Distribution and conservation of Grallaria and Grallaricula antpittas (Grallariidae) in Ecuador

JUAN F. FREILE, JUAN LUIS PARRA, CATHERINE H. GRAHAM
2010 Bird conservation international  
The current ranges of many tropical species of conservation concern are poorly known, yet this information is critical for assessing their conservation status against the IUCN Red List criteria and implementing species-level management. Antpittas in the genera Grallaria and Grallaricula are elusive, ground-foraging insectivores, highly susceptible to a range of threats. For these genera, we combine environmental niche modelling with expert knowledge in order to predict species' geographic
more » ... s' geographic distributions, and we use current estimates of deforestation to evaluate their conservation status in Ecuador. We use BIOCLIM to generate a first pass geographic prediction, which was further aided by expert knowledge of their natural history. This methodology allowed us to assess the conservation status of each species, revising previous assessments at the national level and making recommendations for revision of global IUCN Red List categories. Based on inferred rates of population decline, derived from estimates of loss of suitable habitat, we suggest ranking three species as 'Endangered' in Ecuador, one as 'Vulnerable', and three as 'Near Threatened'. Predicted national ranges vary in size from 56.05 km 2 to 112,745 km 2 . Patterns of range loss were different for each Andean slope, with higher deforestation on the western slope. The combination of niche modelling and knowledge of habitat loss can be a powerful tool to aid conservation efforts in the face of a poor understanding of population demographics, as is the case for many Neotropical taxa. We hope the methodology and results provided here will increase our understanding, and focus future attention on the conservation of this poorly known avian group.
doi:10.1017/s0959270910000262 fatcat:fk24del4z5cgppnztuusyqrlti