BirdLife species factsheet for Lilacine Amazon
Lilacine Amazon is endemic to Ecuador, where it occurs along the Pacific coast from El Oro in the south to Manabí in the north. It inhabits mainly mangrove and coastal dry forest. The species roosts communally every night, preferably on mangrove islands (Berg and Angel 2006).
Until recently, there was little information regarding the population size and trends. In a detailed field survey, several roosts could be identified (Biddle et al. 2020 and references therein): Roost 1 is located on a mangrove island near Bahia de Caraquez and contains roughly 60-116 individuals, equating to 40-80 mature individuals. Roost 2 in Santa Elena contains 124-144 individuals, equating to 80-100 mature individuals. Roost 3 in El Salado Mangrove Reserve contains 32-57 individuals, equating to 20-40 mature individuals. Finally, roost 4 in Manglares Churute Ecological Reserve contains 628-729 individuals, equating to 400-490 mature individuals. Individuals from roosts 2-4 are thought to form one subpopulation, which is disconnected from the subpopulation at roost 1 (Biddle et al. 2020). Furthermore, a third subpopulation has been identified in El Oro province (Biddle et al. 2020); there is no information on the size of this subpopulation, but it is potentially small. Overall, this translates to an overall population size of at least 540-710 mature individuals. It cannot be ruled out that there are further roosts which have not been identified yet; therefore preliminarily the population size is here placed in the band 550-1,000 mature individuals.
Lilacine Amazon is undergoing rapid population declines. The main threat is illegal hunting of both juveniles and adults for pets; it is thought that a large proportion of the communities within the range keep Lilacine Amazons as pets (Biddle et al. 2020). Further threats are the clearance of mangroves and coastal forests for shrimp farming, cutting of firewood and agricultural expansion.
Lilacine Amazon is currently listed as Endangered under Criterion C2a(i) (BirdLife International 2020). However, new information regarding the population size and trend suggests that the species may warrant a change in Red List status. Therefore, the species will be re-assessed against all criteria:
Criterion A – The species is undergoing a decline due to high hunting pressure and the loss of suitable habitat within its range. Population declines of 60% between 2000 and 2019 were observed for the roost in El Salado Mangrove Reserve (Biddle et al. 2020). Assuming that declines are exponential, this equates to a rate of 89% decline over three generations (46.2 years; see Bird et al. 2020*). Moreover, observations of the roost in Santa Elena province suggest a decline of 59% between 2014 and 2019 (G. Blanco, F. Hiraldo and J. L. Tella per Biddle et al. 2020), which equates to a decline of c. 99% over three generations. There is no information on the rate of population change for the roosts near Bahia de Caraquez, in Manglares Churute Ecological Reserve and in El Oro province. However, we have no reason to expect significantly different population trends in these roosts; poaching pressure seems to be similarly high throughout the range, leading to rapid declines even in the population occurring in the protected El Salado Mangrove Reserve. Assuming that all known roosts are experiencing declines of similar rates (89-99% over three generations), overall the global population would be declining at c. 96-98% over three generations. Even assuming that the roosts in Bahia de Caraquez, Manglares Churute and El Oro are stable, overall rates of decline would still exceed 80% over three generations. Therefore precautionarily, Lilacine Amazon warrants listing as Critically Endangered under Criterion A4acd.
Criterion B – The newly calculated Extent of Occurrence (EOO) for this species is 28,100 km2. The maximum Area of Occupancy (AOO), calculated as a 4 km2 grid over the area of mapped range, is 7,446 km2. The EOO therefore approaches the threshold for listing as threatened under Criterion B1. However, in order to be listed as Near Threatened under this criterion, a species needs to fulfil at least two further conditions.
The species is thought to form three relatively large subpopulations (Biddle et al. 2020). It is therefore not severely fragmented sensu IUCN (IUCN Standards and Petitions Committee 2019). The most serious threats to the species are hunting for the pet trade and habitat loss, which may be the principal drivers for severe population declines in the past. Continued trapping is likely to cause rapid population declines within one generation (15.4 years) in a limited number of events. The number of locations** of occurrence is therefore likely smaller than 10, and condition a is met. Habitat degradation and loss are proceeding within the range and the population is undergoing a continuing decline (R. Biddle in litt. 2014, Biddle et al. 2020). Lilacine Amazon thus meets condition b(iii,v). There is no evidence of extreme fluctuations in the distribution range or population size, and condition c is not met. Consequently, Lilacine Amazon qualifies as Near Threatened, approaching the threshold for listing as threatened under Criterion B1ab(iii,v).
