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Carduelis cucullata

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA AVES PASSERIFORMES FRINGILLIDAE

Scientific Name: Carduelis cucullata
Species Authority: Swainson, 1820
Common Name(s):
English Red Siskin
Spanish Lúgano Cardenalito, Cardenalito, Lúgano Encapuchado

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered A2d ver 3.1
Year Published: 2012
Date Assessed: 2012-05-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S. & Symes, A.
Contributor(s): Clinton Eitniear, J. & Sharpe, C J, Hansen, P.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Gilroy, J., Harding, M., Pople, R., Sharpe, C J
Justification:
This species qualifies as Endangered because it is undergoing a very rapid population decline as a result of trapping for the cagebird trade (Collar et al. 1992). Its population is now severely fragmented in much of its historic range, although the recent discovery of a new population in Guyana has resulted in a revision of its overall population size.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Carduelis cucullata was common in the early 20th century but has become extremely rare in a now fragmented range. It once occurred throughout the foothills of northern Venezuela (15 states), but recent sightings are restricted to just seven states (Rodríguez and Rojas-Suárez 1995, C. J. Sharpe in litt. 2000, Rojas-Suárez et al. 2008). It has disappeared from Trinidad, where it was never anything other than rare, and a small population persists in Norte de Santander, Colombia, where a record in February 2000 (López-Lanús 2000) was apparently the first since 1986. A population in Puerto Rico (to USA), derived from escaped cage-birds, has undergone a marked decline and there are very few recent records (J. Clinton-Eitniear in litt. 2000, R. Perez Rivera per J. Clinton-Eitniear in litt. 2000). In 2000, a new population was discovered in southwestern Guyana, c.950 km from the nearest Venezuelan locality, is estimated to number in the low hundreds to low thousands (Robbins et al. 2003, Janki, M. in litt. 2005). The remaining population elsewhere has been estimated in the high hundreds or low thousands, but the paucity of recent records indicates that this may be an overestimate. In Venezuela its distribution and population are estimated to be less than 20% of the original sizes (Rojas-Suárez et al. 2008).

Countries:
Native:
Colombia; Guyana; Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of
Possibly extinct:
Trinidad and Tobago
Introduced:
Puerto Rico
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: A previous estimate of a population in the low thousands in Guyana, based on the observation of 127 individuals, may be too high, with the actual population potentially numbering in the low hundreds (M. Janki in litt. 2005). The Venezuelan population is likely to be 250-1,000 individuals, although there are more optimistic estimates of up to 4,000 birds. The total population is best placed in the band 2,500-9,999 individuals, equating to 1,667-6,666 mature individuals, rounded here to 1,500-7,000 mature individuals.
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: It is found between 100-1,500 m (Rojas-Suárez et al. 2008), moving semi-nomadically and altitudinally (seasonally and daily) between moist evergreen forest, dry deciduous woodland and associated edge habitats, shrubby grassland and pastures. The main breeding period is from April to early June, with a secondary period in November and December. The nest is placed in clumps of Tillandsia bromeliads in tall trees and, in Guyana, in dense terminal clusters of leaves in the crown of Curatella trees (Robbins et al. 2003). Breeding territories in Guyana were densely packed, apparently due to a superabundance of fruiting mistletoe (Robbins et al. 2003). The diet also includes fruit (e.g. Ficus spp.), flower buds, and seeds of grasses and herbaceous plants (Robbins et al. 2003).

Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): It is subject to enormous, long-term (and since the 1940s, illegal) pressure from trappers, primarily because of its capacity to hybridise with canaries. Although trappers are active in the area of the Guyanese population, they claim that there is no active market for the species (Robbins et al. 2003). Intensive agriculture continues to reduce the extent of available habitat. Captive-breeding programmes are hampered by disease and hybrid stock (J. Clinton-Eitniear in litt. 2000). It is considered nationally Critically Endangered in Venezuela (Sharpe 2008).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix I. It is legally protected in Venezuela, and has recently been declared legally protected in Guyana. The Environmental Protection Agency in Guyana has designated South Rupununi Conservation Society (SRCS) the lead agency for protection and conservation of the species. SRCS is currently conducting research on red siskins in partnership with members of local communities. Much of the known Guyanese range is on a cattle ranch, the managers of which are conservation-minded (Robbins et al. 2003). In Venezuela, it is reputed to have occurred in Guatopo and Terepaima National Parks but there have been no records for many years (J. Clinton-Eitniear in litt. 2000). A planned reintroduction project on Trinidad has been suspended because of disease problems (J. Clinton-Eitniear in litt. 2000). Some education and control programmes undertaken in the past have led to an increase in pressure from trade (Rodríguez and Rojas-Suárez 1995). A captive breeding project exists in the US (American Federation of Aviculture 2003), now run by the National Finch and Softbill Society (NFSS) under the Finch Save Program. The NFSS maintains an on-line database of captive bred birds for for private breeders, and conducts an annual on-line census of private captive breeding stock (P. Hansen in litt. 2012). It has been identified as one of the four highest priority bird species for conservation in Venezuela (Rodríguez et al. 2004).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Assess current status in national parks (Rojas-Suárez et al. 2008). Survey known range in Venezuela (Rojas-Suárez et al. 2008), Colombia and Puerto Rico, as well as intervening areas of suitable habitat. Coordinate captive-breeding efforts internationally (Rojas-Suárez et al. 2008). Raise public awareness (Rojas-Suárez et al. 2008). Improve the legislation for the protection of this species (Rojas-Suárez et al. 2008). Investigate the possibilty of captive breeding and reintroduction programmes (Rojas-Suárez et al. 2008). Develop an effective management plan to ensure the protection of the Guyanese population (Robbins et al. 2003).


Citation: BirdLife International 2012. Carduelis cucullata. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 25 October 2014.
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