|Scientific Name:||Xenospiza baileyi|
|Species Authority:||Bangs, 1931|
|Red List Category & Criteria:||Endangered B1ab(i,ii,iii,iv,v)+2ab(i,ii,iii,iv,v) ver 3.1|
|Reviewer/s:||Butchart, S. & Symes, A.|
|Contributor/s:||Benitez, R., Berlanga, H., Cabrera, L., Cruz-Nieto, M., Escalante, P., Gómez de Silva, H., Grosselet, M., Lammertink, M., Oliveras de Ita, A., Rodríguez, V. & Sánchez-González, L.|
This species is classified as Endangered owing to its extremely small range, within which it occurs at just two locations and is subject to continuing declines in the size of its range, habitat quality and population size.
Xenospiza baileyi was known from disjunct areas in north Jalisco, south Durango, and around the Distrito Federal-Morelos border, Mexico, but is now confined to the latter two areas, over 800 km apart. In this very small area, it is most regularly recorded from around El Capulín-La Cima and Santa Ana Tlacotenco, but there are other recent records from north-east of Volcán Yecahuazac, east and north of Volcáns San Bartolito and Comalera, north of Volcán Tuxtepec, west of Volcán Tulmiac, north of Acopiaxco (Cabrera 1999, Cabrera and Escamilla 2000) and north-east of Coexapa (H. Gómez de Silva in litt. 1999, Oliveras de Ita et al. 2001, Oliveras de Ita and Gómez de Silva 2002). A record at Los Dinamos, Distrito Federal in 1993 (Wege and Long 1995) refers to a misidentified juvenile Song Sparrow Melospiza melodia (H. Gómez de Silva in litt. 1999). The species went unrecorded in Durango from 1951 until it was rediscovered there in 2004 (J. M. Lammertink in litt. 2009). A recent survey concluded that the species is now confined to just two locations: Ejido Ojo de Agua-El Cazador, southern Durango, where there are at least three breeding pairs concentrated in an area of 0.5 ha within an 80 ha marsh; and the fragmented grasslands of "sur del Valle de México" centered around La Cima and Milpa Alta, Distrito Federal, where there are perhaps 5, 5,380-6,150 adults equating to 2,300 breeding pairs (Oliveras de Ita and Gomez de Silva 2007, M. A. Cruz-Nieto in litt. 2008). The northern population was found to be restricted to a single locality having disappeared from three historical sites (Oliveras de Ita and Rojas-Soto 2006).
|Range Map:||Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.|
|Population:||The population is estimated to number 2,500-9,999 mature individuals, based on a 1997 estimate of 5,380-6,150 adults occupying the key site for this species. There were reportedly a small number of individuals at other locations. This estimate equates to 3,750-14,999 individuals in total, rounded here to 3,500-15,000 individuals. Densities of 2.9 territories/ha have been recorded at La Cima (Oliveras de Ita et al. 2001).|
|Habitat and Ecology:||It inhabits medium to tall bunch-grass meadows (zacatón) mostly at elevations of 2,800-3,050 m, but populations in Durango were as low as 2,285 m. Specifically, its preferred habitat is primary tall fodder grass areas dominated by Muhlenbergia macroura, M. affinis, Festuca amplissima and Stipa ichu which are subject to agriculture and cattle activities. It feeds in agricultural fields and birds have been seen singing from the tops of zacatón clumps in a heavily grazed and poorly drained field. It lays a brood of 2 to 4 eggs. Nesting success is c.36% at La Cima, with nests constructed low down in bunch-grass tussocks (Oliveras de Ita et al. 2001).|
|Major Threat(s):||There is widespread anthropogenic burning of habitat, mostly to promote new growth of grazing pasture for sheep and cattle (Oliveras de Ita et al. 2001). There is also conversion to agriculture (mainly oats), bunch-grass is sometimes cut for thatch and brushes and a degree of urban encroachment is occurring. Most remaining habitat is close to volcanic rock outcrops or on slopes where it is difficult to operate a tractor (Oliveras de Ita et al. 2001). However, rock extraction at La Cima suggests that many of these areas are likely to be converted to agriculture (Oliveras de Ita et al. 2001). La Cima has been planted with pines and, if these survive, the sparrow will be extirpated from this site (M. Grosselet in litt. 2011). Autopsies on two individuals showed that organ systems had collapsed as a result of mycotoxins from contaminated grain (Oliveras de Ita et al. 2001). There is a high level of nest failure owing to heavy predation which may be exacerbated by habitat fragmentation (P. Escalante in litt. 2006).|
Conservation Actions Underway
Surveys have found new localities, identified the important areas for protection, investigated the breeding ecology and censused the population at La Cima (Cabrera 1999, Cabrera and Escamilla 2000, Oliveras de Ita et al. 2001). CONABIO, UNAM and CORENA have been working on a community-based species conservation project since 2008 with the support of Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology. The project is focused on preserving and restoring habitat with the involvement of landowners and managers. In 2011 members of the community were trained for bird monitoring in order to participate in 2012 in an effort conducted by CONABIO to assess the current population status of the species (H. Berlanga et al. in litt. 2012).
Conservation Actions Proposed
Monitor remaining populations (L. Cabrera in litt. 2000). Survey suitable habitat in Durango. Integrate local people in developing appropriate grassland management strategies, including fire management (L. Cabrera in litt. 2000). Ensure that grain storage prevents potential infection by micotoxins (Oliveras de Ita et al. 2001). Protect remaining habitat fragments.
|Citation:||BirdLife International 2012. Xenospiza baileyi. In: IUCN 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 23 May 2013.|
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