Archived 2010-2011 topics: Foothill Elaenia (Myiopagis olallai): is there sufficient information to reassess this species?

Foothill Elaenia Myiopagis olallai is currently listed as Near-Threatened, almost meeting criterion B1a+b(ii,iii,v) for listing under a Threatened category on the IUCN Red List.

The species, however, has a very restricted range with an Extent of Occurrence calculated to be 3,400 km2 and apparently known from just four locations (location defines a distinct area in which a single threatening event can rapidly affect all individuals of the species present). It would therefore qualify as Endangered under the same criterion if there is evidence that the species is in decline. The species’s habitat, wet sub-montane forest in the eastern Andes of Ecuador and southern Peru, is reportedly being destroyed rapidly so a population decline seems likely.

Comments on the range of this species, likely population trends and the number of locations from where it has been recorded are needed in order to update this assessment.

(This discussion was first started as part of the 2009 Red List update)

Foothill Elaenia (Myiopagis olallai): hay suficiente informacion para reevaluar esta especie?
Myiopagis olallai se considera como Casi Amenazada en este momento (casi cumple el criterio B1a+b(ii,iii,v) para ser clasificada como amenazada). Sin embargo, la especie tiene un rango muy restringido con una extension de presencia calculada en 3400 km2, aparentemente de solo cuatro localidades (según la definición de la IUCN: “El término ‘localidad’ se define como un área geográfica o ecológica distintiva en la cual un solo acontecimiento amenazante puede afectar rápidamente a todos los individuos del taxón presente. El tamaño de una localidad depende del área cubierta por la amenaza y puede incluir parte de una o muchas subpoblaciones del taxón.”). Asi que la especie calificaria como En Peligro, bajo el mismo criterio, si hay evidencia que la poblacion esta bajando. Se reporta que el habitat de la especie (bosque humedo premontano en los Andes orientales de Ecuador y Peru) se esta perdiendo rapidamente, asi que una dismunicion en la poblacion es probable.

Comentarios bienvenidos sobre la distribucion de la especie, tendencias poblacionales, y numero de localidades de donde se conoce.

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2 Responses to Archived 2010-2011 topics: Foothill Elaenia (Myiopagis olallai): is there sufficient information to reassess this species?

  1. Andy Symes says:

    These comments were received as part of the 2009 and 2010 updates:

    Juan F. Freile (January 2009):
    Aunque no conozco información cuantitativa sobre la especie, pensaría que su situación no es tan extrema como otras especies ecuatorianas que sí están calificadas como En Peligro. Es cierto que su rango es muy limitado y que existen pocas localidades, sin embargo, hay un nivel importante de protección en gran parte del rango de esta especie. De norte a sur, en la estribación oriental de los Andes de Ecuador (cubriendo aunque sea parcialmente el rango altitudinal de la especie) hay: R. Ecológica Cofán-Bermejo, R. E. Cayambe-Coca, R. E. Antisana, P. N. Sumaco-Napo Galeras, R. E. Llanganates, P. N. Sangay. Aunque no se ha confirmado la presencia en muchas de ellas (creo que solo en Cofán-Bermejo, Cayambe-Coca y Sangay), es un grado de protección importante que contrasta, por ejemplo, con la situación de Myrmeciza griseiceps, especie nada protegida que se considera EN.

    –English summary–
    Although I don’t have quantitative information on the species, I don’t think its situation is as bad as other species in Ecuador classified as EN. Certainly, its range is small, with few locations, it is well protected throughout a large part of its range, including six national protected areas. This degree of protection contrasts, for example with the situation of Myrmeciza griseiceps, lacking adequate protection and also EN. [Actually VU globally – moderator]

    Eliot Miller (January 2010):
    The species is considered “rare” by Jonas Nilsson at WildSumaco lodge near the P.N. Sumaco-Napo Galeras. I encountered 3 individuals in ~5 days once I learned the song. I did not know the song while on previous trips into the park itself, but it may occur there as well. It is certainly, at the very least, very local.

    Diego F. Cisneros-Heredia (Febriary 2010):
    The paucity of records of this species seems to be in part due to most people unable to identified if by the song. Like EliotMiller in the previous comment, once you learn the song, you may be able to record it in adequate habitat. Thus, in the future, the number of localities may increase.

    I have recorded it at four additional localities: (1) on the foothills of Reventador volcano at c. 1400 m (province of Sucumbíos); (2) near Loreto at c. 900 m (prov. of Napo); (3) between Cotundo and Archidona at c. 800 m (prov. of Napo); (4) near Puyo at c. 1000 m (prov. of Pastaza).

    Nevertheless, the eastern foothills of Ecuador are among the most deforested areas in the country. Intensive deforestation (conversion from forested areas to open areas) has resulted in up to 50% reduction of forest coverage (analysis using a 2001-deforestation map). This percentage increases if you consider that since 2001 deforestation has increased and if you take into consideration non-intensive habitat destruction and fragmentation.

    Most foothill areas in Ecuador are outside of national protected areas (most protected areas in the region mainly concentrate on montane habitats, and just small portions of foothill areas are included), and just a few private reserves help to preserve small to medium-size areas.

    Although I would expect an increase of the known localities of Foothill Elaenia (as ornithologists and birdwatchers get more familiar with its song), and it may even get an Extent of Occurrence over 5,000 km2; available habitat (foothill forest between known altitudinal range) is less than 11,000 km2, which are effectively threatened by habitat loss and fragmentation. In the near future, these areas will suffer from a higher destruction rate due to development projects already approved by the Ecuadorian government.

    Although Foothill Elaenia may not qualify to Endangered, it certainly qualifies for Vulnerable.

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