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Patterns and Causes of Endangerment in the New World Avifauna

Nigel J. Collar, David C. Wege and Adrian J. Long
Ornithological Monographs
No. 48, Studies in Neotropical Ornithology Honoring Ted Parker (1997), pp. 237-260
DOI: 10.2307/40157536
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40157536
Page Count: 24
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Patterns and Causes of Endangerment in the New World Avifauna
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Abstract

Threatened birds of the Americas (1992) detailed 327 species, of which only four had ranges entirely outside the Neotropics, showing how important this latter region is for global bird conservation, contributing 30% of all threatened birds on earth. Brazil had 97 threatened species, Peru 64, and Colombia 56. These countries, plus Mexico, held three-quarters of all threatened birds in the Americas. Over 78% (256) of all threatened bird species possessed ranges of less than 50,000 km². Some 57% of all threatened birds were confined to wet forest, 17% to dry forest, and 10% to grasslands, a rapidly disappearing habitat type. Over 76% suffered from loss of habitat (for 49% this is the only threat); 16% and 11% suffered significantly from hunting and trade respectively, and 8% were threatened as a function of their restricted ranges. Roughly 30% (twice as many as in Africa) were Endangered (highest category), another 30% divided equally between Indeterminate and Vulnerable, 30% were Rare, and 10% were Insufficiently Known (lowest). Of 146 species in the two highest categories, only nine were under sufficient management regimes, 23 might already have become extinct, 16 needed immediate intervention, and 42 needed very urgent attention. Parrots (28% of New World species threatened) and cracids (26%) suffered disproportionately through the combination of habitat loss and intensive human exploitation (trade and hunting respectively). A key means of saving threatened species lies in the identification and protection of areas in which they are sympatric.

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