9 Mar 2011

Rare species benefit from fund for threatened birds

By Martin Fowlie

The Birdfair/RSPB Research Fund for Endangered Birds has announced its latest round of grants with some of the world’s most threatened birds benefiting. This fund allows researchers working in developing countries to undertake basic research on threatened species to generate the knowledge needed to design conservation action. Since 2001, the fund has funded 104 projects, around a quarter of all those submitted to the scheme and by seeking co-funding with other organisations, it has been able to fund projects to a total value of over £100,000. In 2005, the British Birdwatching Fair joined the scheme, allowing even more projects each year to be funded. The many successes of the scheme so far include:

  • The rediscovery of Chinese Crested Tern Sterna bernsteini in Fujian, China.
  • The discovery of important staging posts of Sociable Lapwings Vanellus gregarius in Syria.
  • The discovery of new sites for the Fringe-backed Fire-eye Pyriglena atra in Brazil.
  • The recovery of the tiny remaining population of the Pale-headed Brush-finch Atlapetes pallidiceps in Ecuador.
  • The rediscovery of the Banggai Crow Corvus unicolor in Indonesia
  • Identification of key wintering sites for the Scaly-sided Merganser Mergus squamatus in China.

The latest projects to be funded are:

  • $1,000 to Doğa Derneği (BirdLife in Turkey) for research in Turkey on the Endangered Egyptian Vulture Neophron percnopterus
  • $2,000 to ARCONA Consulting and BANCA (BirdLife in Myanmar) for research in Myanmar on methods to reduce hunting pressure on the Critically Endangered Spoon-billed Sandpiper Eurynorhynchus pygmeus
  • $2,000 to the BirdLife Indochina Programme for surveys of the Critically Endangered Spoon-billed Sandpiper in the Mekong Delta
  • $1,000 to Nature Iraq (BirdLife Partner) for surveys of the Critically Endangered Sociable Lapwing (with another $1,000 co-funded from elsewhere)
  • $1,986 to University of Adelaide for vital research on the Critically Endangered Black-breasted Puffleg Eriocnemis nigrivestis in Ecuador
  • $2,000 to Christian Devenish (Birdlife Americas secretariat and Manchester Metropolitan University) for research on the Endangered Peruvian Plantcutter Phytotoma raimondii and Rufous Flycatcher Myiarchus semirufus in Peru
  • $2,000 to Fundacion ProAves in Colombia for conservation research on the Critically Endangered Niceforo's Wren Thryothorus nicefori
  • $1,000 to Juan Fernandez Islands Conservancy, Chile, for a population assessment of the Critically Endangered Juan Fernandez Firecrown Sephanoides fernandensis
  • $1,788 to Wildlife and Environmental Society of Malawi (BirdLife Partner) to undertake population surveys of the Endangered Thyolo Alethe Alethe choloensis

For more information about the fund including how to apply click here