Stopping declines of migratory birds requires joined-up conservation across many countries. Work by BirdLife Americas programme is looking to develop cross-border coordination and use Important Birds Areas to achieve this for Neotropical migrants.
Many of the 340-plus species of Neotropical migrants - birds that breed in North America and winter in Central and South America and the Caribbean - are in rapid decline. To date, efforts and resources have been concentrated on conserving breeding habitats in the north, where pressures are certainly acute. However, it has long been suspected that migrants are failing to return to breed, because of the destruction of habitat in their wintering areas.
The BirdLife Americas programme are using the Important Bird Area (IBA) approach to identify and seek protection of key stop-over and wintering sites for Neotropical migrants.
The IBA programme is a world-wide initiative to identify and protect a network of key sites for the conservation of the world’s birds. They are enabling the BirdLife Americas programme to focus on critical sites for Neotropical migrants as well as resident species of conservation concern.
BirdLife’s publication ‘Important Bird Areas in the Tropical Andes’ identifies 455 sites covering 17% of that region’s land area. Of 2,681 bird species - more than a quarter of the world’s total - 180 migrants from North America were found to depend on these IBAs.
The landmark publication is providing a powerful dataset for determining site conservation priorities for Neotropical migrants in the Tropical Andes. Consequently, many species are now being monitored at their stop-over and wintering grounds and this information is being stored in BirdLife International’s World Bird Database. For more information, please click here.
Partners in Flight (PiF)/Compañeros en Vuelo, set up in 1990 in response to the alarming decline in Neotropical migrants, shares the belief that cooperation and joint ventures are the answer. The central premise is that the resources of public and private organisations in North and South America must be combined, coordinated, and increased in order to achieve success in conserving bird populations in this hemisphere.
BirdLife believe the key to successful conservation of migratory birds is to join efforts north-south in a lasting partnership for rangewide bird conservation across the Americas region.
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