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New guide to areas in need of conservation, photogreaphs of new bird etc…

New guide to most important wildlife sites – and first finch sighting for 66 years – offers hope for Brazil's threatened birds

Curitiba, Brazil – A groundbreaking book from BirdLife International reveals that more than a quarter of Brazil’s most important places for birds and biodiversity are not officially protected by law. Áreas Importantes para a Conservação das Aves no Brasil (Important Bird Areas in Brazil) is published on 22 March 2006 by SAVE Brasil (BirdLife International in Brazil). The study took five years of hard work by more than 30 biologists and ornithologists. Among the criteria to identify an IBA are: the occurrence of threatened birds, restricted-range species, and large concentrations of birds. The book is being launched during the Conference of the Parties for the Convention on Biological Diversity at the Centro de Convenções Expotrade in Curitiba, Paraná, Brazil. The book is written by Glayson A. Bencke, Giovanni N. Mauricio, Pedro F. Develey and Jaqueline M. Goerck. Áreas Importantes para a Conservação das Aves no Brasil describes the 163 most important sites for birds in the 15 Brazilian states that contain Atlantic forest. The book, with text in Portuguese and English, is the first in a series which will ultimately describe all the Important Bird Areas of Brazil.The new book coincides with the publication in BirdLife’s World Birdwatch magazine of details of the rediscovery of the Cone-billed Tanager, a small grey finch known only from the type-specimen collected in 1938, in dry forest habitat at Juruena, Central Brazil. [On 25 August 1938, Dr A Vellard collected a new species of passerine in dry forest habitat at Juruena, Central Brazil. In appearance, the new species was mostly black except for a small concealed white throat patch and white belly. The “stout and conical” bill led to its English name of Cone-billed Tanager, but remarkably it was another 66 years before the species was seen anywhere again.]In October 2004, Brazilian ornithologist Dante Buzzetti was visiting Emas National Park to follow up a possible sighting of the species in 2003 by bird guide Bráulio A Carlos. Buzzetti heard a call at dawn he did not recognize. Playing back the calls attracted a medium brown bird he was unable to identify. A few days later, he heard a melodious song, and again using playback, brought in a male Cone-billed Tanager.

Later that day, Buzzetti confirmed the brown bird he had earlier seen was a female Cone-billed Tanager; the first ever to be recorded. The following month, Buzzetti and Carlos filmed presumably the same pair of birds. Unlike published illustrations (all based on the single museum specimen), in life the bill of Cone-billed Tanager was strikingly pale, rather than black.

Since 2004, Cone-billed Tanagers have been found again at Emas National Park. In late 2005, Andre De Luca, a volunteer ornithologist for SAVE Brasil (BirdLife in Brazil), visited the park and found at least three birds in gallery forest. He commented, “To get photos of the tanager was fantastic because it’s still hard for me to believe that I’ve actually seen this enigmatic species!”

A photo of a male Cone-billed Tanager is featured on the front cover of the new March 2006 issue of BirdLife International’s quarterly magazine World Birdwatch. Details of the species’ rediscovery can be found on p. 2 of the magazine.Although the rediscovery of the Cone-billed Tanager is great news for Brazil’s birds, the publication of Important Bird Areas in Brazil by SAVE Brasil highlights the problems faced by one of the most bird-rich countries in the world – particularly in its threatened Atlantic Forest habitat.

Brazil has more globally threatened birds than any other country on earth. Of the 111 species at risk of extinction, 98 live in Brazil’s Atlantic forest, already the country’s most seriously reduced habitat.

While 73% of vital sites identified in the book are in protected areas or private reserves, the remaining 27% have no official protection. Jaqueline Goerck, SAVE Brasil’s Director says that many officially protected areas of Atlantic forest suffer severe habitat degradation and hunting, and have lost bird species in recent years. “The solution is not just to create new protected areas, but to manage existing ones more effectively,” she says.

With this in mind, BirdLife International and SAVE Brasil were determined that this book should not be just another exercise in identifying priority areas for conservation, but should a pragmatic guide for action.

“Some areas are considered irreplaceable, since they contain the largest proportion of one or more species whose extinction is imminent,” said Jaqueline Goerck. Ten per cent (16) sites have been chosen as priority areas for action. SAVE Brasil is already working at seven of these, projects are at initial stages in another three, and two more are scheduled for 2006.Enigmatic tanager rediscovered in Brazil

The March 2006 issue of BirdLife’s World Birdwatch magazine features a small grey and white finch-like bird with a striking pale bill, on its cover.

