Justification of Red List Category
This species qualifies as Vulnerable because it is believed to be undergoing a rapid population decline, primarily as a result of extensive habitat loss and, at least formerly, through trapping for the international cage-bird trade.
The population size is preliminarily estimated to fall into the band 10,000-19,999 individuals. This equates to 6,667-13,333 mature individuals, rounded here to 6,000-15,000 mature individuals.
A rapid and on-going population decline is suspected to be occurring, owing to forest clearance for agriculture, as well as continued exploitation of the species for the cage-bird trade.
Erythrura viridifacies is endemic to the Philippines, where it is known chiefly from Luzon and also from two sites on Negros and one on Panay (Collar et al. 1999). Since 1980, there have been records from just five localities, four on Luzon and one on Panay, together with a recent report from Alcoy Forest, Cebu (D. Allen in litt. 2003, Paguntalan and Jakosalem 2008). Its status is difficult to assess, although it must have declined as a consequence of habitat destruction. It is nomadic and occasionally irruptive and can therefore seem locally common, with flocks numbering over 100 recorded from Luzon. Its status on other islands is unclear and records may relate to immigrants from Luzon. Areas of bamboo have expanded as a result of logging, suggesting that there may now be more suitable habitat available, especially east of San Mariano, Isabela (D. Allen in litt. 2012).
It frequents forested habitat mosaics, including degraded areas, forest edge and even savanna, often above 1,000 m, but occasionally irrupting into the lowlands. It is closely associated with flowering or seeding bamboos, which are a key dietary component. Although its exact movements in relation to food supply are unclear, it is probably normally solitary and sedentary, although flocks of up to 35 have been observed at Hamut (D. Allen in litt. 2007). It may concentrate in numbers at temporarily rich food patches and suddenly irrupt into new areas when resources are unavailable.
Habitat destruction is the key threat as it is dependent on a spatially and temporally patchy resource (bamboo seeds) within forest. Although it benefits from initial forest disturbance, as this improves conditions for bamboo, subsequent clearance to monocultures removes food sources. Forest cover in the late 1980s was estimated to be as low as 24% on Luzon, 4% on Negros and 8% on Panay. The international cage-bird trade may also have had a serious effect on the population. In 1935, the species was caught in large numbers in many districts of Manila and exported by the hundreds to the USA.
Conservation Actions Underway
It has been recorded from two protected areas, the Northern Sierra Madre Natural Park and Bataan Natural Park/Subic Bay. Given its nomadic habits, occurrence in protected areas does not necessarily confer continual protection.
12-13 cm. Green-and-red finch. Entire plumage green except for bright red uppertail-coverts and tail and darker fringes to the primaries. Long, pointed tail, slightly shorter in female which also shows buff on lower belly and vent. Large, dark bill. Similar spp. Tawny-breasted Parrotfinch E. hyperythra is smaller, has a shorter green tail and buff underparts. Voice Contact call is a short, high-pitched tsit tsit. Song seldom heard. Calls a series of high-pitched, chattering and grating notes.
Text account compilers
Taylor, J., Benstead, P., Gilroy, J., Allinson, T
Jakosalem, P.G.C., Allen, D.
BirdLife International (2019) Species factsheet: Erythrura viridifacies. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 23/10/2019. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2019) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 23/10/2019.