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Rhynchopsitta terrisi

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA AVES PSITTACIFORMES PSITTACIDAE

Scientific Name: Rhynchopsitta terrisi
Species Authority: Moore, 1947
Common Name(s):
English Maroon-fronted Parrot
Spanish Cotorra-serrana Oriental

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered C2a(ii) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2013
Date Assessed: 2013-11-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S.
Contributor(s): Enkerlin-Hoeflich, E., Macias-Caballero, C., Ortiz-Maciel, S., Pedraza, R., Valdés-Peña, R. & Gilardi, J.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Benstead, P., Capper, D., Mazar Barnett, J., Pilgrim, J., Sharpe, C J, Taylor, J.
Justification:
This species is considered Endangered because its very small population represents a single sub-population and is suspected to be in decline owing primarily to habitat loss and degradation within its very small and declining range.

History:
2012 Endangered

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Rhynchopsitta terrisi is restricted to the Sierra Madre Oriental in Nuevo León, Coahuila and Tamaulipas, Mexico, where there is presently no more than 5,000 km2 of suitable habitat (R. Valdés-Peña et al. in litt. 2007, 2010). During winter 1998, some birds were recorded in the Sierra Gorda, Querétaro (R. Pedraza in litt. 1998), suggesting wanderers reach the south of the Sierra Madre Oriental. By 1998, 21 colonies had been identified (Snyder and Enkerlin 1996, Macias Caballero 1998), with 23 known by 2006 (Ortiz-Maciel et al. 2006), but it is still unclear whether it breeds c.25 km south of that range at Cerro Potosí. Counts of large wintering aggregations and productivity data from 1996 to 2007 suggest that the known colonies could account for almost the entire breeding population (R. Valdés-Peña et al. in litt. 2007, 2010). There are four main colonies (El Taray, El Condominio, San Antonio de la Osamenta and Santa Cruz [Macias Caballero 1998], with El Taray the most important [Valdés-Peña and Ortiz Maciel 2007]). Population estimates are hampered by its seasonal movements, but numbers were put at 2,500-3,000 individuals in 1996 (Macias Caballero 1998), and c.2,500 individuals following surveys in 2006-2007 (R. Valdés-Peña et al. in litt. 2007, 2010). An estimate of c.3,500 individuals was put forward in 2008 (Valdés-Peña et al. 2008); however, given that the species is thought to reach reproductive maturity at around four years, there are probably fewer than 2,500 mature individuals (R. Valdés-Peña et al. in litt. 2007, 2010). Comparisons with the 1,400 and 1,600 birds estimated in the 1970s indicate that population levels were relatively stable up until the mid-1990s (Snyder and Enkerlin 1996, Macias Caballero 1998). However, numbers of breeding pairs at known colonies have been declining, there is poor breeding success and the species's habitat is being destroyed (R. Valdés-Peña et al. in litt. 2007, 2010). It appears that less than 10% of the population is breeding successfully each year (R. Valdés-Peña et al. in litt. 2007, 2010).

Countries:
Native:
Mexico
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: The population was recently estimated at c.3,500 individuals; however, the species is thought to reach reproductive maturity at about four years of age (R. Valdés-Peña in litt. 2010), thus the number of mature individuals is conservatively estimated at fewer than 2,500 and placed in the band 1,000-2,499 mature individuals.
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: It inhabits mature pine, pine-oak and mixed conifer forest at 2,000-3,500 m, and exceptionally 1,300-3,700 m. Habitat preferences during the breeding season vary between years (Ortiz-Maciel et al. 2010). It nests colonially in solution holes in limestone cliffs. Breeding follows the fruiting pattern of pines, with pairs arriving between April and May, laying in early July, and fledging in October-November (Macias Caballero 1998, Valdés-Peña and Ortiz Maciel 2007). Pairs produce an average of two chicks (range 1-4), and the whole population produces up to 150 young per year (Macias Caballero 1998, R. Valdés-Peña et al. in litt. 2007, 2010). It feeds almost exclusively on pinions, depends on daily access to free-flowing water and groups congregate at clay licks to eat earth (Snyder and Enkerlin 1996, Snyder et al. 2000). In addition to pinions, it also eats agave flowers, fruits and acorns (Valdés-Peña and Ortiz Maciel 2007, R. Valdés-Peña et al. in litt. 2007, 2010). Seasonal migrations or relatively predictable nomadic movements occur between the northern and southern range limits. Following the post-breeding migration to the southern part of its range, it forms large aggregations (Ortiz-Maciel et al. 2006).

Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Intensive grazing and agricultural conversion have destroyed and degraded forest (Snyder et al. 1996, Macias Caballero 1998). Annual fires burn large areas (in 1998, 20 km2 of foraging habitat were lost [Gómez-Garza and Garza-Tobón 1998], and 20 km2 of pine forest, including 90% of El Taray Sanctuary, were lost to two wildfires in 2005-2006 [Valdés-Peña and Ortiz Maciel 2007, R. Valdés-Peña et al. in litt. 2007, 2010]), which regenerate as dense (and unsuitable) chaparral vegetation (Snyder et al. 1996, Macias Caballero 1998). Data suggest that between 1999 and 2008 more than 15,400 ha of pine forest in the species's breeding range were destroyed by wildfires (S. G. Ortiz-Maciel et al. in litt. 2010). Droughts fuel fires and dry up natural water sources (in 1994, at least 50 birds drowned whilst attempting to drink from a cement-walled water tank [Snyder et al. 2000]). Additionally, the species is affected by low pinion production, and pressure from local people who collect pinions as an alternative income source (R. Valdés-Peña et al. in litt. 2007, 2010). Forest is also cleared for timber extraction (Valdés-Peña and Ortiz Maciel 2007). The species is affected by some trapping and shooting (Ortiz-Maciel et al. 2006, Valdés-Peña and Ortiz Maciel 2007) and may experience years of low breeding success (Ortiz-Maciel et al. 2006) or even zero recruitment (R. Valdés-Peña et al. in litt. 2007, 2010).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix I and II. The species is protected by Mexican law; formerly considered 'threatened' in Mexico, its status was recently revised to Endangered (SEMARNAT 2010). In October 2008, a bill was signed into law banning the capture and export of Mexican wild parrots (Pham 2008). The El Taray Sanctuary encompasses 3.5 km2 of habitat (Macias Caballero 1998), but this is not effectively protected (R. Valdés-Peña et al. in litt. 2007, 2010). A conservation plan has been put in effect, focusing on the main colony of El Condominio, including effective protection of 15 km2 through contracts with individual land-owners and owners of ejidos (communally owned land) (R. Valdés-Peña et al. in litt. 2007, 2010). Significant numbers breed in Cumbres de Monterrey National Park, but this is not effectively protected (Macias Caballero 1998, C. Macias Caballero and E. C. Enkerlin-Hoeflich in litt. 1999). Since 1995, nesting has been monitored at the 23 known breeding colonies (Ortiz-Maciel et al. 2006, R. Valdés-Peña et al. in litt. 2007, 2010). Plans had been made in 2006 to involve local people in the restoration of areas affected by fires, wildlife monitoring and the prevention of soil erosion (Valdés-Peña and Ortiz Maciel 2007). There are no protected sites in the species's wintering areas (Ortiz-Maciel et al. 2006), but conservation efforts include future projects for the protection of 80 km2 of forest (R. Valdés-Peña et al. in litt. 2007, 2010).  Captive breeding populations exist although no breeding success has yet been acheived (Reinschmidt 2013).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Protect all nesting colonies and wintering areas (R. Valdés-Peña et al. in litt. 2007, 2010). Conduct surveys to search for undiscovered colonies and extend captive breeding efforts. Monitor rates of habitat loss and degradation throughout its range. Actively control fires. Restore habitat affected by fires (Valdés-Peña and Ortiz Maciel 2007). Determine precise habitat usage (Macias Caballero 1998). Implement a permanent environmental education programme for local communities (R. Valdés-Peña et al. in litt. 2007, 2010). Develop alternative sustainable activities for local people in order to decrease pressure on habitat (R. Valdés-Peña et al. in litt. 2007, 2010, Ortiz-Maciel et al. 2010).


Citation: BirdLife International 2013. Rhynchopsitta terrisi. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 02 October 2014.
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