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Eulidia yarrellii

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA AVES CAPRIMULGIFORMES TROCHILIDAE

Scientific Name: Eulidia yarrellii
Species Authority: (Bourcier, 1847)
Common Name(s):
English Chilean Woodstar
Spanish Colibrí de Arica

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Critically Endangered A2ace+3ce+4ace ver 3.1
Year Published: 2014
Date Assessed: 2014-07-24
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S.
Contributor(s): Estades, C., Fjeldså, J., Gonzalez-Gomez, P. L., Howell, S., Jaramillo, A. & Lebbin, D.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Benstead, P., Capper, D., Sharpe, C J, Symes, A. & Taylor, J.
Justification:
This species has been uplisted to Critically Endangered based on evidence that it is undergoing an extremely rapid population decline. Urgent research and targeted conservation actions are now required to understand, halt and reverse this decline.

History:
2012 Endangered

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Eulidia yarrellii is only known to breed regularly in the Azapa, Chaca (Vitor) and Camarones valleys, Arica department, extreme northern Chile (Estades 2007, A. Jaramillo in litt. 2014). Stragglers have been found north to Tacna and possibly Moquegua departments, southern Peru, and there is a historical record as far south as northern Antofagasta province, but there are no recent records for Peru (Estades 2007). It was described as very common in the first half of the 20th century, with over 100 seen feeding together. In the late 1980s, the species was noted as common in gardens in Arica and regular in the Lluta Valley; however, it has since disappeared from these areas, and it is now rare in the Azapa Valley, where it was once regular and common (Estades 2007, A. Jaramillo in litt. 2014). In 2003, the Azapa valley held around 75% of the total population, which was estimated at around 1,500 individuals (Estades 2007), while in 2007 the total population was estimated at around 1,200 individuals (55% in Azapa and 45% in Chaca) (C. Estades in litt. 2007). Recent information, however, suggests that the population of this species has since declined to around 500 individuals (D. Lebbin in litt. 2012). Population estimates have shown that the Azapa and Chaca populations have reduced by 15.6% annually (81.6%) in 10 years (C. F. Estades in litt. 2013). Monthly searches for the species in all Tacna valleys (southern Peru) during 2008-2009 did not yield any records of this species (N. Hidalgo in litt. 2013). It has been speculated that the species could be lost from the Azapa Valley within a decade, and that the species could face extinction within two decades (A. Jaramillo in litt. 2014).

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

Population [top]

Population: Estades (in litt. 2007) estimated the population to number 650 individuals in Azapa, and 550 in Chaca. This totals 1,200 individuals, roughly equivalent to 800 mature individuals. Previously, Estades et al. (2007) had calculated a Chilean population of 1,539 individuals in September 2003. Recent information, however, suggests that the population of this species has since declined to around 500 individuals (D. Lebbin in litt. 2012). This estimate is assumed to equate to a population of c.335 mature individuals, rounded here to c.350 mature individuals.
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: It inhabits small remnant patches of native scrub in desert river valleys up to 750 m, but birds are occasionally reported above 2,000 m and once as high as 3,000 m (J. Fjeldså in litt. 1999, Estades 2007). It is postulated that it migrates altitudinally, and may require fairly continuous vegetation along rivers to undertake such movements (Howell and Webb 1995). Estades et al. (2007) observed woodstars feeding on the flowers of native trees like the "chañar" (Geoffroea decorticans) and "pimiento" (Schinus molle), as well as ornamentals like Lantana camara, Pelargonium spp. and Bougainvillea sp., and crop plants such as alfalfa (Medicago sativa), garlic, onion (Allium spp.), and tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum). They noted that the favoured species have entomophyllous flowers rather than typical ornithophyllous flowers (Estades et al. 2007). It has often been reported feeding in gardens, particularly on Lantana and Hibiscus flowers (Fjeldså and Krabbe 1990), but it is comparatively rare in such habitats (Howell and Webb 1995). It uses fruit groves for feeding (Citrus spp) and nesting (olive trees) (C. Estades in litt. 2007). Despite the large numbers formerly seen feeding in flowering trees, it is usually a solitary feeder. Active nests have been found in April, May, late August and September and there appear to be two annual peaks in breeding activity (Estades 2007, Estades et al. 2007).

Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Remaining native habitat in the narrow and heavily cultivated valleys inhabited by the species is confined to small patches, and the indigenous plants favoured by the species may be severely threatened. Although it has adapted to use introduced plants the presence of certain native species may still be a limiting factor (Estades 2007). The 'chañar' tree Geoffroea decorticans may be an important food resource but is often destroyed by farmers who consider it invasive and believe it attracts mice (Estades 2007). Pesticides began to be heavily used in the Azapa valley in the 1960s in order to control the Mediterranean Fruit fly and other crop pests, but the Peruvian Sheartail Thaumastura cora has not suffered similar declines, suggesting that this may not be the primary cause of its decline (Estades 2007). Competition with Peruvian Sheartail has been suggested as a potential threat, although this has not been proven (Estades et al. 2007, C. Estades in litt. 2007, S. N. G. Howell in litt. 2007). The various threats of habitat destruction, pesticide use and competition with other hummingbirds are likely to be synergistic in their impacts on the species (P. L. Gonzalez-Gomez in litt. 2014).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix II. All exports of hummingbirds from Peru and Chile are controlled. A ten-year species recovery plan was approved in 2004 and included plans for a public awareness campaign, a study of competition between the woodstar and Peruvian Sheartail, a permanent population monitoring programme, restoration of natural vegetation in the Azupa and Lluta valleys, incorporation of its conservation into the agenda of the local Good Agricultural Practices committee, and a study of the feasibility of an ex-situ conservation project and reintroduction into suitable areas within the historical range (Estades 2007, Estades et al. 2007). Attempts have been made to provide artificial feeders for the species; however, it proved reluctant to use them and other hummingbird species displaced E. yarrellii through their monopolisation of the new resource (P. L. Gonzalez-Gomez in litt. 2014).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Research genetic structure of populations. Begin a habitat restoration program in the Lluta, Chaca and Azapa valleys, ensuring that species whose flowers are visited regularly by E. yarrellii are planted (P. L. Gonzalez-Gomez in litt. 2014). Conduct an education campaign to emphasize the importance of native plants, and encourage the planting of appropriate trees and bushes. Continue population monitoring, as detailed in species recovery plan. Limit the amount of pesticides used in Azapa and Chaca valleys. As the vast majority of the species's range is now privately owned, it has been recommended that some of this land be purchased to create pesticide-free, native plant reserves, with perhaps one in each valley inhabited by the species (A. Jaramillo in litt. 2014).


Citation: BirdLife International 2014. Eulidia yarrellii. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 16 September 2014.
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