Seven Imperiled Brazilian Bird Species Gain Endangered Status

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Justin Augustine, (415) 436-9682 x 302

Seven Imperiled Brazilian Bird Species Gain Endangered Status

SAN FRANCISCO - In response to decades-old listing petitions and a series of lawsuits by
the Center for Biological Diversity, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
today designated seven Brazilian bird species as endangered under the U.S.
Endangered Species Act: the black-hooded antwren, Brazilian merganser,
cherry-throated tanager, fringe-backed fire-eye, Kaempfer's
tody-tyrant, Margaretta's hermit and southeastern rufous-vented
ground-cuckoo.

A
campaign to protect scores of the world's most imperiled bird species
started in the 1980s, when concerned ornithologists began submitting
Endangered Species Act petitions to protect more than 70 international bird
species. Although the Fish and Wildlife Service had determined that most of
the species warranted listing by 1994, it illegally delayed responding to
the petitions. Center for Biological Diversity lawsuits in 2004 and 2006
jumpstarted the foreign-species listing program, and in 2008 the Service
published listing proposals for five birds and determined that 45 other
foreign bird species warranted listing. Following another Center lawsuit in
2009, the Service agreed to publish listing proposals for 25 of the 45
species, including the seven Brazilian birds that received final listing
rules today.

Listing
international species under the U.S. Endangered Species Act restricts
buying and selling of imperiled wildlife, increases conservation funding
and attention, and can add scrutiny to development projects proposed by U.S. government
and multilateral lending agencies such as the World Bank that would destroy
or alter their habitat.

"Protecting
these species under the Endangered Species Act will give them a better
chance of survival, and it will help attract worldwide attention to the
urgent plight of these animals," said Justin Augustine, staff
attorney at the Center. "We hope the Obama administration continues
to undo the significant backlog of foreign species that deserve protection
but have yet to receive it."

Background on the seven Brazilian birds
(See Endangered and Threatened Wildlife
and Plants; Listing Seven Brazilian Bird Species as Endangered Throughout
Their Range
, 75 Fed. Reg. 81794)

Black-hooded
antwren (Formicivora erythronotos)

The
black-hooded antwren is endemic to the Atlantic
Forest biome in the southeast
portion of the state of Rio de
Janeiro. Current population estimates for the
species put its numbers at only 1,000 to 2,500. The species is considered
to be declining rapidly due to continued loss of habitat.

Brazilian
merganser (Mergus octosetaceus)

The
Brazilian merganser has a distinctive green crest and is highly adapted to
mountainous, clear-water streams and rivers that are typically bordered by
evergreen forests. Currently the species is found in extremely low numbers,
with estimates ranging between 50 and 249 individuals. Historically, the
Brazilian merganser occurred in Argentina,
Brazil and Paraguay.

Cherry-throated tanager (Nemosia rourei)

The
cherry-throated tanager is endemic to the Atlantic
Forest in southeast Brazil, and
was presumed to be extinct until 1998. Current population estimates put the
species at between 50 and 250 individuals, and it is believed to be
declining. Cherry-throated tanagers inhabit the upper canopies of trees
within humid, montane primary forests at elevations between 2,800 and 4,100
feet.

Fringe-backed
fire-eye (Pyriglena atra)

The
fringe-backed fire-eye gets its name from its distinctive red eyes. It is
endemic to the Atlantic
Forest biome and
typically inhabits dense understory of lowland primary tropical forests.
The fringe-backed fire-eye's population is estimated to be between
1,000 and 2,500 individuals. Its numbers, as well as the extent and quality
of its habitat, continue to decline.

Kaempfer's
tody-tyrant (Hemitriccus kaempferi)

The
Kaempfer's tody-tyrant is a small olive-green bird and is a member of
the flycatcher family. It is endemic to the Atlantic Forest
biome and inhabits well-shaded edges of primary and secondary-growth
forests that are typically near rivers. Population estimates put the
species at between 9,000 and 18,500 individuals, and it is believed to be
declining.

Margaretta's
hermit (Phaethornis malaris margarettae)

The
Margaretta's hermit is a long-billed hummingbird. It is endemic to
the Atlantic Forest biome and is found in shrubby
understories of primary- and secondary-growth tropical lowland rainforest.
The current population of Margaretta's hermit is unknown, although it is
likely to be small in light of the very limited area the subspecies may
occupy.

Southeastern
rufous-vented ground cuckoo (Neomorphus
geoffroyi dulcis
)

The
southeastern rufous-vented ground cuckoo is an extremely shy,
ground-foraging bird that requires large blocks of mature, undisturbed,
tropical lowland forest within the Atlantic Forest
biome. This species is unable to sustain flight for long distances, and
researchers believe that major rivers and other extensive areas of
nonhabitat impede their movements. The last confirmed sighting of this
subspecies was in 1977, and the subspecies was then thought to be extinct.
However, a recent photographic record (circa 2004) indicates that the
subspecies may still occur at Doce
River State
Park.

Read
about the Center's International Birds Initiative.

###

At the Center for Biological Diversity, we believe that the welfare of human beings is deeply linked to nature - to the existence in our world of a vast diversity of wild animals and plants. Because diversity has intrinsic value, and because its loss impoverishes society, we work to secure a future for all species, great and small, hovering on the brink of extinction. We do so through science, law, and creative media, with a focus on protecting the lands, waters, and climate that species need to survive.

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