On 25 August 1938, Dr A Vellard collected a new species of passerine in dry forest habitat at Juruena, Central Brazil. In appearance, the new species was mostly black except for a small concealed white throat patch and white belly. The "stout and conical" bill led to its English name of Cone-billed Tanager, but remarkably it was another 66 years before the species was seen anywhere again.

In October 2004, Brazilian ornithologist Dante Buzzetti was visiting Emas National Park to follow up a possible sighting of the species in 2003 by bird guide Bráulio A Carlos. Buzzetti heard a call at dawn he did not recognize. Playing back the calls attracted a medium brown bird he was unable to identify. A few days later, he heard a melodious song, and again using playback, brought in a male Cone-billed Tanager Conothraupis mesoleuca.

Later that day, Buzzetti confirmed the brown bird he had earlier seen was a female Cone-billed Tanager; the first ever to be recorded. The following month, Buzzetti and Carlos filmed presumably the same pair of birds. Unlike published illustrations (all based on the single museum specimen), in life the bill of Cone-billed Tanager was strikingly pale, rather than black.

"To get photos of the tanager was fantastic because it’s still hard for me to believe that I’ve actually seen this enigmatic species!" said Andre De Luca, SAVE Brasil Since 2004, Cone-billed Tanagers have been found again at Emas National Park. In late 2005, Andre De Luca, a volunteer ornithologist for SAVE Brasil (BirdLife in Brazil), visited the park and found at least three birds in gallery forest.

Although the rediscovery of the Cone-billed Tanager is great news for Brazil’s birds, the publication today of Important Bird Areas in Brazil by SAVE Brasil highlights the problems faced by one of the most bird-rich countries in the world – particularly in its threatened Atlantic Forest habitat.

Brazil has more globally threatened birds than any other country on earth. Of the 111 species at risk of extinction, 98 live in Brazil’s Atlantic forest, already the country’s most seriously reduced habitat.

This story appears in the March 2006 issue of BirdLife's World Birdwatch magazine.A pragmatic guide for action to save Brazil's Atlantic forests

Brazil has more globally threatened birds than any other country on Earth. Of the 111 species at risk of extinction, 98 live in Brazil’s Atlantic forest. But the Atlantic forest is already the most seriously reduced habitat in Brazil, and the last remnants are vanishing fast.

Now a groundbreaking book from BirdLife International describes the 163 most important sites for birds in the 15 Brazilian states that contain Atlantic forest. The book Áreas Importantes para a Conservação das Aves no Brasil (Important Bird Areas in Brazil)th text in Portuguese and English, is the first in a series which will ultimately describe all the Important Bird Areas (IBAs) of Brazil. Published on 22 March 2006 by SAVE Brasil (BirdLife in Brazil), the book will be launched during the Conference of the Parties for the Convention on Biological Diversity at the Centro de Convenções Expotrade in Curitiba, Paraná, Brazil.

also covers three other habitats found in the 15 states: cerrado, caatinga and pampas. razil’s Atlantic forest includes nine Endemic Bird Areas, home to species found nowhere else. In one state alone, Bahia, 33 restricted-range species are found in the Atlantic forest. Since 1994, 15 previously unknown endemic species have been discovered, hinting at the still unexplored riches of this fast-vanishing habitat.

vary in size from around 600 hectares to more than half-a-million hectares. In total, they cover three per cent of the land area of the 15 states.

While 73% are in protected areas or private reserves, the remaining 27% have no official protection. But Jaqueline Goerck, SAVE Brasil’s Director says that many officially protected areas of Atlantic forest suffer severe habitat degredation and hunting, and have lost bird species in recent years. "The solution is not just to create new protected areas, but to manage existing ones more effectively," she says.With this in mind, BirdLife International and SAVE Brasil were determined that this book should not be just another exercise in identifying priority areas for conservation, but should a pragmatic guide for action.

"Some areas are considered irreplaceable, since they contain the largest proportion of one or more species whose extinction is imminent," said Jaqueline Goerck. Ten per cent (16) sites have been chosen as priority areas for action. SAVE Brasil is already working at seven of these, projects are at initial stages in another three, and two more are scheduled for 2006.

4th July 2014