Friday 17 May
Alagoas foliage-gleaner (Philydor novaesi)
Alagoas foliage-gleaner fact file
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Alagoas foliage-gleaner description
Having only been recorded sporadically since its discovery in 1979, the Alagoas foliage-gleaner is one of Brazil's rarest birds (3) (4) (5). The plain plumage of this elusive species is mostly rufous-brown, with paler underparts and olive-chestnut tinges to the upperparts. The crown is black, but a buffy-cinnamon 'eye-brow', or supercilium, arches over a dull chestnut eye-stripe, while a blackish stripe runs back from the beak. The call of this species is a slightly descending series of whistles (3).Top
Alagoas foliage-gleaner biology
Owing to its elusive habit, little is known about the biology of the Alagoas foliage gleaner (3). It has been found singly, in pairs, or in small groups, and often in the company of other understorey birds in mixed species flocks (3) (6). It feeds on a wide range of insects including grasshoppers, ants, beetles and their larvae, which are gleaned from leaves, bark, crevices and debris (3).Top
Alagoas foliage-gleaner rangeTop
Alagoas foliage-gleaner habitat
Found from the understorey to the subcanopy on the edges of clearings in upland forests, from 400 to 550 metres above sea level (3).Top
Alagoas foliage-gleaner status
Classified as Critically Endangered (CR) on the IUCN Red List (1).Top
Alagoas foliage-gleaner threats
The Alagoas foliage gleaner has an extremely small population, and a very restricted range. As a result of logging and the conversion of habitat for agriculture, the area of forest at Murici in Alagoas, the site of the Alagoas foliage-gleaner's discovery, has declined by more than half since the 1970s. Furthermore, the remaining habitat is highly fragmented. In Serra do Urubu in Pernambuco, indiscriminate exploitation of natural resources, especially for making charcoal, has, until recently, been the main threat to the last remaining significant forest remnants (3) (5).Top
Alagoas foliage-gleaner conservation
Despite being protected under Brazilian law, the Alagoas foliage gleaner is facing the very imminent threat of extinction. Fortunately, SAVE Brasil (formerly BirdLife International Brasil Program), is working to conserve habitat at both Murici in Alagoas, and Serra do Urubu in Pernambuco. In 2001, international and national efforts led by SAVE Brasil resulted in the creation of the Murici Ecological Station in Alagoas. Covering over 6,000 hectares of protected habitat, work at Murici is currently overseen by seven conservation organisations that, together with SAVE Brasil, form the Muruci Pact (3) (5).
In 2004, SAVE Brasil also acquired the Pedra D'Anta Farm, a 360 hectare property immediately adjacent to the Frei Caneca private reserve in Serra do Urubu, Pernambuco. Together, these two fragments comprise over 1,000 hectares of contiguous protected forest, thus enhancing the chances of survival for a handful of Brazil's most threatened bird species, including in particular, the Alagoas foliage-gleaner. In collaboration with civil society organizations, community leaders and governmental bodies, SAVE Brasil carries out a range of conservation activities in the area. This includes regular monitoring of the local avifauna, community engagement, the implementation of environmental education projects, and the development of policies for the conservation and protection of the region's forests (5) (7).Top
Find out more
To find out more about conservation of the Alagoas foliage gleaner, visit:
For more information on this and other bird species please see:
IUCN Red List (June, 2009)
- del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A. and Sargatal, J. (2003) Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 8: Broadbills to Tapaculos. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.
BirdLife International (2009)
- Hirschfeld, E. (2008) Rare Birds Yearbook 2009. MagDig Media Limited, UK.
- SAVE Brasil (2009) Pers. comm.
- Ridgely, R.S. and Tudor, G. (1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM) The Birds of South America: The Suboscine Passerines. Volume II. University of Texas Press, Austin, Texas.
SAVE Brasil (2009)
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