Special Issue "Ecology and Conservation of Parrots in Their Native and Non-Native Ranges"

A special issue of Diversity (ISSN 1424-2818). This special issue belongs to the section "Animal Diversity".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 March 2021).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. José L. Tella
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
CSIC- Estación Biológica de Doñana EBD, 41092 Seville, Spain
Interests: biological invasions; conservation biology; ecology and conservation of parrots; Neotropical birds; seed dispersal; threatened species; urban birds; wildlife trade
Dr. Guillermo Blanco
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Evolutionary Ecology, National Museum of Natural Sciences, CSIC. José Gutiérrez Abascal 2, 28006 Madrid, Spain
Interests: conservation biology; ecology; birds; ecotoxicology; pathogens; evolution; raptors; parrots; corvids; behavioral ecology; population dynamics; population trends; pharmaceuticals; pathogens; conservation management; wildlife
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Dr. Martina Carrete
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Physical, Chemical and Natural Systems, Universidad Pablo de Olavide, Sevilla, Spain
Interests: biological invasions; biological conservation; evolutionary ecology; animal behaviour; global change

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

We are pleased to announce a forthcoming Special Issue of Diversity focused on parrots, which are among the most fascinating, attractive and threatened birds in the world.

text    

With about 400 species widely distributed across continents and oceanic islands, parrots (Psittaciformes) stand out among birds by their poor conservation status. According to the 2019 IUCN Red List, 26 % of parrot species are threatened with extinction and 14 % are listed as near threatened. Moreover, 58 % of all the species are experiencing global population declines. Although threats such as habitat loss and wildlife trade are widely recognized for parrots, detailed studies on the biology, ecology, population dynamics, population genetics and site-specific conservation threats are lacking for most of them. The need for further research is exemplified by the splits and descriptions of new parrot species and by the ecological functions of parrots, such as seed dispersal, that have been overlooked until recent years. Given the ecosystem services they may provide, the conservation of parrot populations may contribute to the health of the habitats where they live.

Concernedly, their attractiveness has made them subject of intensive transport to foreign pet markets across the world. International trade has caused that at least 60 parrot species had established populations out of their native ranges, often resulting in flourishing populations that contrast with the poor conservation status of many native populations. However, studies on non-native populations have been mostly restricted to two parakeet species. Much more research is needed on these non-native parrot populations, including aspects such as their establishment and spread processes, population dynamics, potential impacts (positive and negative) on their recipient habitats and communities, the need or not for control and/or eradication, or their ecological functions in their invaded regions. 

This Special Issue is an exciting opportunity to combine and synthesise recent research on both native and non-native parrot populations. Diversity’s team and we kindly invite you to submit a manuscript focused on any of the above topics. Although specific case studies with broad implications are welcome, we encourage authors to submit large-scale and/or multi-specific studies, synthesis works and reviews that could better enlarge our knowledge on the ecology and conservation of native and invasive parrots. If you are interested in this opportunity or have any question, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Prof. Dr. José L. Tella
Dr. Guillermo Blanco
Dr. Martina Carrete
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Diversity is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Conservation threats
  • Conservation management
  • Population dynamics
  • Population genetics
  • Habitat suitability
  • Ecological functions
  • Invasion processes
  • Population ecology of non-native parrots
  • Positive and negative impacts of non-native parrots
  • Ecological functions of non-native parrots

Published Papers (25 papers)

Order results
Result details
Select all
Export citation of selected articles as:

Research

Jump to: Review

Article
Seasonal Variation in Fecal Glucocorticoid Levels and Their Relationship to Reproductive Success in Captive Populations of an Endangered Parrot
Diversity 2021, 13(12), 617; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13120617 (registering DOI) - 25 Nov 2021
Viewed by 209
Abstract
Many species are threatened with extinction, and captive breeding programs are becoming more common to avoid this outcome. These programs serve to prevent extinction and produce individuals for eventual reintroduction to natural populations in historical habitat. Captive animals experience different energetic demands than [...] Read more.
Many species are threatened with extinction, and captive breeding programs are becoming more common to avoid this outcome. These programs serve to prevent extinction and produce individuals for eventual reintroduction to natural populations in historical habitat. Captive animals experience different energetic demands than those in the wild, however, and as a result may have different levels of glucocorticoid hormones. Glucocorticoids help with responses to energetically expensive and potentially stressful situations. Elevated glucocorticoid levels can also potentially alter reproduction and other key behaviors, thus complicating successful captive breeding. The Puerto Rican parrot (Amazona vittata) is a critically endangered parrot that currently exists in only two wild and two captive populations. Its recovery program provides a good platform to better understand how glucocorticoid levels may relate to reproductive success under captive conditions. We validated a corticosterone assay in this species and used non-invasive techniques of measuring fecal glucocorticoid metabolites of males and females from two captive populations (Rio Abajo and El Yunque) of Puerto Rican parrots over two consecutive breeding seasons, 2017 and 2018, and the pre-breeding season of 2018, which occurred just after Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico. Our results show that levels of fecal glucocorticoid metabolites of males measured during the breeding season of 2018 negatively correlated to the number of total eggs and fertile eggs laid by pairs. In contrast, there was a positive relationship of female fecal glucocorticoid metabolite levels during the pre-breeding season of 2018 with total eggs laid. In males from the Rio Abajo population, we found seasonal differences in fecal glucocorticoid metabolite levels, with higher levels during the pre-breeding season of 2018 compared to both 2017 and 2018 breeding seasons. There was no difference in the mean value of male fecal glucocorticoid metabolites between the 2017 breeding season and 2018 breeding season which started four months after Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico. We did find sex differences during the pre-breeding season of 2018 in birds from the Rio Abajo population. Adjustments in the care routine of both populations that could reduce circulating baseline glucocorticoids and avoid frequent, sudden elevations of glucocorticoids should be considered. These results provide a baseline for future comparison with reintroduced populations of this endangered species and other species with captive breeding programs. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Evolution of Beak and Feather Disease Virus across Three Decades of Conservation Intervention for Population Recovery of the Mauritius Parakeet
Diversity 2021, 13(11), 584; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13110584 - 16 Nov 2021
Viewed by 366
Abstract
Emerging infectious diseases (EIDs) are key contributors to the current global biodiversity crisis. Psittaciformes (parrots) are one of the most vulnerable avian taxa and psittacine beak and feather disease (PBFD) is the most common viral disease in wild parrots. PBFD is caused by [...] Read more.
