As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Sunday, 30 June 2019

Forest fire pushes imperilled parrot closer to the brink

A devastating forest fire in Nicaragua has destroyed a vitally important nesting and roosting site of the Yellow-naped Amazon, one of the most endangered parrots in Central America.
Peña Inculta, a haven of biodiversity on the twin-peaked volcanic island of Ometepe in the middle of Nicaragua's largest freshwater lake, was officially designated as a wildlife refuge in 2010 in view of its ecological and cultural importance.
It is home to almost 50 species of resident and migratory birds, including the Yellow-naped Amazon. This charismatic but seriously threatened bird is one of the more conspicuous and exotic inhabitants of Peña Inculta. And this forest is - or was - one of the most important roosting, feeding and nesting sites for Ometepe's iconic parrot, harbouring a population of more than 400 individuals.
The ecological impact of the fire is wide-reaching, and the destruction of parrot habitat will undoubtedly have a detrimental effect on a broad spectrum of other wildlife, including capuchins and howler monkeys, agoutis, sloths, armadillos and bats, as well as a variety of reptiles. But it's the Yellow-naped Amazon that is likely to be hardest hit in view of the species' rarity and limited range.
As if it wasn't enough to run the gauntlet of nest-robbers who poach their eggs and young to supply the local, regional and international pet trade, these beleaguered parrots have now been deprived of a sizeable chunk of their forest home. Although it doesn't sound massive, the 120 hectares lost to the fire represents 40% of the most densely forested area within the wildlife refuge. The widespread loss of mature trees - on which the parrots depend for nest holes - is a particularly serious blow to their breeding prospects in the coming seasons.

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