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Endangered Species Research

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ESR 7:77-84 (2009)  -  DOI:

Status and conservation of the critically endangered Trinidad piping-guan Aburria pipile

Floyd E. Hayes1,4,*, Bryan Sanasie2,5, Ishmaelangelo Samad3

1Department of Life Sciences, University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago
2Department of Biology, University of the Southern Caribbean, Maracas Valley, Trinidad and Tobago
3El Tucuche Hiking Lodge and Nature Retreat, Loango Village, Maracas, Trinidad and Tobago
4Present address: Department of Biology, Pacific Union College, 1 Angwin Avenue, Angwin, California 94508, USA
5Present address: 4867 Greenfield Drive Apt. 1, Berrien Springs, Michigan 49103, USA

ABSTRACT: The Trinidad piping-guan Aburria pipile is endemic to the island of Trinidad, where it is critically endangered. We reviewed previously published historical records of the piping-guan and compiled reports from local residents and visiting birders. The piping-guan formerly occurred throughout much of Trinidad at all elevations, except perhaps along the west coast. Currently it is most abundant in the eastern half of the Northern Range, where considerable forest habitat remains, yet it remains rare and local. A few piping-guans may persist in forested areas of southern Trinidad, where the species was last reported in 2000. It may be extirpated in central Trinidad, where it was last reported in 1983. Hunting is clearly the major threat but appears to have declined in the past decade, at least in the Northern Range, due to recent public education campaigns. Recent sightings in areas where the piping-guan had previously not been reported for a century suggest a growing population in the Northern Range. Although deforestation has also contributed to its decline, the piping-guan tolerates limited human disturbances in small-scale agricultural plantations of rural communities as long as canopy trees are left intact in nearby forest and it is not hunted. From 1999 to 2001, we conducted variable-radius point counts in suitable habitat at or near selected localities in the Northern Range where the piping-guan had been reported within the past 2 decades. We detected piping-guans in only 3 of 284 (1.6%) point counts, resulting in an estimated density of 0.22 birds km–2.

KEY WORDS: Aburria pipile  · Conservation · Cracidae · Status · Trinidad

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Cite this article as: Hayes FE, Sanasie B, Samad I (2009) Status and conservation of the critically endangered Trinidad piping-guan Aburria pipile. Endang Species Res 7:77-84.

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