Emerging infectious diseases (EIDs) are key contributors to the current global biodiversity crisis. Psittaciformes (parrots) are one of the most vulnerable avian taxa and psittacine beak and feather disease (PBFD) is the most common viral disease in wild parrots. PBFD is caused by the beak and feather disease virus (BFDV), which belongs to the Circoviridae family and comprises a circular, single-stranded DNA genome. BFDV is considered to have spread rapidly across the world and, in 2005, an outbreak of PBFD was documented in the recovering population of the Mauritius parakeet (Alexandrinus eques). The Mauritius parakeet was once the world’s rarest parrot and has been successfully recovered through 30 years of intensive conservation management. Molecular surveillance for the prevalence of BFDV was carried out across a 24-year sample archive spanning the period from 1993 to 2017, and DNA sequencing of positive individuals provided an opportunity to assess patterns of phylogenetic and haplotype diversity. Phylogenetic analyses show variation in the extent of viral diversification within the replicase protein (Rep). Timeseries of BFDV prevalence and number of haplotypes reveal that two subsequent waves of infection occurred in 2010/2011 and 2013/2014 following the initial outbreak in 2005. Continued disease surveillance to determine the frequency and intensity of subsequent waves of infection may benefit future translocation/reintroduction planning. The continued growth of the Mauritius parakeet population despite the presence of BFDV bodes well for its long-term persistence. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Satellite Telemetry of Blue-Throated Macaws in Barba Azul Nature Reserve (Beni, Bolivia) Reveals Likely Breeding Areas
Diversity 2021, 13(11), 564; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13110564 - 05 Nov 2021
Viewed by 568
Abstract
The Blue-throated Macaw (Ara glaucogularis) is a Critically Endangered species endemic to the Llanos de Moxos ecosystem of Beni, Bolivia. To aid conservation of the northwestern population that utilizes the Barba Azul Nature Reserve during the non-breeding season, we set out to [...] Read more.
The Blue-throated Macaw (Ara glaucogularis) is a Critically Endangered species endemic to the Llanos de Moxos ecosystem of Beni, Bolivia. To aid conservation of the northwestern population that utilizes the Barba Azul Nature Reserve during the non-breeding season, we set out to learn the sites where these birds breed using satellite telemetry. We describe preliminary tests conducted on captive birds (at Loro Parque Foundation, Tenerife, Spain) that resulted in choosing Geotrak Parrot Collars, a metal, battery-operated unit that provides data through the Argos satellite system. In September 2019, we tagged three birds in Barba Azul with Geotrak collars, and received migration data for two birds, until battery depletion in November and December 2019. Our two migrant birds were tracked leaving Barba Azul on the same date (27 September), but departed in divergent directions (approximately 90 degrees in separation). They settled in two sites approximately 50–100 km from Barba Azul. Some details of the work are restricted out of conservation concern as the species still faces poaching pressures. Knowing their likely breeding grounds, reserve managers conducted site visits to where the birds were tracked, resulting in the discovery of breeding birds, although no birds still carrying a transmitter were seen then. A single individual still carrying its collar was spotted 13 August 2021 at Barba Azul. The work suggests that the Blue-throated Macaws of Barba Azul use breeding sites that are scattered across the Llanos de Moxos region, although within the recognized boundaries of the northwestern subpopulation. We conclude that the use of satellite collars is a feasible option for research with the species and could provide further conservation insights. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Wildlife Trade Influencing Natural Parrot Populations on a Biodiverse Indonesian Island
Diversity 2021, 13(10), 483; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13100483 - 30 Sep 2021
Viewed by 518
Abstract
Indonesia has been identified as the highest priority country for parrot conservation based on the number of species, endemics, and threats (trapping and smuggling). It is crucial to understand the current population status of parrots in the wild in relation to the illegal [...] Read more.
Indonesia has been identified as the highest priority country for parrot conservation based on the number of species, endemics, and threats (trapping and smuggling). It is crucial to understand the current population status of parrots in the wild in relation to the illegal wildlife trade but the ecology and population dynamics of most parrot species in this region remain poorly understood. We conducted a parrot survey around an area of high biodiversity in the Manusela National Park, in Seram Island, Indonesia. We used a combination of fixed-radius point counts and fixed-width line transects to count multiple species of parrots. We recorded nearly 530 wild parrots from 10 species in and around Manusela National Park. The dominant parrot species were Eos bornea, Trichoglosus haematodus, and Geoffroyus geoffroyi. We applied the Savage selectivity index to evaluate poaching of parrot species in proportion to their abundance and which species had higher than expected poaching pressure. This study has important implications for the conservation status of endemic parrots (Cacatua moluccensis, Lorius domicella, and Eos semilarvata) and shows that parrots in the Manusela NP are largely threatened by poaching. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Endemic and Threatened Amazona Parrots of the Atlantic Forest: An Overview of Their Geographic Range and Population Size
Diversity 2021, 13(9), 416; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13090416 - 30 Aug 2021
Viewed by 620
Abstract
Amazona is the largest genus of the Psittacidae, one of the most threatened bird families. Here, we study four species of Amazona (Amazona brasiliensis, A. pretrei, A. vinacea, and A. rhodocorytha) that are dependent on a highly vulnerable biome: [...] Read more.
