Archived 2021 topic: Yellow-shouldered Amazon (Amazona barbadensis): Revise global status?

This discussion was first published as part of the 2019 Red List update. At the time, a decision regarding the status of this species was pended and the post remained open. Following experts’ comments on the status review, the topic has now been updated to reflect the most recent information. The initial topic on this analysis can be found here.

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6 Responses to Archived 2021 topic: Yellow-shouldered Amazon (Amazona barbadensis): Revise global status?

  1. Chris Sharpe says:

    To answer the questions as best I can, the Falcón-Lara (W Ven) population will be the largest. The last estimate I know of was ‘5000 individuals’ in 2012 (Jessica Ortega per Virginia Sanz), which seems about right, but probably the upper limit. I do not know of subsequent population estimates, and thus cannot determine population trends, but I would think it unlikely that this population (or any mainland or unprotected population) is stable, not least because the species’ range is thought to have contracted by almost 50% over the 20 years to 2004 (Jessica Ortega per Virginia Sanz) and this species is the fourth most traded Psittacid in Venezuela (Sánchez-Mercado et al. 2017 Bear in mind that the Isla de Margarita population is only held stable only by sustained long-term (>30 years) nest surveillance and conservation action. Virginia Sanz knows more about this species than anyone and would be able to provide the best qualified opinion. Flocks of birds are certainly still a regular sight in N Falcón, with pairs seen from roads, and several dozen over the city Coro (I recall flocks totalling 20+ birds when staying there in 2019 with Virginia Sanz, Sandra Giner, Gianco Angelozzi & José Ochoa).

  2. Red List Team (BirdLife International) says:

    Many thanks to everyone who has contributed to this discussion. We greatly appreciate the time and effort invested by so many people in commenting. The window for consultation is now closed. We will analyse and interpret the new information and post a preliminary decision on this species’s Red List status on this page in early July.

    Thank you once again,
    BirdLife Red List Team

  3. Red List Team (BirdLife International) says:

    Preliminary proposal

    Based on available information, our preliminary proposal for the 2021 Red List would be to adopt the proposed classifications outlined in the initial forum discussion.

    While the species is assessed as being in decline due to trapping and habitat loss mainly in the mainland part of the range, there is currently no evidence to justify a listing as threatened. The population is suspected to be small, and as such based on currently available information the species may be listed as Near Threatened.

    There is now a period for further comments until the final deadline in mid-July, after which the recommended categorisations will be put forward to IUCN.

    The final 2021 Red List categories will be published on the BirdLife and IUCN websites in December 2021, following further checking of information relevant to the assessments by both BirdLife and IUCN.

  4. Rowan Martin says:

    A conservation planning workshop for Amazona barbadensis was convened in early 2021 with support of the IUCN SSC Conservation Planning Specialist Group. This workshop brought together expertise from across the species’ range including scientists, communities, conservation practitioners, governments and other stakeholders. The status and threats to mainland populations were discussed in detail and a conservation action plan is currently in preparation. I’d strongly encourage the RL team to engage with the workshop organisers and participants to help in this assessment.

    Based on my knowledge of the situation I concur that the mainland populations are likely in decline due to levels of exploitation for the pet trade and loss of habitat. This species is among the most traded parrots in Venezuela, and, despite being on Appendix I of CITES, an international market exists (as evidenced by seizures). Although two island populations have shown population increases (Isla Margarita and Bonaire), these are due to considerable targeted conservation efforts and these gains would quickly be reversed should these efforts not be maintained – the situation remains precarious. Signifiant declines among populations that have not received intensive direct conservation attention are therefore highly likely and overall population declines are likely to exceed 10% over three generations qualifying the species for categorisation as VU under criterion C1. The rate of decline might also meet the criterion for VU under criterion A3d.

    It is unlikely that any “population” contains more than 1000 mature individuals. Research, including the monitoring of active nests on Bonaire and population modelling suggests the number of mature individuals within this population, which may be the largest extant population, is likely significantly below 1000 individuals. Taking a precautionary and realistic attitude, the species would therefore meet the threshold for categorisation as VU under criteria C21i.

    Also, to update the distribution map. The species is extinct from Aruba and the Paraguaná peninsula and not resident in Curaçao (it is unclear if it was ever extant in Curaçao).

  5. Tamora James says:

    Following up on Rowan Martin’s comments above, the population modelling that we have carried out using breeding data from Bonaire combined with imputed survival rates challenges some of the inferred values in Annex 1. In particular,

    – Generation length could be higher than assumed in Annex 1 (8.2-9.1 years)
    – Mature individuals could make up a lower proportion of a population than assumed in Annex 1 (~52%)

    The proposed re-classification of Yellow-shouldered Amazon indicates that the species approaches but does not meet the criterion for vulnerability under Criterion C.

    However, our findings suggest that the number of mature individuals would be lower than suggested in the proposal. For example, for the Margarita subpopulation we would estimate around 830 mature individuals and similarly Bonaire’s subpopulation would be significantly less than 1000 mature individuals.

    Moreover, the longer generation length that we propose would make it even more likely that overall population declines would exceed 10% over three generations.

    Given the likely declines in the mainland population and the small numbers of mature individuals in the island subpopulations, a precautionary approach suggests that the species meets the threshold for categorisation as VU under criteria C1 and C2a(i).

  6. Red List Team (BirdLife International) says:

    Recommended categorisation to be put forward to IUCN

    Following further review, the recommended categorisation for this species has been changed. There is agreement that the subpopulations on the islands are stable or increasing slowly, while the populations on the mainland are in decline, mainly due to trapping pressure. There is no quantification of the decline, however as the detection probability has been found to be stable in 70% of the mainland range, increasing in 12% and declining in 18% (E. Blanco in litt. 2020), declines on the mainland are unlikely to be rapid. Based on information submitted by Rowan Martin, the species’s generation length has been updated to 8.5 years. In the absence of a trend quantification across the entire range and under a precautionary approach, the decline is placed in the band 1-19% over three generations. Moreover, given that the stable or increasing trends in the island subpopulations are due to intensive conservation action, the species is assessed as conservation-dependent, which qualifies is for listing as Near Threatened under Criterion A3.

    While the sizes of the subpopulations on the islands are known, there is no information on the sizes of the mainland subpopulations; in any case subpopulations are likely moderately small to small. However, in the absence of data from which to produce estimates of the global population and subpopulations as well as of the population trend, the species cannot qualify as threatened under Criterion C. Moreover, please note that mature individuals sensu IUCN must include all individuals that are theoretically capable of breeding, not only those that are breeding in a given year. Nevertheless, with a suspected small overall population and suspected small subpopulations, as well as an inferred decline which is suspected to exceed 10% over three generations, the species is assessed as approaching the threshold for a threatened listing under Criterion C1+2a(i).

    Yellow-shouldered Amazon is now recommended to be listed as Near Threatened, approaching the threshold for listing as threatened under Criteria A3cd; C1+2a(i).

    Many thanks for everyone who contributed to the 2021 GTB Forum process. The final 2021 Red List categories will be published on the BirdLife and IUCN websites in December 2021, following further checking of information relevant to the assessments by both BirdLife and IUCN.

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