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Paria Whitestart Myioborus pariae



Justification

Justification of Red List Category
This species has a very small range, with records from just one national park. Most of its range is formally protected, but the park is weakly managed and the spread of agriculture continues to destroy habitat, and the population is presumably declining. It is therefore listed as Endangered.

Population justification
The population is estimated to number 2,500-9,999 individuals based on an assessment of known records, descriptions of abundance and range size. This is consistent with recorded population density estimates for congeners or close relatives with a similar body size, and the fact that only a proportion of the estimated Extent of Occurrence is likely to be occupied. This estimate is equivalent to 1,667-6,666 mature individuals, rounded here to 1,500-7,000 mature individuals.

Trend justification
New information is lacking on population size and trends, but habitat degradation and clearance are on-going, suggesting that populations may be in decline, perhaps at a rate of 1-9% over ten years.

Distribution and population

Myioborus pariae is endemic to the Paria Peninsula in Sucre, north-east Venezuela. It is apparently fairly to very common on Cerro Humo, with 4-6 birds regularly encountered on one day in the field. However, suitable habitat on Cerro Humo is restricted to c.15 km2, and there are relatively few records further east (Sharpe 2015). On Cerro Azul, a specimen was taken in 1948 and, given low levels of habitat loss, the species presumably still occurs here. On Cerro El Olvido, only one bird was recorded in June-September 1988 (Bond et al. 1989), but a small number of individuals were found relatively easily in 1991 (Sharpe 2008, 2015) and 1999 (Hayes et al. 2003). Cerro Patao has been mentioned as a locality, but the evidence for this is uncertain.

Ecology

On Cerro Humo, it has been found at elevations of 800-1,150 m, with records further east at 920 m on Cerro Azul, and as low as c.400 m on Cerro El Olvido (Hayes et al. 2003). Birds have been found foraging (alone and in pairs) for insects at 1-5 m in upper and lower montane humid forest, open coffee groves (under the forest canopy), secondary growth and especially at the forest edge.

Threats

Increases in cash-crop agriculture, especially the cultivation of ocumo blanco (Xanthosoma sagittifolium) and ocumo chino (Colocasia esculenta), since the mid- to late 1980s, have resulted in uncontrolled burning and forest degradation. Cerros Humo and Patao have been worst affected, with the east of the peninsula fairly undisturbed. A new paved road from Güiria to Macuro will almost certainly lead to increased habitat clearance (C. J. Sharpe in litt. 1995, 2000, 2003).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
Most of its range is formally protected by the Paria Peninsula National Park, but this has not entirely halted habitat degradation. In fact, this national park has always been chronically underfunded, even though it has been the target of some (admittedly rather ineffectual) international protected area strengthening programmes (Sharpe 2001, Castillo & Salas 2005, Sharpe in litt. 2011). It still has no management plan, has insufficient budget, too few staff (two park guards), and inadequate means of transport and communications (Sharpe in litt. 2011, Santos in litt. 2012). The park has apparently been expanded slightly on to the southern slope of Cerro Humo (a critical area for the species), but this has not been confirmed officially (C. J. Sharpe in litt. 1995, 2000, 2003). It is considered nationally Endangered in Venezuela (Sharpe 2008, 2015).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Monitor the population on Cerro Humo. Urgently survey cerros Patao, Azul, and El Olvido. Study its ecological requirements (Rodríguez and Rojas-Suárez 1995, Sharpe 2008). Initiate programmes to develop economic alternatives to reduce agricultural encroachment in villages adjacent to the national park (Rodríguez and Rojas-Suárez 1995, Sharpe 2008, Sharpe in litt. 2011).

Identification

13 cm. Yellow-and-grey warbler with obvious white outertail. Dull olive-grey upperparts with orange crown. Yellow lores and eye-ring forming spectacles. Entirely yellow underparts with white undertail-coverts. White outer rectrices. Similar spp. Slate-throated Whitestart M. miniatus lacks yellow facial features and has dark throat. Voice Rather soft, liquid tship.

Acknowledgements

Text account compilers
Gilroy, J., Pople, R., Sharpe, C J

Contributors
Santos, M., Sharpe, C J, Rojas-Suárez, F., Pérez-Emán, J., Rodríguez, J.


Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2019) Species factsheet: Myioborus pariae. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 20/06/2019. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2019) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 20/06/2019.