Amazona is the largest genus of the Psittacidae, one of the most threatened bird families. Here, we study four species of Amazona (Amazona brasiliensis, A. pretrei, A. vinacea, and A. rhodocorytha) that are dependent on a highly vulnerable biome: the Brazilian Atlantic Forest. To examine their distribution and abundance, we compile abundance estimates and counts, and develop site-occupancy models of their geographic range. These models integrate data from formal research and citizen science platforms to estimate probabilistic maps of the species’ occurrence throughout their range. Estimated range areas varied from 15,000 km2 for A. brasiliensis to more than 400,000 km2 for A. vinacea. While A. vinacea is the only species with a statistical estimate of abundance (~8000 individuals), A. pretrei has the longest time series of roost counts, and A. rhodocorytha has the least information about population size. The highest number of individuals counted in one year was for A. pretrei (~20,000), followed by A. brasiliensis (~9000). Continued modeling of research and citizen science data, matched with collaborative designed surveys that count parrots at their non-breeding roosts, are essential for an appropriate assessment of the species’ status, as well as for examining the outcome of conservation actions. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Genetic Diversity and Population Structure of Two Endangered Neotropical Parrots Inform In Situ and Ex Situ Conservation Strategies
Diversity 2021, 13(8), 386; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13080386 - 17 Aug 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 753
Abstract
A key aspect in the conservation of endangered populations is understanding patterns of genetic variation and structure, which can provide managers with critical information to support evidence-based status assessments and management strategies. This is especially important for species with small wild and larger [...] Read more.
A key aspect in the conservation of endangered populations is understanding patterns of genetic variation and structure, which can provide managers with critical information to support evidence-based status assessments and management strategies. This is especially important for species with small wild and larger captive populations, as found in many endangered parrots. We used genotypic data to assess genetic variation and structure in wild and captive populations of two endangered parrots, the blue-throated macaw, Ara glaucogularis, of Bolivia, and the thick-billed parrot, Rhynchopsitta pachyrhyncha, of Mexico. In the blue-throated macaw, we found evidence of weak genetic differentiation between wild northern and southern subpopulations, and between wild and captive populations. In the thick-billed parrot we found no signal of differentiation between the Madera and Tutuaca breeding colonies or between wild and captive populations. Similar levels of genetic diversity were detected in the wild and captive populations of both species, with private alleles detected in captivity in both, and in the wild in the thick-billed parrot. We found genetic signatures of a bottleneck in the northern blue-throated macaw subpopulation, but no such signal was identified in any other subpopulation of either species. Our results suggest both species could potentially benefit from reintroduction of genetic variation found in captivity, and emphasize the need for genetic management of captive populations. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Roadside Car Surveys: Methodological Constraints and Solutions for Estimating Parrot Abundances across the World
Diversity 2021, 13(7), 300; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13070300 - 01 Jul 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1713
Abstract
Parrots stand out among birds because of their poor conservation status and the lack of available information on their population sizes and trends. Estimating parrot abundance is complicated by the high mobility, gregariousness, patchy distributions, and rarity of many species. Roadside car surveys [...] Read more.
Parrots stand out among birds because of their poor conservation status and the lack of available information on their population sizes and trends. Estimating parrot abundance is complicated by the high mobility, gregariousness, patchy distributions, and rarity of many species. Roadside car surveys can be useful to cover large areas and increase the probability of detecting spatially aggregated species or those occurring at very low densities. However, such surveys may be biased due to their inability to handle differences in detectability among species and habitats. We conducted 98 roadside surveys, covering > 57,000 km across 20 countries and the main world biomes, recording ca. 120,000 parrots from 137 species. We found that larger and more gregarious species are more easily visually detected and at greater distances, with variations among biomes. However, raw estimates of relative parrot abundances (individuals/km) were strongly correlated (r = 0.86–0.93) with parrot densities (individuals/km2) estimated through distance sampling (DS) models, showing that variability in abundances among species (>40 orders of magnitude) overcomes any potential detectability bias. While both methods provide similar results, DS cannot be used to study parrot communities or monitor the population trends of all parrot species as it requires a minimum of encounters that are not reached for most species (64% in our case), mainly the rarest and more threatened. However, DS may be the most suitable choice for some species-specific studies of common species. We summarize the strengths and weaknesses of both methods to guide researchers in choosing the best–fitting option for their particular research hypotheses, characteristics of the species studied, and logistical constraints. Full article
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Article
Genetic, but Not Behavioral, Evidence Supports the Distinctiveness of the Mealy Amazon Parrot in the Brazilian Atlantic Forest
Diversity 2021, 13(6), 273; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13060273 - 17 Jun 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 621
Abstract
The presence of unidentified cryptic species within a species complex can obscure demographic trends of vulnerable species, impacting potential species conservation and management decisions. Previous work identified a taxonomic split between Central and South American populations of the mealy amazon (Amazona farinosa [...] Read more.
