Rio Branco gallery forest

Country/Territory Brazil,Guyana
Area 94,000 km2
Altitude 0 - 100m
Priority high
Habitat loss moderate
Knowledge incomplete

General characteristics

This EBA consists of the upper Branco and associated rivers of northern Roraima in northernmost Brazil and extreme western Guyana. Rivers found within this EBA include the Tacutu and Ireng (which form the Guyana–Brazil border), Surumu (a right-bank tributary of the lower Tacutu), Cotingo (a left-bank affluent of the Surumu) and Mucajaí and Pirara in Guyana. The area is flanked to the north, east and west by higher land, most notably the Gran Sabana part of the Tepuis (EBA 064). The vegetation is a mosaic of open savanna and gallery forest which is seasonally flooded, especially along the larger rivers.

Restricted-range species

Cercomacra carbonaria and Synallaxis kollari are restricted to the gallery forest and both are known from no more than a handful of localities. They were thought to be endemic to Brazil until found in Guyana along the Pirara river in 1993 (Forrester 1993, 1995). The spinetail is particularly rare, being known from a total of just six specimens and two observations, along six different rivers. The antbird has been observed in recent years on riverine islands near to Boa Nova town, such as Ilha São José and Ilha Boa Água, where it was found to be relatively common in suitable forest.

Species IUCN Category
Rio Branco Antbird (Cercomacra carbonaria) CR
Hoary-throated Spinetail (Synallaxis kollari) CR

Important Bird Areas (IBAs)
IBA Code Site Name Country
BR002 Savanas do Rio Cotingo Brazil
BR003 Lavrados de Roraima Brazil
BR004 Campinas e Várzeas do Rio Branco Brazil
GY003 Ireng River Guyana

Threat and conservation

Cattle-ranching, rice plantations, and other agricultural expansion pose substantial continuing threats, as do man-induced fires and major road-building schemes, e.g. the 'perimetal nort', which is going to open up formerly remote areas (Dinerstein et al. 1995, Forrester 1995). However, much of the forest along the rivers is relatively untouched but, with so little known about the requirements of the two restricted-range species, the potential exists for threats to take a toll on them before their ecologies become better known. In recognition of their small ranges rendering them vulnerable to habitat destruction, both species are considered threatened.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Endemic Bird Areas factsheet: Rio Branco gallery forest. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 11/08/2022.