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BirdLife News-Bytes

Round-up of April's Stories…

Pacific IBAdventures

IBA conservation in the Pacific is not without risks… Only days after the BirdLife Fiji seabirds survey team was rescued from on uninhabited remote atoll after their boat had crashed into a reef, an IBA in Tonga exploded and left nothing behind but ‘a wasteland of black ash and tree stumps’. The BirdLife seabird survey team was assessing the remote island of Vatu Vara in the Northern Lau group in Fiji to see whether it qualified for IBA status, when their ship sunk. They were stranded on the island for two days until they could be picked up by another boat that was chartered by the BirdLife office in Suva. Only two days later, an underwater volcanic eruption destroyed the island of Hunga Ha'apai in Tonga, an island recently identified as an IBA because it hosts some of Tonga’s most important seabird breeding colonies. Again, fortunately no people were harmed, though the impact on birds and other wildlife on the Hunga IBA will need to be assessed.

South American Grasslands Bulletin 9‏

the latest bulletin from the Alliance from the Grasslands, the Initiative for the conservation of the South American cone grasslands is now available. This initiative uses the Important Bird Area (IBA) approach to identify the most outstanding sites in the pampas regions of the Southern Cone. Plan of action for Cobb's Wren

Falklands Conservation (BirdLife in the Falklands) and the Falkland Islands Government have produced a Species Action Plan to protect Cobb’s Wren Troglodytes cobbi, endemic to the Falkland Islands (Malvinas). Cobb’s Wren (Vulnerable) is found only on offshore islands that are free of introduced rodents, cats and foxes. Two major threats influence its ability to survive long-term – further introductions of invasive species, and a shortage of detailed information about its biology and habitat requirements to guide appropriate management. The plan sets out focused and prioritised actions to ensure that the current island populations have a maximum chance of survival, of increasing their existing range and reducing their vulnerability.

2009 Waterbird Census in Zambia

The Zambia Ornithological Society (ZOS, BirdLife in Zambia) have completed their Africa Waterfowl Census activities across the country. This year proved to be particularly difficult with the heavy rains making many sites impossible to visit. Nearly 3,000 records were collected – including sightings of White-backed Duck Thalassornis leuconotus, Blacksmith Lapwing Vanellus armatus and Ruff Philomachus pugnax.

Culture and Caribbean birds

The Society for the Conservation and Study of Caribbean Birds, the largest organisation devoted to wildlife conservation within the Caribbean, has launched month-long activities celebrating the diverse Caribbean culture as it relates to wild birds. These festivities, under the theme Celebrating Birds in Culture, will form the 8th annual Caribbean Endemic Bird Festival, which commenced on Earth Day 22 April and finishes on International Biodiversity Day on 22 May. This year's festival will go to the heart of Caribbean cultural heritage by providing numerous opportunities to focus on both popular culture that has been inspired by birds, such as the music of the legendary Reggae artist Robert Nesta (Bob) Marley with his song Three Little Birds to more historical perspectives on the value of birds.

4th July 2014