The presence of unidentified cryptic species within a species complex can obscure demographic trends of vulnerable species, impacting potential species conservation and management decisions. Previous work identified a taxonomic split between Central and South American populations of the mealy amazon (Amazona farinosa) that subsequently resulted in the elevation of these two populations to full species status (Amazona guatemalae and A. farinosa, respectively). In that study, however, a third, geographically disjunct population from the Brazilian Atlantic Forest was insufficiently sampled, limiting the ability of researchers to fully evaluate its genetic distinctiveness. Given that significant levels of biodiversity and endemism are found in this region, we aimed to use genetic and behavioral data to determine if the Atlantic Forest population of A. f. farinosa represents a third cryptic species within the complex. We sequenced 6 genes (4 mitochondrial and 2 nuclear introns) from the Atlantic Forest population of A. f. farinosa to measure the genetic relationships between this population and all other recognized species and subspecies of the mealy amazon. In addition, we use spectrographic cross-correlation and an analysis of 29 acoustic parameters to determine whether the taxa diverge in their learned contact call structure and if the degree of vocal differentiation correlates to genetic structure. We found that the Atlantic Forest population of A. f. farinosa was genetically distinct from that of the greater Amazon basin, but the degree of differentiation was less than that separating the Central and South American taxa. Acoustic analysis revealed substantial variation in contact call structure within each clade. This variation created substantial overlap in acoustic space between the clades. In all, the degree of call divergence between clades did not correspond to the degree of genetic divergence between the same clades. The results suggest that in taxa with substantial geographic variation in learned calls, such as the mealy amazon, vocalizations may not be a useful tool in the identification of cryptic species that are lifelong vocal learners. While these results do not support the elevation of the Brazilian Atlantic Forest population of the mealy amazon to full species status, given current trends of habitat loss in the Atlantic Forest as well as the imperiled status of large parrot species globally, we argue that this population nonetheless warrants special conservation and management consideration as a pool of unique genetic diversity within the southern mealy amazon species. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Communication
Molecular Survey of Pathogens in Wild Amazon Parrot Nestlings: Implications for Conservation
Diversity 2021, 13(6), 272; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13060272 - 16 Jun 2021
Viewed by 618
Abstract
South America presents the greatest Psittacidae diversity in the world, but also has the highest numbers of threatened parrot species. Recently, exotic viruses have been detected in captive native psittacine birds in Brazil, however, their impacts on the health of wild parrots are [...] Read more.
South America presents the greatest Psittacidae diversity in the world, but also has the highest numbers of threatened parrot species. Recently, exotic viruses have been detected in captive native psittacine birds in Brazil, however, their impacts on the health of wild parrots are still unknown. We evaluated the presence of Chlamydia psittaci, Psittacid alphaherpesvirus 1 (PsHV-1), avipoxvirus and beak and feather disease virus (BFDV) in wild Amazona aestiva, A. brasiliensis and A. pretrei nestlings and in wild caught A. aestiva nestlings seized from illegal trade. Samples were collected from 205 wild nestlings and 90 nestlings from illegal trade and pathogen-specific PCR was performed for each sample. Chlamydia DNA prevalence was 4.7% in A. aestiva and 2.5% in A. brasiliensis sampled from the wild. Sequencing revealed that the C. psittaci sample belonged to the genotype A. PsHV-1, avipoxvirus and BFDV DNA was not detected. These results have conservation implications since they suggest that wild parrot populations have a low prevalence of the selected pathogens and, apparently, they were not reached by the exotic BFDV. Stricter health protocols should be established as condition to reintroduction of birds to the wild to guarantee the protection of Neotropical parrots. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Parrot Free-Flight as a Conservation Tool
Diversity 2021, 13(6), 254; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13060254 - 08 Jun 2021
Viewed by 2602
Abstract
The release of captive-raised parrots to create or supplement wild populations has been critiqued due to variable survival rates and unreliable flocking behavior. Private bird owners free-fly their parrots in outdoor environments and utilize techniques that could address the needs of conservation breed [...] Read more.
The release of captive-raised parrots to create or supplement wild populations has been critiqued due to variable survival rates and unreliable flocking behavior. Private bird owners free-fly their parrots in outdoor environments and utilize techniques that could address the needs of conservation breed and release projects. We present methods and results of a free-flight training technique used for 3 parrot flocks: A large-bodied (8 macaws of 3 species and 2 hybrids), small-bodied (25 individuals of 4 species), and a Sun Parakeet flock (4 individuals of 1 species). Obtained as chicks, the birds were hand-reared in an enriched environment. As juveniles, the birds were systematically exposed to increasingly complex wildland environments, mirroring the learning process of wild birds developing skills. The criteria we evaluated for each flock were predation rates, antipredator behavior, landscape navigation, and foraging. No parrots were lost to predation or disorientation during over 500 months of free-flight time, and all birds demonstrated effective flocking, desirable landscape navigation, and wild food usage. The authors conclude that this free-flight method may be directly applicable for conservation releases, similar to the use of falconry methods for raptor conservation. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Genetic Assignment Tests to Identify the Probable Geographic Origin of a Captive Specimen of Military Macaw (Ara militaris) in Mexico: Implications for Conservation
Diversity 2021, 13(6), 245; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13060245 - 02 Jun 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 873
Abstract
The Military Macaw (Ara militaris) faces a number of serious conservation threats. The use of genetic markers and assignment tests may help to identify the geographic origin of captive individuals and improve conservation and management programs. The purpose of this study [...] Read more.
