Eulidia yarrellii


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

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: Endangered B1ab(i,ii,iii,v) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2012
Date Assessed: 2012-05-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S. & Symes, A.
Contributor(s): Estades, C., Fjeldså, J. & Howell, S.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Benstead, P., Capper, D., Sharpe, C J, Symes, A.
This species is classified as Endangered because it has a very small range, with all viable populations apparently confined to remnant habitat patches in two desert river valleys (Collar et al. 1992). These valleys are heavily cultivated, and the extent, area and quality of suitable habitat (and therefore the population) are likely to be declining.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Eulidia yarrellii is only known to breed regularly in the Azapa and Vitor valleys, Arica department, extreme north Chile (Estades 2007). Surveys since 2003 have failed to find it in the Lluta valley where it had previously been recorded in small numbers (Estades 2007). Stragglers have been found north to Tacna and possibly Moquegua departments, south Peru, and there is a historical record as far south as north 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. More recent surveys have found the species to be scarce to locally common (Howell and Webb 1995), but it is unclear whether this reflects a serious decline or previous observers finding suitable flowering trees. 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 Vitor) (C. Estades in litt. 2007).

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 Vitor. 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.
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 heavily cultivated Azapa and Vitor valleys 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 has not suffered similar declines, suggesting that this may not be the primary cause of its decline (Estades 2007). Competition with Peruvian Sheartail Thaumastura cora 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).

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 with 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).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Research genetic structure of populations. Begin a habitat restoration program in the Lluta, Vitor and Azapa valleys. 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 Vitor valleys.

Citation: BirdLife International 2012. Eulidia yarrellii. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.1. <>. Downloaded on 23 July 2014.
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