Friday, December 5, 2008

Honduran Emerald Rediscovered In Western Honduras

I just got this in my inbox.


December 2008


Last month a team of American and Honduran researchers and conservationists traveled to western Honduras to search for the Critically Endangered Honduran Emerald Hummingbird in the Department of Santa Barbara. The Honduran Emerald (Amazilia luciae) is a critically endangered bird species restricted solely to the country of Honduras. The principal cause of its decline is habitat destruction, with approximately 90% of its original habitat lost, and the remaining habitat occurring in isolated patches of arid thorn-forest and scrub of the interior valleys of northern Honduras. Based on specimen data, the species was originally known to occur in four Honduran departments, Cortés and Santa Barbara in western Honduras, and Yoro and Olancho in northeastern Honduras. Despite efforts to find the species in western Honduras, it has not been detected there since 1935 (Underwood). Because of its status as critically endangered and “Red Listed” by The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the fragmented nature of its habitat, finding any additional populations is of major conservation importance.

The team’s searches were directed by over-flights and brief visits of the same area in February of 2007 and a report from a contractor working on an environmental mitigation plan that an Emerald was seen. In November of 2008 the expedition team conducted searches in Santa Barbara and Cortés and were able to find six sites inhabited by the Emerald, all in the department of Santa Barbara. They found the Emerald in patches of forest measuring 5 to 60 hectares along a 33-km long transect. As in northeastern Honduras, its remaining habitat is highly fragmented. Finding the species in western Honduras gives hope for the conservation of the species, because the rediscovery increases both the known distributional range and population size of the species. However, due to the highly fragmented nature of its habitat, the species definitely warrants its status as critically endangered.

The team included ornithologist David L. Anderson of Louisiana State University, Honduran biologists Mario Espinal & Leonel Marineros, hummingbird specialist H. Ross Hawkins, Ph.D. and conservationists Deborah M. Atwood, Fito Steiner and Robert E. Hyman of The Explorers Club.

For more information please contact Robert E. Hyman (robertehyman AT gmail DOT com)

Image from Wikipedia
Read more about this species at BirdLife International



Adirondackcountrygal said...

Terrible what the greed of humans does to animals and the planet in general. What a beautiful bird.

slybird said...

Howell and Webb says it was rediscovered in 1988 in a Rio Aguan Valley where it is common. Of course maybe thats not in WESTERN honduras but in northeastern honduras.

slybird said...

Whoops, misread the post. They do acknowledge the other populations.

noflickster said...

Adirondackcountrygal - it is amazing that so many still haven't learned there are consequences to every action, and many of them are, shall we say, unfavorable. It seems enlightenment is slowly growing, hopefully in time to preserve the places species like the Honduran Emerald, among others.

slybird - ditto! I had to read the release twice to get the importance of their find.

explorer said...

Thanks to all of you and e bird for following our research. We continue to try and save the Honduran Emerald and it's habitat with many projects and continued field science. The Rio Aguan valley is still the best place to see the bird in its natural dry forest habitat. Fito Steiner runs the research center there and it is a great place to visit. I encourage you all to go there and see for yourselves! Robert Hyman Honduran Emerald Working Group (HEWG)

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