|Scientific Name:||Amandava formosa|
|Species Authority:||(Latham, 1790)|
|Red List Category & Criteria:||Vulnerable A2cd+3cd+4cd ver 3.1|
|Reviewer/s:||Butchart, S. & Symes, A.|
|Contributor/s:||Bhargava, R., Mehra, S. & Praveen, J.|
This colourful finch is listed as Vulnerable because it has a rapidly declining population, owing to widespread trapping for the cagebird trade, compounded by habitat loss and degradation through agricultural intensification.
Amandava formosa is endemic to central India, where it is known from southern Rajasthan, central Uttar Pradesh, southern Bihar and West Bengal (historically), south to southern Maharashtra and northern Andhra Pradesh (BirdLife International 2001). Records from Kerala, as well as isolated records from Delhi and Lahore, Pakistan, should be treated with caution, and may relate to escaped cage-birds (J. Praveen in litt. 2007). Formerly locally common, perhaps even abundant, its distribution has apparently always been patchy. However, it is now scarce, very local and erratic, although it remains common around Mt Abu, Rajastan (Mehra and Sharma 2004, Mehra et al. 2005, Tiwari and Tiwari 2005, Mehra 2011). Average counts at Mt Abu are 620 individuals in 2006, 682 individuals in 2007, 757 individuals in 2008, 820 individuals in 2009 and 832 individuals in 2010 (Mehra 2011). The recent occurrence of up to 2,000 birds in markets indicates that sizeable populations still occur locally in other areas, but are presumably rapidly declining, especially as trappers report that it is steadily becoming more difficult to find.
|Range Map:||Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.|
|Population:||The population size is preliminarily estimated to fall into the band 10,000-19,999 individuals. This equates to 6,667-13,333 mature individuals, rounded here to 6,000-15,000 mature individuals.|
|Habitat and Ecology:||It inhabits grass and low bushes, sugarcane fields, open, shrubby forest and boulder-strewn scrub jungle, often near water, generally in lowlands and foothills. It has also been seen in sparsely vegetated, stony, arid wasteland and a mango orchard. It nests in small colonies between May and January.|
It has been traded since the late 19th century, and was recently found to be one of the most popular cage-birds in domestic markets. An annual minimum of 2,000-3,000 birds are smuggled out of India to Europe and America. It is susceptible to stress, and a high mortality has been noted in trapped birds. Trapping for trade has extirpated several populations and is almost certainly the greatest threat to the species. The species is still regularly traded in the months of June and July. According to field surveys by TRAFFIC India in 2011 more than 500 birds were recorded in Kolkata in West Bengal and Patna in Bihar, all thought to be coming from Orissa-Madhya Pradesh border. Similarly, in the year 2010 and 2009 a total of about 600 and 800 Green Avadavat were recorded at these markets. Unfortunately, most of the wild caught birds are smuggled out of India to the Middle East either via Bangladesh or Nepal and finally through Pakistan. On Mt Abu, Rajastan, individuals may also be trapped by local tribal communities for medicinal use (Mehra et al. 2005, Tiwari and Tiwari 2005), however, this is not confirmed. Widespread destruction and alteration of natural scrub and grassland habitats, through conversion for agriculture, is also likely to contribute to declines. Increased application of pesticides and insecticides is a potential threat, whilst increases in fire frequency may affect some populations (Tiwari and Tiwari 2005).
Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix II. It is legally protected in India, and trapping and trade have been banned since 1981. The impact of trade was assessed between 1992 and 1994. There are recent records from four protected areas, the Desert National Park, Taal Chappar Wildlife Sanctuary, Mt Abu Wildlife Sanctuary, Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary and Sajjangarh Wildlife Sanctuary in Rajasthan, Kahna National Park in Madhya Pradesh and Melghat Sanctuary in Maharashtra. TRAFFIC India has worked extensively on bird trade in India, including Green Avadavat, and a trade report is in preparation.
Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct widespread interviews with bird-trappers to identify locations of remaining populations, followed by extensive field surveys in suitable habitat to establish more clearly its current distribution and population status. Investigate its ecological requirements and tolerance of habitat degradation. Monitor trade and develop more effective measures to combat it. Develop a community-based conservation and development project to promote sustainable livelihood options. Upgrade the species's legal protective status to Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act (1972) and CITES Appendix I.
|Citation:||BirdLife International 2012. Amandava formosa. In: IUCN 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 19 May 2013.|
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