Criterion C – The global population is preliminarily estimated at 550-1,000 mature individuals. This meets the threshold for Endangered under Criterion C; however in order to be listed under this criterion further conditions must be fulfilled.
Lilacine Amazon is estimated to decline at ≥80% over three generations. Hence, sub-criterion 1 is met at the level of at least Endangered. Moreover, the species is thought to form at least three subpopulations, the largest of which may number c. 500-630 mature individuals, and sub-criterion 2a(i) is met at the level of Vulnerable. Overall, Lilacine Amazon therefore warrants listing as Endangered under Criterion C1.
Criterion D – The population size is estimated at roughly 550-1,000 mature individuals. Lilacine Amazon therefore qualifies for listing as Vulnerable under Criterion D1.
Criterion E – To the best of our knowledge no quantitative analysis of extinction risk has been conducted for this species. Therefore, it cannot be assessed against this criterion.
Therefore, it is suggested that Lilacine Amazon (Amazona lilacina) be listed as Critically Endangered under Criterion A4acd. We welcome any comments on the proposed listing and specifically request up-to-date information on population trends in roosts outside of Santa Elena and El Salado Mangrove Reserve.
Please note that this topic is not designed to be a general discussion about the ecology of the species, rather a discussion of its Red List status. Therefore, please make sure your comments are relevant to the discussion outlined in the topic. By submitting a comment, you confirm that you agree to the Comment Policy.
*Bird generation lengths are estimated using the methodology of Bird et al. (2020), as applied to parameter values updated for use in each IUCN Red List for birds reassessment cycle. Values used for the current assessment are available on request. We encourage people to contact us with additional or improved values for the following parameters; adult survival (true survival accounting for dispersal derived from an apparently stable population); mean age at first breeding; and maximum longevity (i.e. the biological maximum, hence values from captive individuals are acceptable).
** The term ‘location’ refers to a distinct area in which a single threatening event can rapidly affect all individuals of the taxon present, with the size of the location depending on the area covered by the threatening event. Where a taxon is affected by more than one threatening event, location should be defined by considering the most serious plausible threat (IUCN 2001, 2012).
An information booklet on the Red List Categories and Criteria can be downloaded here and the Red List Criteria Summary Sheet can be downloaded here. Detailed guidance on IUCN Red List terms and definitions and the application of the Red List Categories and Criteria can be downloaded here.
Berg, K. S.; Angel, R. R. 2006. Seasonal roosts of Red-lored Amazons in Ecuador provide information about population size and structure. Journal of Field Ornithology 77(2): 95–103.
Biddle, R.; Solis, I.; Cun, P.; Tollington, S.; Jones, M.; Marsden, S.; Devenish, C.; Horstman, E.; Berg, K.; Pilgrim, M. 2020. Conservation status of the recently described Ecuadorian Amazon parrot Amazona lilacina. In press.
Bird, J. P.; Martin, R.; Akçakaya, H. R.; Gilroy, J.; Burfield, I. J.; Garnett, S.; Symes, A.; Taylor, J.; Šekercioğlu, Ç.; Butchart, S. H. M. 2020. Generation lengths of the world’s birds and their implications for extinction risk. Conservation Biology online first view.
BirdLife International. 2020. Species factsheet: Amazona lilacina. http://www.birdlife.org (Accessed 22 April 2020).
IUCN. 2001. IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria: Version 3.1. IUCN Species Survival Commission. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, U.K.
IUCN. 2012. IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria: Version 3.1. Second edition. IUCN Species Survival Commission. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, U.K. www.iucnredlist.org/technical-documents/categories-and-criteria.
IUCN Standards and Petitions Committee. 2019. Guidelines for using the IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria. Version 14. http://www.iucnredlist.org/documents/RedListGuidelines.pdf.