Justification of Red List Category
This newly split species is listed as Vulnerable because, although it appears to be stable or possibly increasing, its population remains very small, and therefore at risk from stochastic events and human impacts.
Point count surveys conducted on Praslin in 2010 and 2011 found a density of 0.14-0.24 individuals/ha, resulting in a total population estimate of 520-900 individuals (95% confidence intervals) obtained through distance sampling methodology (Reuleaux et al. 2013). After reviewing recent survey results, Rocamora and Laboudallon (2013) estimate a total breeding population of fewer than 200 pairs, suggesting that there could be fewer than 400 mature individuals. On the basis of these data, it is assumed that there are 340-600 mature individuals in the population.
The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or immediate threats. The species is thought to have increased at least until the turn of the century, but it is not clear if it is still increasing (Reuleaux et al. 2013, Rocamora and Laboudallon 2013).
Coracopsis barklyi is resident on Praslin, with occasional records on Curieuse (c.1 km north of Praslin), Seychelles (Reuleaux et al. 2013). Point count surveys conducted on Praslin in 2010 and 2011 found a density of 0.14-0.24 individuals/ha, resulting in a total population estimate of 520-900 individuals (95% confidence intervals) obtained through distance sampling methodology (Reuleaux et al. 2013). No individuals were detected on Curieuse during point counts over four days and during supplementary fieldwork, thus it is assumed that there is no resident population there (Reuleaux et al. 2013). Prior to the surveys by Reuleaux et al. (2013), the most recent population estimate on Praslin was of 645 individuals (95% confidence intervals: 404-1,034 individuals), using distance sampling at 39 random points (Walford 2008). However, this study was deemed to have several methodological and analytical constraints, which meant that assumptions of the distance sampling method were not met (Walford 2008, Reuleaux et al. 2013) and resulting in an estimate range that was considered too broad to serve as a basis for conservation planning (Reuleaux et al. 2013). After reviewing recent survey results, Rocamora and Laboudallon (2013) estimate a total breeding population of fewer than 200 pairs, suggesting that there could be fewer than 400 mature individuals. A review of previous survey results indicates that this species has recovered from a low point of c.30-50 individuals in one area of the island in the late 1960s, increasing until the at least the turn of the century, with uncertainty over the trend since then (Reuleaux et al. 2013, Rocamora and Laboudallon 2013).
This species inhabits native and mixed forest on Praslin, (Rocamora and Laboudallon 2013, A. Reuleaux and N. Bunbury in litt. 2016). Its core breeding areas are located in endemic palm forest dominated by coco de mer Lodoicea maldivica. The species nests in tree cavities mainly in dead coco de mer palms, but they have also been recorded to nest in cavities in other palms and living broadleaf trees (Reuleaux et al. 2014a), with breeding activity from October to March (Rocamora and Laboudallon 2013, Reuleaux et al. 2014a). Deep cavities in hollow L. maldivica trunks with dense canopy cover over the entrance are preferred (Reuleaux et al. 2014a). Breeding activity fluctuates widely between years (A. Reuleaux and N. Bunbury in litt. 2016). In one sutdy, 53% of nests were found to be successful out of 36 nest attempts with 57% fledgling survival to one year (Reuleaux et al. 2014a). It is also found in cultivated areas and residential areas with gardens, which are suitable feeding habitats (A. Reuleaux and N. Bunbury in litt. 2016). It feeds on a range of plant species, the majority of which are endemic and native (Reuleaux et al. 2014b). It mainly feeds on the fruit pulp, followed by seeds and buds, with occasional observations of feeding on leaves, flowers, bark and scale insects (Reuleaux et al. 2014b).
The decline in this species prior to the 1960s is thought to have been driven mainly by predation by introduced rats and hunting by settlers and farmers (Rocamora and Laboudallon 2013). Other causes of increased mortality have included capture for pets and trade and incidental trapping when other species are targeted.
