Eira barbara 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Carnivora Mustelidae

Scientific Name: Eira barbara
Species Authority: (Linnaeus, 1758)
Common Name(s):
English Tayra, Greyheaded Tayra
Spanish Amingo, Cabeza de Mate, Gato Negro, Tolomuco
Mustela barbara Linnaeus, 1758

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2015-03-01
Assessor(s): Cuarón, A.D., Reid, F., Helgen, K. & González-Maya, J.F.
Reviewer(s): Duckworth, J.W.
This species is listed as Least Concern because, although it is probably locally threatened as a result of human activity (Nowak 2005), and even when threats are currently reducing its populations, it is still considered locally common throughout its entire range and occurs in a variety of natural and disturbed habitats.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species occurs from southern Veracruz, Mexico, throughout Mesoamerica and south across South America to northern Argentina, occurring throughout except for the high Andes and the Caatinga (eastern Brazil).
Countries occurrence:
Argentina; Belize; Bolivia, Plurinational States of; Brazil; Colombia; Costa Rica; Ecuador; El Salvador; French Guiana; Guatemala; Guyana; Honduras; Mexico; Nicaragua; Panama; Paraguay; Peru; Suriname; Trinidad and Tobago; Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of
Additional data:
Upper elevation limit (metres):1200
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Eira barbara is one of the most common medium-size predators throughout its range (Emmons and Feer 1990). Common in Central America (Alston 1882, Kaufmann and Kaufmann 1965, Janzen 1983, Emmons and Feer 1990, Reid 2009), Colombia, Guyana, Surinam, French Guiana (Eisenberg 1989), Venezuela (Handley 1976), Bolivia (Anderson 1997), Brazil (except in the caatingas and cerrado; Emmons and Feer 1990), Paraguay, and northern Argentina (Mares et al. 1989, Barquez et al. 1991, Redford and Eisenberg 1992). However, it was not recorded in the Paraguayan Chaco during a year (1989-1990) of large mammal censuses (Brooks 1998), despite a preserved specimen in the local museum (Brooks 1991).
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Eira barbara is a diurnal, sometimes crepuscular species (Reid 2009, González-Maya et al. 2009), solitary that travels within a big home range (Sunquist et al. 1989). It seems to be a forest species, using both floor and tree habitats. Emmons and Feer (1990) affirmed that Tayra inhabits tropical and subtropical forests, secondary rain forests, gallery forests, gardens, plantations, cloud forests, and dry scrub forests. Hall and Dalquest (1963) affirmed that it can live near human habitations, crops and other human disturbed habitats, and has been reported in fragmented landscapes of Colombia, even feeding on mango fruits (J. F. González-Maya pers. comm. 2015). It has been said usually to occur below 1,200 m, but there are reports up to 2,400 m (Eisenberg 1989, Emmons and Feer 1990) and is common at 2,000 m (J.F. Gonzalez-Maya pers. comm. 2015).

Diet is omnivorous, including fruits, carrion, small vertebrates, insects, and honey and small vertebrates as marsupials, rodents, iguanids among others (Cabrera and Yepes 1960, Hall and Dalquest 1963, Galef et al. 1976, Emmons and Feer 1990). This species does well in agricultural areas and along the edge of human settlements.

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: The species is hunted for its fur.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): There is little information about levels of off-take of the species (Emmons and Feer 1990). Schreiber et al. (1989) suggested that its range has been reduced in portions of Mexico because of the destruction of tropical forests and spread of agriculture. The species is subject to hunting and road-kills in many South American countries.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Tayra occurs in numerous protected areas. Honduras lists this species under CITES Appendix III.