The Military Macaw (Ara militaris) faces a number of serious conservation threats. The use of genetic markers and assignment tests may help to identify the geographic origin of captive individuals and improve conservation and management programs. The purpose of this study was to identify the possible geographic origin of a captive individual using genetic markers. We used a reference database of genotypes of 86 individuals previously shown to belong to two different genetic groups to determine the genetic assignment of the captive individual of unknown origin (captive specimen) and five individuals of known geographic origin (as positive controls). We evaluated the accuracy of three assignment/exclusion criteria to determine the success of correct assignment of the individual of unknown origin and the five positive control individuals. WICHLOCI estimated that eight loci were required to achieve an assignment success of 83%. The correct geographic origin of positive controls was identified with 83% confidence. All of the analyses assigned the captive individual to the genetic group from the Sierra Madre Oriental. Bayesian assignment tests, tests for genetic distance and allele frequency tests assigned the unknown individual to the locations from the Sierra Madre Oriental with a probability of 71.2–82.4%. We show that the use of genetic markers provides a promising tool for determining the origin of pets and individuals seized from the illegal animal trade to better inform decisions on reintroduction and improve conservation programs. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Burrowing Parrots Cyanoliseus patagonus as Long-Distance Seed Dispersers of Keystone Algarrobos, Genus Prosopis, in the Monte Desert
Diversity 2021, 13(5), 204; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13050204 - 12 May 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1159
Abstract
Understanding of ecosystem structure and functioning requires detailed knowledge about plant–animal interactions, especially when keystone species are involved. The recent consideration of parrots as legitimate seed dispersers has widened the range of mechanisms influencing the life cycle of many plant species. We examined [...] Read more.
Understanding of ecosystem structure and functioning requires detailed knowledge about plant–animal interactions, especially when keystone species are involved. The recent consideration of parrots as legitimate seed dispersers has widened the range of mechanisms influencing the life cycle of many plant species. We examined the interactions between the burrowing parrot Cyanoliseus patagonus and two dominant algarrobo trees (Prosopis alba and Prosopis nigra) in the Monte Desert, Argentina. We recorded the abundance and foraging behaviour of parrots; quantified the handling, consumption, wasting, and dispersal of ripe and unripe pods; and tested the viability of soft and hard ripe seeds wasted and transported by parrots. We found a high abundance of burrowing parrots. They predated on soft seeds from unripe pods while exclusively feeding upon pulp wrapping hard seeds from ripe pods. Frequent pod wasting beneath the plant or transport at a distance invariably implied the dispersal of multiple seeds in each event. Moreover, soft seeds retained viability after desiccation outside the mother plant, suggesting effective seed dispersal after partial pod predation due to a predator satiation effect. In about half of the foraging flocks, at least one parrot departed in flight with pods in its beak, with 10–34% of the flock components moving pods at distances averaging 238 m (P. alba) and 418 m (P. nigra). A snapshot sampling of faeces from livestock and wild mammals suggested a low frequency of seed dispersal by endozoochory and secondary dispersal by ants and dung beetles. The nomadic movements and long flights of burrowing parrots between breeding and foraging sites can lead to the dispersal of huge amounts of seeds across large areas that are sequentially exploited. Further research should evaluate the role of the burrowing parrot as a functionally unique species in the structure of the Monte Desert woods and the genetic structure of algarrobo species. Full article
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Communication
Reintroduction of the Golden Conure (Guaruba guarouba) in Northern Brazil: Establishing a Population in a Protected Area
Diversity 2021, 13(5), 198; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13050198 - 08 May 2021
Viewed by 752
Abstract
Brazil has the highest number of parrots in the world and the greatest number of threatened species. The Golden Conure is endemic to the Brazilian Amazon forest and it is currently considered as threatened by extinction, although it is fairly common in captivity. [...] Read more.
Brazil has the highest number of parrots in the world and the greatest number of threatened species. The Golden Conure is endemic to the Brazilian Amazon forest and it is currently considered as threatened by extinction, although it is fairly common in captivity. Here we report the first reintroduction of this species. The birds were released in an urban park in Belem, capital of Para State, where the species was extinct more than a century ago. Birds were trained to recognize and consume local food and to avoid predators. After the soft-release, with food supplementation and using nest boxes, we recorded breeding activity in the wild. The main challenges before the release were the territorial disputes within the aviary and the predation by boa snakes. During the post-release monitoring the difficulties were the fast dispersion of some individuals and the dangers posed by anthropic elements such as power lines that caused some fatalities. Released birds were very successful at finding and consuming native foods, evading predators, and one pair reproduced successfully. Monitoring continues and further releases are programmed to establish an ecologically viable population. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Increasing Survival of Wild Macaw Chicks Using Foster Parents and Supplemental Feeding
Diversity 2021, 13(3), 121; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13030121 - 12 Mar 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1623
Abstract
The use of foster parents has great potential to help the recovery of highly endangered bird species. However, few studies have shown how to successfully use these techniques in wild populations. Scarlet Macaws (Ara macao macao) in Perú hatch 2–4 chicks [...] Read more.
The use of foster parents has great potential to help the recovery of highly endangered bird species. However, few studies have shown how to successfully use these techniques in wild populations. Scarlet Macaws (Ara macao macao) in Perú hatch 2–4 chicks per nest but about 24% of all chicks die of starvation and on average just 1.4 of them fledge per successful nest. In this study we develop and test new techniques to increase survival of wild Scarlet Macaw chicks by reducing chick starvation. We hypothesized that using foster parents would increase the survival of chicks at risk of starvation and increase overall reproductive success. Our results show that all relocated macaw chicks were successfully accepted by their foster parents (n = 28 chicks over 3 consecutive breeding seasons) and 89% of the relocated chicks fledged. Overall, we increased fledging success per available nest from 17% (2000 to 2016 average) to 25% (2017 to 2019) and decreased chick death by starvation from 19% to 4%. These findings show that the macaw foster parents technique and post relocation supplemental feeding provide a promising management tool to aid wild parrot population recovery in areas with low reproductive success. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Predicting the Future Distribution of Ara rubrogenys, an Endemic Endangered Bird Species of the Andes, Taking into Account Trophic Interactions
Diversity 2021, 13(2), 94; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13020094 - 21 Feb 2021
Viewed by 1091
Abstract
Species distribution models (SDMs) are commonly used with climate only to predict animal distribution changes. This approach however neglects the evolution of other components of the niche, like food resource availability. SDMs are also commonly used with plants. This also suffers limitations, notably [...] Read more.