The most serious current threats to the species include diseases such as Psittacine Beak and Feather Disease, ongoing nest predation from rats and cats, competition from introduced bird species for food and nest-sites, poaching of its main nesting tree (coco de mer), and habitat destruction caused by fires, with potential threats including persecution, pesticides, netting of bat species and inbreeding (Rocamora and Laboudallon 2013, Seychelles Islands Foundation in litt. 2014). Forest fires may represent the most serious threat to the species, with records since the early 1980s showing that approximately every 10 years a large fire occurs (Seychelles Islands Foundation in litt. 2014). The availability of nesting cavities may be a limiting factor in very active breeding years, with some females occupying sub-optimal cavities. The poaching of coco de mer nuts will likely reduce the area of palm forest over the long term. The presence of Rose-ringed Parakeets Psittacula krameri on Mahé, one of which has been recorded on Praslin, increases the risk of disease. The impacts of introduced species through nest predation and competition for nest-sites may not yet be serious enough to limit the population; however, mynahs are increasing on Praslin. Yellow crazy ants do not appear to have impacted the species so far, probably because they do not use dead palm trees, where suitable cavities are located. Predation of fledglings by cats and dogs is probably limited and post-fledging mortality is not currently a major concern. Persecution by farmers is regarded as a minor threat. Other risk factors for the species include its low genetic diversity and large, and so-far unexplained, fluctuations in breeding activity from season to season (Seychelles Islands Foundation in litt. 2014).
Conservation Actions Underway
The species has been protected by law since 1966 (Rocamora and Laboudallon 2013). Endemic palms have been protected since 1991, and the restoration of native palm forest on Praslin and Curieuse is on-going. The species occurs in Praslin National Park, which was established in 1979, and Vallée de Mai was designated a World Heritage Site in 1983. Fond Ferdinand and Curieuse island are managed as nature reserves, but they lack official protected status. Artificial nest boxes were provided between 1983 and c.2005 (Rocamora and Laboudallon 2013, A. Reuleaux and N. Bunbury in litt. 2016).
There is a firebreak around the core breeding area at Vallée de Mai, but it is not guaranteed to work in the event of a large fire which cannot be quickly contained (Seychelles Islands Foundation in litt. 2014), however they proved to be only partially effective when a fire destroyed several hectares of high quality breeding habitat in 2010 (A. Reuleaux and N. Bunbury in litt. 2016). The poaching of coco de mer nuts is being counteracted with increased security and a regeneration programme, and awareness-raising activities have been conducted to reduce persecution by farmers. Measures are being undertaken to eradicate Rose-ringed Parakeets Psittacus krameri from Mahé and they are also being screened for the Psittacine Beak and Feather Disease virus (Seychelles Islands Foundation in litt. 2014).
A national action plan for the species was produced in 2009 and includes plans to introduce the species to Silhouette, along with captive breeding on Frégate and Île du Nord if appropriate habitat restoration and management can be carried out (reviewed by Rocamora and Laboudallon 2013). Other conservation actions identified for this species include the control of introduced species, the renovation and improvement of nest-boxes, population monitoring and public awareness campaigns (reviewed by Rocamora and Laboudallon 2013). Analysis using statistical models is planned in 2014 after annual counts have been conducted for three years without interruption, and conclusions regarding the species trend since 1982 will be published (G. Rocamora in litt. 2014). Repetition of the distance sampling survey is planned at 5-10 year intervals (A. REuleaux and N. Bunbury in litt. 2016).
Conservation Actions Proposed
Carry out further surveys to acquire a more accurate estimate of the population size and to monitor the population trend. Conduct research into the impacts of potential threats. Protect additional areas of native palm forest. Restore suitable native habitats. Continue awareness-raising activities to eliminate any residual persecution.
Text account compilers
Butchart, S., Ekstrom, J., Symes, A., Taylor, J. & Westrip, J.
Bunbury, N., Rocamora, G., Seychelles Islands Foundation & Reuleaux, A.
BirdLife International (2021) Species factsheet: Coracopsis barklyi. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 09/03/2021. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2021) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 09/03/2021.