Crocs Uncover

Bizarre Species

viernes, 15 de mayo de 2009

Three Birds Join Ranks of Highly Endangered

Lear's Macaw, pictured here, has been downlisted from critically endangered. Named after the English poet, this spectacular blue parrot has increased four-fold in numbers as a result of a joint effort of many national and international non-governmental organizations, the Brazilian government and local landowners.

An Ethiopian lark, a Galapagos finch and a spectacularly colored hummingbird only recently discovered in Colombia have been added to the list of the world's most threatened species, an environmental group said Thursday.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature -- the producer each year of a Red List of endangered species -- said the Sidamo lark could soon become Africa's first known bird extinction as the Ethiopian savanna becomes overgrown by bush, farmland and overgrazing.

"This is a species that is absolutely on the edge," said Martin Fowlie, spokesman for the Britain-based BirdLife International, whose monitoring determines which birds are included on the list.

The Sidamo lark is joined as a "critically endangered" species by the medium tree-finch in Ecuador's Galapagos Islands and the gorgeted puffleg -- a Colombian mountain bird with an appearance as flamboyant as its name.

The black bird with a puffy white underbelly and a blue-and-green throat was only discovered in 2005, but is surviving on just 3,000 acres of habitat left in the cloud forests of the Pinche mountain range, which are being lost to coca growing."Cocaine production is the main threat," Fowlie said, adding that only about 25 of the pufflegs have been seen. The total puffleg population, he said, "is likely to be incredibly small."

The situation for some species has improved, however.

New Zealand's Chatham petrel, whose dark gray stripes give its wings an "M" appearance, has been moved to endangered from critically endangered, thanks to conservation work from authorities, the conservation body said.

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