|Scientific Name:||Collocalia elaphra|
|Species Authority:||Oberholser, 1906|
|Red List Category & Criteria:||Vulnerable D2 ver 3.1|
|Reviewer/s:||Butchart, S. & Taylor, J.|
|Contributor/s:||Lucking, R., Parr, S., Rocamora, G. & Skerrett, A.|
The species is classified as Vulnerable because it has a very small range: it nests at just three known sites, with possibly over 95% of all known breeding birds concentrated at one cave. Overall population trends are unclear. If contraction of its breeding range continues, or populations are shown to be undergoing a continuous decline owing to a decrease in the number of nest-caves, perhaps compounded by the continuing decline in quality of marshy feeding areas, it should be uplisted to Endangered.
|Range Description:||Collocalia elaphra is endemic to the Seychelles and ranges over the islands of Mahé, Praslin and La Digue, with one known breeding site on each island. A colony on Félicité has disappeared, as has one on Mahé (; Watson 1984). The La Digue cave held 35-45 nests in 1996-1997 (Rocamora 1997a), but as numbers have fluctuated in the past (MacDonald 1978; Watson 1984) it is unclear whether there is a continuing decline at this site. In the Praslin colony, 56 nests and 152 birds were estimated in 1977 (MacDonald 1978), with 60-80 nests from 1980 onwards (Rocamora 1997a; Watson 1984). Studies in 1996-1997 estimated the total population at 2,500-3,000 individuals (Rocamora 1997a).|
|Range Map:||Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.|
|Population:||Studies in 1996-1997 estimated the total population at 2,500-3,000 individuals, roughly equivalent to 1,700-2,000 mature individuals.|
|Habitat and Ecology:||It is an aerial, insectivorous species, and feeds over a variety of habitats including forest and wetlands. Flying ants form the majority of prey caught (MacDonald 1978). On Praslin and Mahé, it is most commonly seen flying over boulder-filled valleys or rocky slopes in the hills, usually in small flocks (MacDonald 1978). It nests colonially on the roofs of deep caves, laying a single egg (MacDonald 1978). There is increasing evidence that it breeds year-round (G. Rocamora in litt. 1999).|
|Major Threat(s):||The past decline of this species may have been due to the widespread use of insecticides such as DDT, perhaps the collection of nests for bird-nest soup, and the ongoing drainage of wetlands (Shah 1997) for housing and tourist developments in coastal areas, although this may not have a direct effect as the species feeds mainly elsewhere (G. Rocamora in litt. 2007). In the future, development encroachment could impact upon nest-caves and buffer areas (S. Parr in litt. 1999). Quarrying may be a threat, and led to the destruction of a Praslin nest-cave in the 1970s (G. Rocamora in litt. 1999; A. Skerrett in litt. 1999). Barn Owls Tyto alba are likely predators of this species (Rocamora 1997a), and can limit the number of potential nest-sites by direct disturbance or occupation (A. Skerrett in litt. 1999). Cats may be a threat where nests are accessible to them (Rocamora 1997a; A. Skerrett in litt. 1999). Marshes on La Digue have been invaded by introduced plant species and it has been suggested that this has affected invertebrates dependent on the marsh ecosystem (Rocamora 1997a), reducing the food supply for the species (Gerlach 1996), although this is unproven.|
Conservation Actions Underway
Cave sites on Praslin and La Digue are monitored by Ministry of Environment rangers (S. Parr in litt. 1999; G. Rocamora in litt. 2007). Programmes for the control of invasive wetland plants are ongoing (G. Rocamora in litt. 2007). Conservation Actions Proposed
Continue regular monitoring of cave sites (R. Lucking in litt. 1999; Rocamora 1997a). Create protected areas to encompass all known nest-caves and buffer areas and assign legal protection status (Rocamora 1997a). Control cats and Barn Owls in the vicinity of colonies (Rocamora 1997a). Conserve rich feeding grounds, such as marshes, by eradication of invasive, introduced aquatic plants (Rocamora 1997a; G. Rocamora in litt. 1999).
|Citation:||BirdLife International 2012. Collocalia elaphra. In: IUCN 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 25 May 2013.|
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