Classifications [top]

2. Savanna -> 2.2. Savanna - Moist
suitability:Suitable  major importance:Yes
2. Savanna -> 2.1. Savanna - Dry
suitability:Suitable  major importance:Yes
1. Forest -> 1.9. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Moist Montane
suitability:Suitable  major importance:Yes
1. Forest -> 1.6. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Moist Lowland
suitability:Suitable  major importance:Yes
1. Forest -> 1.5. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Dry
suitability:Suitable  major importance:Yes

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
In-Place Species Management
In-Place Education
  Included in international legislation:Yes
  Subject to any international management/trade controls:Yes
2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.1. Annual & perennial non-timber crops -> 2.1.2. Small-holder farming
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

5. Biological resource use -> 5.1. Hunting & trapping terrestrial animals -> 5.1.3. Persecution/control
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

5. Biological resource use -> 5.3. Logging & wood harvesting -> 5.3.5. Motivation Unknown/Unrecorded
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

Bibliography [top]

Alston, E. 1882. Biologia Centrali-Americana: Mammalia. R. H. Porter, London.

Anderson, S. 1997. Mammals of Bolivia: Taxonomy and distribution. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 231: 1–652.

Barquez, R., Mares, M. and Ojeda, R. 1991. Mamíferos de Tucumán. Oklahoma Museum of Natural History, Norman, USA.

Brooks, D. 1991. Some notes on terrestrial mustelids in the central Paraguayan chaco. Small Carnivore Conservation 4: 5-6.

Brooks, D. 1998. Habitat variability as a predictor of rarity in Neotropical mammals. Vida Silvestre Neotropical 7: 115-120.

Brooks, D. M., Rojas, J. M., Aranibar, H., Vargas, R. J. and Tarifa, T. 2002. A preliminary assessment of mammalian fauna of the Eastern Bolivian Panhandle. Mammalia 65: 509-520.

Cabrera, A. and Yepes, J. 1960. Mamíferos Sudamericanos. Ediar, Buenos Aires.

Eisenberg, J.F. 1989. Mammals of the Neotropics. The Northern Neotropics. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago, USA and London, UK.

Emmons, L.H. and Feer, F. 1990. Neotropical Rainforest Mammals: a Field Guide. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, USA and London, UK.

Galef, B., Mittermeier, R. and. Bailey, R. 1976. Predation by the tayra (Eira barbara). Journal of Mammalogy 57: 760–761.

González-Maya, J.F., Schipper, J. and Benítez, A. 2009. Activity patterns and community ecology of small carnivores in the Talamanca region, Costa Rica. Small Carnivore Conservation 41: 9-14.

Hall, E. R. and Dalquest, W. W. 1963. The Mammals of Veracruz. University of Kansas Publications, Museum of Natural History 14: 16-362.

Handley Jr., C.O. 1976. Mammals of the Smithsonian Venezuelan Project. Brigham Young University Science Bulletin, Biological Series 20: 1-91.

IUCN. 2016. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2016-1. Available at: (Accessed: 30 June 2016).

Janzen, D. H. 1983. Costa Rican natural history. University of Chicago Press, Illinois, USA.

Kaufmann, J. and Kaufmann, A. 1965. Observations of the behavior of tayras and grisons. Zeitschrift für Säugetierkunde 30: 146–155.

Mares, M., Ojeda, R. and Barquez, R. 1989. Guide to the mammals of Salta Province, Argentina. University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, USA.

Nowak, R.M. 2005. Walker’s Carnivores of the World. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, USA and London, UK.

Redford, K.H. and Eisenberg, J.F. 1992. Mammals of the Neotropics, The Southern Cone: Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, USA.

Reid, F.A. 1997. A Field Guide to the Mammals of Central America and Southeast Mexico. Oxford University Press, New York.

Schreiber, A., Wirth, R., Riffel, M. and Van Rompaey, H. 1989. Weasels, civets, mongooses, and their relatives. An Action Plan for the conservation of mustelids and viverrids. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland.

Sunquist, M. E., Sunquist, F. and Dancke, D. F. 1989. Ecological separation in a Venezuelan llanos carnivore community. Advances in Neotropical Mammalogy: 197.

Citation: Cuarón, A.D., Reid, F., Helgen, K. & González-Maya, J.F. 2016. Eira barbara. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T41644A45212151. . Downloaded on 25 May 2017.
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