Species distribution models (SDMs) are commonly used with climate only to predict animal distribution changes. This approach however neglects the evolution of other components of the niche, like food resource availability. SDMs are also commonly used with plants. This also suffers limitations, notably an inability to capture the fertilizing effect of the rising CO2 concentration strengthening resilience to water stress. Alternatively, process-based dynamic vegetation models (DVMs) respond to CO2 concentration. To test the impact of the plant modelling method to model plant resources of animals, we studied the distribution of a Bolivian macaw, assuming that, under future climate, DVMs produce more conservative results than SDMs. We modelled the bird with an SDM driven by climate. For the plant, we used SDMs or a DVM. Under future climates, the macaw SDM showed increased probabilities of presence over the area of distribution and connected range extensions. For plants, SDMs did not forecast overall response. By contrast, the DVM produced increases of productivity, occupancy and diversity, also towards higher altitudes. The results offered positive perspectives for the macaw, more optimistic with the DVM than with the SDMs, than initially assumed. Nevertheless, major common threats remain, challenging the short-term survival of the macaw. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Parrot Ownership and Capture in Coastal Ecuador: Developing a Trapping Pressure Index
Diversity 2021, 13(1), 15; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13010015 - 05 Jan 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2305
Abstract
We located rural communities with pet parrots and used these locations to predict the probability of illegal parrot ownership across coastal Ecuador, using variables related to demand for pets, parrot availability, and trapping accessibility. In 12 pet keeping communities, we carried out in-depth [...] Read more.
We located rural communities with pet parrots and used these locations to predict the probability of illegal parrot ownership across coastal Ecuador, using variables related to demand for pets, parrot availability, and trapping accessibility. In 12 pet keeping communities, we carried out in-depth interviews with 106 people, to quantify ownership, trapping, and interviewees’ attitudes towards these behaviours. We combined these data to calculate a trapping pressure index for four key roosting, feeding and nesting sites for the Critically Endangered Lilacine or Ecuadorian Amazon Parrot Amazona lilacina. We found that 66% of all communities had pet parrots and 31% had pet Lilacines. Our predictive models showed that pet parrot ownership occurs throughout coastal Ecuador, but ownership of Lilacines by rural communities, is more likely to occur within the natural distribution of the species. The number of people per community who had owned Lilacines in the last three years varied from 0–50%, as did the number of people who had trapped them—from 0–26%. We interviewed 10 people who had captured the species in the last three years who reported motives of either to sell or keep birds as pets. Attitudes towards pet keeping and trapping differed among the 12 communities: 20–52% believed it was acceptable to keep pet parrots, and for 32–74%, it was acceptable to catch parrots to sell. This being said, most people believed that wild parrots were important for nature and that local people had a responsibility to protect them. We conclude that trapping pressure is greatest in the southern part of the Lilacine’s range, and urgent conservation measures such as nest and roost protection, and local community engagement are needed. Full article
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Article
Minimizing Potential Allee Effects in Psittacine Reintroductions: An Example from Puerto Rico
Diversity 2021, 13(1), 13; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13010013 - 02 Jan 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1216
Abstract
The family Psittacidae is comprised of over 400 species, an ever-increasing number of which are considered threatened with extinction. In recent decades, conservation strategies for these species have increasingly employed reintroduction as a technique for reestablishing populations in previously extirpated areas. Because most [...] Read more.
The family Psittacidae is comprised of over 400 species, an ever-increasing number of which are considered threatened with extinction. In recent decades, conservation strategies for these species have increasingly employed reintroduction as a technique for reestablishing populations in previously extirpated areas. Because most Psittacines are highly social and flocking species, reintroduction efforts may face the numerical and methodological challenge of overcoming initial Allee effects during the critical establishment phase of the reintroduction. These Allee effects can result from failures to achieve adequate site fidelity, survival and flock cohesion of released individuals, thus jeopardizing the success of the reintroduction. Over the past 20 years, efforts to reestablish and augment populations of the critically endangered Puerto Rican parrot (Amazona vittata) have periodically faced the challenge of apparent Allee effects. These challenges have been mitigated via a novel release strategy designed to promote site fidelity, flock cohesion and rapid reproduction of released parrots. Efforts to date have resulted in not only the reestablishment of an additional wild population in Puerto Rico, but also the reestablishment of the species in the El Yunque National Forest following its extirpation there by the Category 5 hurricane Maria in 2017. This promising release strategy has potential applicability in reintroductions of other psittacines and highly social species in general. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Range-Wide Population Assessment of the Endangered Yellow-Naped Amazon (Amazona auropalliata)
Diversity 2020, 12(10), 377; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12100377 - 30 Sep 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1121
Abstract
Yellow-naped amazons, Amazona auropalliata, have experienced a dramatic population decline due to persistent habitat loss and poaching. In 2017, BirdLife International changed the species’ status from threatened to endangered and estimated that between 10,000 and 50,000 individuals remained in the wild. An [...] Read more.
