Preventing Extinctions - Araripe Manakin

Araripe manakin (Antilophia bokermanni) Photo. Rick Elis Simpson
Araripe manakin (Antilophia bokermanni) Photo. Rick Elis Simpson


Araripe Manakin was described in 1998 and has now been recorded from three municipalities (Crato, Barbalha and Missao Velha), all on the north-eastern slope of the Chapada do Araripe, south Ceará, Brazil. A recent census, which visited 93% of the known water springs, represents the most comprehensive survey of the species ever, and resulted in an estimate of 779 individuals, suggesting that the species' population is more or less stable.

Lowlands adjacent to the Chapada have been largely cleared for agriculture, cattle raising and the construction of holiday homes. There are several recreational facilities along the slopes, which have contributed to deforestation, and a large water-park was built at the type locality.

Fires largely destroyed an area of forest known to contain seven active nests of the species, and the springs that supply the streams which support the moist forest habitat of the Araripe Manakin have shown an average reduction of three quarters in their outflow over the past hundred years, possibly due to deforestation on the slopes and plateau of the Chapada, posing a long-term threat to the remaining habitat. 

Actions being implemented

  1. AQUASIS are participating in forums to ensure that Araripe Manakin is considered in discussions on natural resource use and planning. These include the Araripe Protected Area Council, the Araripe Desertification Prevention Forum, the Crato Municipality Environmental Council and the Salgado River Watershed Committee.
  2. Creation of a protected area, the Araripe Plateau Conservation Unit, is underway. Delegates from Brasilia have visited the site, and a proposal is being submitted to the House of Representatives. 
  3. The involvement of local stakeholders is being promoted. Business people, university students and Crato residents have been engaged through workshops, exhibitions, excursions and other activities.
  4. AQUASIS constantly updates their extensive GPS database of freshwater springs, streams, habitat types, and known territories of the Araripe Manakin, proving to be a crucial tool for the conservation plan for the species. 
  5. Researchers have conducted the most thorough census yet of the species’s range analysis suggested a population of 779 birds, indicating stable trends since 2005. A new locality of10 breeding pairs was recently discovered in a protected National Forest at the top of the Araripe Plateau. Preliminary estimates suggest there are about 5 similar small areas of habitat occurring on this plateau. With the potential to reproduce in areas without running water, the distribution and population size are likely to be greater than first thought.
  6. An awareness campaign has been initiated for the communities of Guaribas, Riacho do Meio and Gamaleira de São Sebastião, each of which is located in the immediate vicinity of Araripe Manakin’s range. A local leader was identified in each community and group activities were undertaken with these leaders to promote actions that will raise environmental awareness.