species are various bromeliads, cactus and the Pau-brasil Caesalpinia echinata.
An important stage in gaining support for establishment of the new park came in December 2010, when the Plano de Ação Nacional para a Conservação do Formigueiro-do-litoral (National Action Plan for the Conservation of the Restinga Antwren) was published. The Plan was developed by Instituto Chico Mendes para a Conservação da Biodiversidade (ICMBio, Brazilian environmental agency) and SAVE Brasil, in collaboration with INEA, the Rio de Janeiro State University (UERJ), BirdLife Species Guardian for Restinga Antwren – Pingo D’Água, PROBIO III, The World Bank and BirdLife International.

In addition to help received through the BirdLife Preventing Extinctions Programme, additional recent support facilitating SAVE Brasil’s capacity development has been gratefully received from Arcadia and the Aage V. Jensen Charity Foundation.

The Babbler Issue 37 available

Access the 37th edition (January -March 2011) of The Babbler, the quarterly newsletter of BirdLife International in Indochina online at or download it as a pdf here- 4.5 MB).

In this edition:
• Feature: Alleged mortality and trapping of Black-faced Spoonbill Platalea minor in the Red river Delta, Vietnam

• Regional News:

Satellite tagged Black-faced Spoonbill in Cambodia and southern Vietnam
Vietnam zoo owner jailed for tiger sales
Examination reveals fate of rare Javan rhino at the hands of poacher, says WWF
Monkey business in Vietnam
• IBA News:

Kampong Trach: New threats and developments
Boeung Prek Lapouv Sarus Crane Reserve: a new dry grassland?
Ba Be National Park finally makes Ramsar list
Ba Hon grasslands under threat

• Rarest of the rare: Himalayan Griffon Vulture

• Project Updates

• Review:
An analysis of attitudes and bear bile use in Vietnam
Summary of Tiger Trade Investigation Findings, Vietnam 2010
BirdLife leads first biodiversity baseline assessment of a REDD site in Oddar Meanchey Province, Cambodia

• Profile: Arlyne Johnson and Michael Hedemark: Double duty for conservation in Laos

And much more…

US public lands essential for hundreds of species

The United States Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar has released the 2011 State of the Birds Report, the nation’s first assessment of birds on lands and waters owned by the American people. The findings indicate tremendous potential for bird conservation: publicly owned habitats support at least half of the entire U.S. distributions of more than 300 bird species.

The report concludes that America’s public lands and waters, ranging from national wildlife refuges to national parks to national forests, offer significant opportunities to halt or reverse the decline of many species. More than 1,000 bird species inhabit the U.S., 251 of which are federally threatened, endangered, or of conservation concern. The report provides a scientific tool to help public agencies identify the most significant conservation opportunities in each habitat.

“The State of the Birds report is a measurable indicator of how well we are fulfilling our shared role as stewards of our nation’s public lands and waters”, Salazar said. “Although we have made enormous progress in conserving habitat on public lands, we clearly have much more work to do. The good news is that because birds so extensively use public lands and waters as habitat, effective management and conservation efforts can make a significant difference in whether these species recover or slide towards extinction.”

“This report is telling us that we must take action to protect the public lands our nation’s birds depend on”, said David Yarnold, President & CEO, Audubon. “That means environmentally-sound siting for green energy­­—and the discipline to wean ourselves off fossil fuel. That means adequate funding for the public agencies that preserve, restore and manage these lands for wildlife and the millions of Americans that visit them. And that means investing in the kind of public-private partnerships that have shaped conservation since Teddy Roosevelt established Florida’s Pelican Island as the first federal bird reservation in 1903, with support from the Florida Audubon Society.”

Audubon scientists contributed to the report, which assessed the distribution of birds on nearly 344 million hectares of public land and 10 million square kilometres of ocean. It relied on high-performance computing techniques to generate detailed bird distribution maps based on citizen-science data reported to eBird and information from the U.S. Geological Survey’s Protected Areas Database of the United States. The report also relied on decades of data from Audubon’s Christmas Bird Count, begun in 1900.

The report highlighted the wide variety of bird habitats on public lands. These include:

?Aridlands: More than half of U.S. aridlands are publicly owned. Thirty-nine per cent of aridland bird species are of conservation concern and more than 75% of species are declining.
?Oceans and Coasts: All U.S. marine waters are publicly owned and are home to 86 ocean bird species and 173 coastal species. At least 39% of U.S. bird species restricted to ocean habitats are declining and almost half are of conservation concern, indicating severe stress in these ecosystems.
?Forests: Public lands include some of the largest un-fragmented blocks of forest, which are crucial for the long-term health of many bird species, including the endangered Kirtland’s warbler, which has 97% of its U.S. distribution on public lands.
?Arctic and Alpine: Ninety percent of boreal forest, alpine, and arctic breeding bird species in Alaska rely on public lands for habitat, including 34 breeding shorebird species of high conservation concern. There are more public lands in Alaska than in the rest of the U.S. combined, offering huge potential to manage lands for conservation.
?Islands: More birds are in danger of extinction in Hawaii than anywhere else in the U.S. Public lands in Hawaii support 73% of the distribution of declining forest birds. Among declining Hawaiian forest birds on Kauai, about 78% rely on state land. Four endangered species in the North-west Hawaiian Islands are entirely dependent on federal lands.
?Wetlands: Wetlands protection has provided the ‘gold standard’ for bird conservation. On the whole, 39 species of hunted waterfowl have increased by more than 100 percent during the past 40 years as nearly 12 million hectares of wetlands have been acquired and management practices have restored bird populations.
?Grasslands: Grassland birds are among our nation’s fastest declining species, yet only a small amount – 13%– of grassland is publicly owned and managed primarily for conservation. Forty-eight per cent of grassland-breeding bird species are of conservation concern, including four with endangered populations.
The 2011 State of the Birds report is a collaborative effort as part of the U.S. North American Bird Conservation Initiative, involving federal and state wildlife agencies, and scientific and conservation organisations. These include the American Bird Conservancy, the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, the Bureau of Land Management, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the Department of Defense, the National Audubon Society, The Nature Conservancy, the National Park Service, the U.S.D.A. Forest Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the U.S. Geological Survey.

The full report is available at

Saving Asia’s Vultures from Extinction

Saving Asia’s Vultures from Extinction

Three species of south Asia’s vultures are threatened with extinction. The White-rumped Vulture was so abundant in India in the 1980s that it was probably the most common large bird of prey in the world. Only one in a thousand now survives, a 99.9% decline for this species.
All three species – White-rumped, Indian and the Slender-billed Vulture – have declined by more than 97% since the early 1990s.
This shocking decline is because of a veterinary drug, diclofenac, which is toxic to any vulture that feeds on the carcass of recently treated cattle.
Watch the new video to find out more about the project and to meet the people who are saving Asia’s vultures from extinction.

The Birder's Market | Resource | Bird news for Britain / Rest of the World | World Bird News | World Bird News 2011 |  World Bird News for April 2011

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