This colourful finch is listed as Vulnerable because it has a rapidly declining population, owing to widespread trapping for the cagebird trade, compounded by habitat loss and degradation through agricultural intensification.
Sibley, C. G.; Monroe, B. L. 1990. Distribution and taxonomy of birds of the world. Yale University Press, New Haven, USA.
Estrilda formosa Collar and Andrew (1988)
Distribution and populationAmandava formosa
10 cm. Distinctive green-and-yellow avadavat with black-barred flanks and reddish bill. Females are duller with indistinctly barred flanks. Similar spp. Female or juvenile Red Avadavat A. amandava lacks green coloration and dark flank bars and has pale tips to wing-coverts and tertials. Beware individuals dyed green by trappers. Voice Song is high-pitched warble, ending with prolonged trill. Calls include weak seee and swee notes.
is endemic to central India
, where it is known from southern Rajasthan, central Uttar Pradesh, southern Bihar and West Bengal (historically), south to southern Maharashtra and northern Andhra Pradesh (BirdLife International 2001). Records from Kerala, as well as isolated records from Delhi and Lahore, Pakistan, should be treated with caution, and may relate to escaped cage-birds (J. Praveen in litt.
2007). Formerly locally common, perhaps even abundant, its distribution has apparently always been patchy. However, it is now scarce, very local and erratic, although it remains common around Mt Abu, Rajastan (Mehra and Sharma 2004, Mehra et al.
2005, Tiwari and Tiwari 2005, Mehra 2011). Average counts at Mt Abu are 620 individuals in 2006, 682 individuals in 2007, 757 individuals in 2008, 820 individuals in 2009 and 832 individuals in 2010 (Mehra 2011). The recent occurrence of up to 2,000 birds in markets indicates that sizeable populations still occur locally in other areas, but are presumably rapidly declining, especially as trappers report that it is steadily becoming more difficult to find.Population justification
The population size is preliminarily estimated to fall into the band 10,000-19,999 individuals. This equates to 6,667-13,333 mature individuals, rounded here to 6,000-15,000 mature individuals.Trend justification
A rapid and on-going population decline is inferred to be occurring, as trappers have reported that it is increasingly difficult to find. In addition, increasing human encroachment and agricultural intensification are known to be having a negative impact on habitat availability.Ecology
It inhabits grass and low bushes, sugarcane fields, open, shrubby forest and boulder-strewn scrub jungle, often near water, generally in lowlands and foothills. It has also been seen in sparsely vegetated, stony, arid wasteland and a mango orchard. It nests in small colonies between May and January. Threats
It has been traded since the late 19th century, and was recently found to be one of the most popular cage-birds in domestic markets. An annual minimum of 2,000-3,000 birds are smuggled out of India to Europe and America. It is susceptible to stress, and a high mortality has been noted in trapped birds. Trapping for trade has extirpated several populations and is almost certainly the greatest threat to the species. The species is still regularly traded in the months of June and July. According to field surveys by TRAFFIC India in 2011 more than 500 birds were recorded in Kolkata in West Bengal and Patna in Bihar, all thought to be coming from Orissa-Madhya Pradesh border. Similarly, in the year 2010 and 2009 a total of about 600 and 800 Green Avadavat were recorded at these markets. Unfortunately, most of the wild caught birds are smuggled out of India to the Middle East either via Bangladesh or Nepal and finally through Pakistan. On Mt Abu, Rajastan, individuals may also be trapped by local tribal communities for medicinal use (Mehra et al.
2005, Tiwari and Tiwari 2005), however, this is not confirmed. Widespread destruction and alteration of natural scrub and grassland habitats, through conversion for agriculture, is also likely to contribute to declines. Increased application of pesticides and insecticides is a potential threat, whilst increases in fire frequency may affect some populations (Tiwari and Tiwari 2005).Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix II. It is legally protected in India, and trapping and trade have been banned since 1981. The impact of trade was assessed between 1992 and 1994. There are recent records from four protected areas, the Desert National Park, Taal Chappar Wildlife Sanctuary, Mt Abu Wildlife Sanctuary, Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary and Sajjangarh Wildlife Sanctuary in Rajasthan, Kahna National Park in Madhya Pradesh and Melghat Sanctuary in Maharashtra. TRAFFIC India has worked extensively on bird trade in India, including Green Avadavat, and a trade report is in preparation. The species was bred by a special interest group in Australia until at least 2008 (www.qfs.org.au/GreenAvadavat/).Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct widespread interviews with bird-trappers to identify locations of remaining populations, followed by extensive field surveys in suitable habitat to establish more clearly its current distribution and population status. Investigate its ecological requirements and tolerance of habitat degradation. Monitor trade and develop more effective measures to combat it. Develop a community-based conservation and development project to promote sustainable livelihood options. Upgrade the species's legal protective status to Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act (1972) and CITES Appendix I.
BirdLife International. 2001. Threatened birds of Asia: the BirdLife International Red Data Book. BirdLife International, Cambridge, U.K.
Mehra, S. 2011. The avifauna of southern Rajasthan with special emphasis on threatened species and bioacoustic applications in their identifications and monitoring. Ph.D. Thesis. Maharshi Dayanand Saraswati University.
Mehra, S. P.; Sharma, S. 2004. Additional site records of Green Avadavat Amandava formosa (Latham, 1790) from Mount Abu, Rajasthan, India. Newsletter for Ornithologists 1(6): 84-85.
Mehra, S. P.; Sharma, S.; Mathur, R. 2005. Munias of Mt. Abu (Rajasthan, India) with special emphasis on threatened Green Munia Amandava formosa. Indian Birds: 77-81.
Queensland Finch Society. GREEN AVADAVAT (STRAWBERRY) FINCH BREEDERS GROUP. website. Available at: http://www.qfs.org.au/GreenAvadavat/index.htm. (Accessed: 06/08/2013).
Tiwari, J. K.; Tiwari, A. 2005. The distribution, habitat and status of Green Avadavat Amandava formosa (Latham, 1790) in Mount Abu Aravalli Hills, Rajasthan, India. Newsletter for Birdwatchers 45: 90-93.
Further web sources of information
Detailed species accounts from the Threatened birds of Asia: the BirdLife International Red Data Book (BirdLife International 2001).
Explore HBW Alive for further information on this species
View photos and videos and hear sounds of this species from the Internet Bird Collection
Text account compilers
Benstead, P., Gilroy, J., Khwaja, N., Taylor, J., Allinson, T
Praveen, J., Mehra, S., Bhargava, R.
IUCN Red List evaluators
Butchart, S., Symes, A.
BirdLife International (2014) Species factsheet: Amandava formosa. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 30/07/2014.
Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2014) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 30/07/2014.
This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000)
Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004)
Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.
To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife
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