Yellow-naped amazons, Amazona auropalliata, have experienced a dramatic population decline due to persistent habitat loss and poaching. In 2017, BirdLife International changed the species’ status from threatened to endangered and estimated that between 10,000 and 50,000 individuals remained in the wild. An accurate estimate of the number of remaining wild individuals is critical to implementing effective conservation plans. Wright et al. conducted roost count surveys in Costa Rica and Nicaragua during 2016 and published their data in 2019; however, no population data exists for the rest of the range. We conducted roost counts at 28 sites across Mexico, Guatemala, and the Bay Islands in Roatan during 2018 and 2019. We counted 679 birds and combined our data with the published Wright et al. (2019) data for a total of 2361 wild yellow-naped amazons observed across the species’ range. There were fewer roosts detected in the northern region of the range than in the southern region. We found that roosts were most likely to occur in built-up rural and pasture habitat, with 71% found within 100 m of human habitation. Our results illustrate the need for immediate conservation action to mitigate decline, such as enforced legal action against poaching, nest guarding, and increased community education efforts. Full article
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Article
Using Peoples’ Perceptions to Improve Conservation Programs: The Yellow-Shouldered Amazon in Venezuela
Diversity 2020, 12(9), 342; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12090342 - 05 Sep 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1437
Abstract
The perceptions and attitudes of local communities help understand the social drivers of unsustainable wildlife use and the social acceptability of conservation programs. We evaluated the social context influencing illegal harvesting of the threatened yellow-shouldered Amazon (Amazona barbadensis) and the effectiveness [...] Read more.
The perceptions and attitudes of local communities help understand the social drivers of unsustainable wildlife use and the social acceptability of conservation programs. We evaluated the social context influencing illegal harvesting of the threatened yellow-shouldered Amazon (Amazona barbadensis) and the effectiveness of a longstanding conservation program in the Macanao Peninsula, Margarita Island, Venezuela. We interviewed 496 people from three communities and documented their perceptions about (1) status and the impact of threats to parrot populations, (2) acceptability of the conservation program, and (3) social processes influencing unsustainable parrot use. Approval of the program was high, but it failed to engage communities despite their high conservation awareness and positive attitudes towards the species. People identified unsustainable use as the main threat to parrots, but negative perceptions were limited to selling, not harvesting or keeping. Harvesters with different motivations (keepers, sellers) may occur in Macanao, and social acceptability of both actors may differ. Future efforts will require a stakeholder engagement strategy to manage conflicts and incentives to participation. A better understanding of different categories of harvesters, as well as their motives and role in the illegal trade network would provide insights to the design of a behavior change campaign. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Opportunistic or Non-Random Wildlife Crime? Attractiveness Rather Than Abundance in the Wild Leads to Selective Parrot Poaching
Diversity 2020, 12(8), 314; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12080314 - 14 Aug 2020
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 2685
Abstract
Illegal wildlife trade, which mostly focuses on high-demand species, constitutes a major threat to biodiversity. However, whether poaching is an opportunistic crime within high-demand taxa such as parrots (i.e., harvesting proportional to species availability in the wild), or is selectively focused on particular, [...] Read more.
Illegal wildlife trade, which mostly focuses on high-demand species, constitutes a major threat to biodiversity. However, whether poaching is an opportunistic crime within high-demand taxa such as parrots (i.e., harvesting proportional to species availability in the wild), or is selectively focused on particular, more desirable species, is still under debate. Answering this question has important conservation implications because selective poaching can lead to the extinction of some species through overharvesting. However, the challenges of estimating species abundances in the wild have hampered studies on this subject. We conducted a large-scale survey in Colombia to simultaneously estimate the relative abundance of wild parrots through roadside surveys (recording 10,811 individuals from 25 species across 2221 km surveyed) and as household, illegally trapped pets in 282 sampled villages (1179 individuals from 21 species). We used for the first time a selectivity index to test selection on poaching. Results demonstrated that poaching is not opportunistic, but positively selects species based on their attractiveness, defined as a function of species size, coloration, and ability to talk, which is also reflected in their local prices. Our methodological approach, which shows how selection increases the conservation impacts of poaching for parrots, can be applied to other taxa also impacted by harvesting for trade or other purposes. Full article
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Communication
High Prevalence of Novel Beak and Feather Disease Virus in Sympatric Invasive Parakeets Introduced to Spain From Asia and South America
Diversity 2020, 12(5), 192; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12050192 - 13 May 2020
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1970
Abstract
The psittacine beak and feather disease (PBFD) is a globally widespread infectious bird disease that mainly affects species within the Order Psittaciformes (parrots and allies). The disease is caused by an avian circovirus (the beak and feather disease virus, BFDV), which is highly [...] Read more.
The psittacine beak and feather disease (PBFD) is a globally widespread infectious bird disease that mainly affects species within the Order Psittaciformes (parrots and allies). The disease is caused by an avian circovirus (the beak and feather disease virus, BFDV), which is highly infectious and can lead to severe consequences in wild and captive populations during an outbreak. Both legal and illegal trading have spread the BFDV around the world, although little is known about its prevalence in invasive parrot populations. Here, we analyze the BFDV prevalence in sympatric invasive populations of rose-ringed (Psittacula krameri) and monk parakeets (Myiopsitta monachus) in Southern Spain. We PCR-screened 110 blood samples (55 individuals from each species) for BFDV and characterized the genotypes of five positives from each species. About 33% of rose-ringed parakeets and 37% of monk parakeets sampled were positive for BFDV, while neither species showed disease symptoms. The circovirus identified is a novel BFDV genotype common to both species, similar to the BFDV genotypes detected in several parrot species kept in captivity in Saudi Arabia, South Africa and China. Our data evidences the importance of an accurate evaluation of avian diseases in wild populations, since invasive parrots may be bringing BFDV without showing any visually detectable clinical sign. Further research on the BFDV prevalence and transmission (individual–individual, captive–wild and wild–captive) in different bird orders and countries is crucial to understand the dynamics of the viral infection and minimize its impact in captive and wild populations. Full article
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Review

Jump to: Research

Review
Contributions of Distribution Modelling to the Ecological Study of Psittaciformes
Diversity 2021, 13(12), 611; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13120611 (registering DOI) - 24 Nov 2021
Viewed by 150
Abstract
We provide an overview of the use of species distribution modeling to address research questions related to parrot ecology and conservation at a global scale. We conducted a literature search and applied filters to select the 82 most relevant studies to discuss. The [...] Read more.
We provide an overview of the use of species distribution modeling to address research questions related to parrot ecology and conservation at a global scale. We conducted a literature search and applied filters to select the 82 most relevant studies to discuss. The study of parrot species distribution has increased steadily in the past 30 years, with methods and computing development maturing and facilitating their application for a wide range of research and applied questions. Conservation topics was the most popular topic (37%), followed by ecology (34%) and invasion ecology (20%). The role of abiotic factors explaining parrot distribution is the most frequent ecological application. The high prevalence of studies supporting on-ground conservation problems is a remarkable example of reduction in the research–action gap. Prediction of invasion risk and assessment of invasion effect were more prevalent than examples evaluating the environmental or economic impact of these invasions. The integration of species distribution models with other tools in the decision-making process and other data (e.g., landscape metrics, genetic, behavior) could even further expand the range of applications and provide a more nuanced understanding of how parrot species are responding to their even more changing landscape and threats. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Review
Advancing Genetic Methods in the Study of Parrot Biology and Conservation
Diversity 2021, 13(11), 521; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13110521 - 23 Oct 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 552
Abstract
Parrots (Psittaciformes) are a well-studied, diverse group of birds distributed mainly in tropical and subtropical regions. Today, one-third of their species face extinction, mainly due to anthropogenic threats. Emerging tools in genetics have made major contributions to understanding basic and applied aspects of [...] Read more.
Parrots (Psittaciformes) are a well-studied, diverse group of birds distributed mainly in tropical and subtropical regions. Today, one-third of their species face extinction, mainly due to anthropogenic threats. Emerging tools in genetics have made major contributions to understanding basic and applied aspects of parrot biology in the wild and in captivity. In this review, we show how genetic methods have transformed the study of parrots by summarising important milestones in the advances of genetics and their implementations in research on parrots. We describe how genetics helped to further knowledge in specific research fields with a wide array of examples from the literature that address the conservation significance of (1) deeper phylogeny and historical biogeography; (2) species- and genus-level systematics and taxonomy; (3) conservation genetics and genomics; (4) behavioural ecology; (5) molecular ecology and landscape genetics; and (6) museomics and historical DNA. Finally, we highlight knowledge gaps to inform future genomic research on parrots. Our review shows that the application of genetic techniques to the study of parrot biology has far-reaching implications for addressing diverse research aims in a highly threatened and charismatic clade of birds. Full article
Review
The Number and Distribution of Introduced and Naturalized Parrots
Diversity 2021, 13(9), 412; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13090412 - 29 Aug 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1023
Abstract
Parrots have been transported and traded by humans for at least the last 2000 years and this trade continues unabated today. This transport of species has involved the majority of recognized parrot species (300+ of 382 species). Inevitably, some alien species either escape [...] Read more.
Parrots have been transported and traded by humans for at least the last 2000 years and this trade continues unabated today. This transport of species has involved the majority of recognized parrot species (300+ of 382 species). Inevitably, some alien species either escape captivity or are released and may establish breeding populations in the novel area. With respect to parrots, established but alien populations are becoming common in many parts of the world. In this review, we attempt to estimate the total number of parrot species introduced into the wild in non-native areas and assess how many of these have self-sustaining breeding populations. Based the public databases GAVIA, eBird, and iNaturalist, 166 species of Psittaciformes have been introduced (seen in the wild) into 120 countries or territories outside of the native range. Of these, 60 species are naturalized, and an additional 11 species are breeding in at least one country outside of their native range (86 countries or territories total). The Rose-ringed Parakeet (Psittacula krameri) and Monk Parakeet (Myiopsitta monachus) are the most widely distributed and successful of the introduced parrots, being naturalized in 47 and 26 countries or territories, respectively. Far and away, the United States and its territories support the greatest number of naturalized parrots, with 28 different species found in either the continental US, or Hawaii or Puerto Rico. Naturalized species as well as urbanized native species of parrots are likely to continue increasing in numbers and geographical range, and detailed studies are needed to both confirm species richness in each area as well mitigate potential ecological impacts and conflicts with humans. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Review
A Literature Synthesis of Actions to Tackle Illegal Parrot Trade
Diversity 2021, 13(5), 191; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13050191 - 29 Apr 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1344
Abstract
The order Psittaciformes is one of the most prevalent groups in the illegal wildlife trade. Efforts to understand this threat have focused on describing the elements of the trade itself: actors, extraction rates, and routes. However, the development of policy-oriented interventions also requires [...] Read more.
The order Psittaciformes is one of the most prevalent groups in the illegal wildlife trade. Efforts to understand this threat have focused on describing the elements of the trade itself: actors, extraction rates, and routes. However, the development of policy-oriented interventions also requires an understanding of how research aims and actions are distributed across the trade chain, regions, and species. We used an action-based approach to review documents published on illegal Psittaciformes trade at a global scale to analyze patterns in research aims and actions. Research increased exponentially in recent decades, recording 165 species from 46 genera, with an over representation of American and Australasian genera. Most of the research provided basic knowledge for the intermediary side of the trade chain. Aims such as the identification of network actors, zoonosis control, and aiding physical detection had numerous but scarcely cited documents (low growth rate), while behavior change had the highest growth rate. The Americas had the highest diversity of research aims, contributing with basic knowledge, implementation, and monitoring across the whole trade chain. Better understanding of the supply side dynamics in local markets, actor typology, and actor interactions are needed. Protecting areas, livelihood incentives, and legal substitutes are actions under-explored in parrots, while behavior change is emerging. Full article
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Back to TopTop