Cherry-throated tanager (Nemosia rourei)

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Cherry-throated tanager perched in tree
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Cherry-throated tanager fact file

Cherry-throated tanager description

KingdomAnimalia
PhylumChordata
ClassAves
OrderPasseriformes
FamilyThraupidae
GenusNemosia (1)

Previously feared extinct, the elusive cherry-throated tanager was dramatically rediscovered in 1998 (3). A boldly coloured, attractive bird, white underparts and a black forehead, facial mask and bill contrast starkly with the conspicuous cherry-red throat (2) (3). A silver-white crown fades into grey on the upperparts, becoming black on the wings and tail. The legs are pink and the irises are orange (2). The sexes are similar, but juveniles are thought to have a brownish or yellow-brown tinge to the normally vibrantly coloured throat (4).

Size
Head-body length: c. 14 cm (2)
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Cherry-throated tanager biology

On the few occasions that the cherry-throated tanager has been observed in the wild it was seen to forage amongst the crown of tall trees, preferring moss and lichen covered branches, for a variety of arthropods (2). It is typically found in small groups of up to ten, but when not breeding, the cherry-throated tanager will also forage in mixed-species flocks, a common trait amongst tanager species. The cherry-throated tanager starts to nest in late November, the timing of which coincides with a peak in food abundance and the change between dry and wet seasons (2) (5). Tanagers are typically monogamous and a cup-shaped nest is built in a tree. The female will subsequently incubate the clutch of two or three eggs, although the male may help to feed the young (5)

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Cherry-throated tanager range

Historically, the cherry-throated tanager was known from the Itarana municipality in Espírito Santo State and from Muriaé in Minas Gerais State, southeast Brazil (2). However, after a lapse of 47 years since the last sighting, this rare species was rediscovered in the mountains of Conceicao de Castelo municipality in Espírito Santo State in 1998, and later in Vargem Alta municipality in 2003 (3) (4).

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Cherry-throated tanager habitat

The cherry-throated tanager inhabits humid, montane rainforest between 850 and 1,250 metres above sea level (2).

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Cherry-throated tanager status

Classified as Critically Endangered (CR) on the IUCN Red List (1)

IUCN Red List species status – Critically Endangered

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Cherry-throated tanager threats

Human settlers began clearing Brazil’s Atlantic forests in the 16thcentury when European explorers established along the coastline. Forests were initially cut down for timber and later to make room for the rapidly expanding cattle ranches and sugar plantations. The rate of deforestation increased dramatically in the 19thand 20thcenturies due to rapid population and economic growth, and an increased demand for charcoal and firewood. The legacy of such a destructive history is that, tragically, today less than 10 percent of the Atlantic forest remains. Consequently, many of the species within this region are seriously threatened with extinction (6) (7). One such species, the cherry-throated tanager, now has a critically small population, probably no more than 250 individuals, and a very patchy distribution (2). The future of this rare species is threatened by further loss to what little habitat remains, through urban and agricultural encroachment and timber extraction (4) (8).

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Cherry-throated tanager conservation

The survival of the Critically Endangered cherry-throated tanager is perilously bound to the future management of two privately owned forests, in which the last remaining populations are found (2) (3) (4). Thankfully, however, since 2004, SAVE Brasil has been working with the government and local organisations and communities to ensure the conservation of the forests on which the cherry-throated tanager depends to survive. As a result of these efforts, in June 2010 the government of the state of Espírito Santo created ten Ecological Corridors, including the Cherry-throated Tanager Corridor, which are recognised as crucial areas for the state’s biodiversity. These areas are to be prioritised for future conservation work with plans to reconnect remnant forest patches through afforestation and restoration work, and the promotion of sustainable activities and soil management (9).

View information on this species at the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre.
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Find out more

For additional information on the cherry-throated tanager, see:

  • BirdLife International:
    http://www.birdlife.org/datazone/species/index.html?action=SpcHTMDetails.asp&sid=9259&m=0
  • Bauer, C., Pacheco, J.F., Venturini, A.C. and Whitney, B.M. (2000) Rediscovery of the cherry-throated tanager Nemosia rourei in southern Espírito Santo, Brazil. Birdlife International, 10: 97-108.
  • Venturini, A.C., de Paz, P.R. and Kirwan, G.M (2005) A new locality and records of cherry-throated tanager Nemosia rourei in Espírito Santo, south-east Brazil, with fresh natural history data for the species. Cotinga, 24: 60-70.

For information on the conservation of the Atlantic forest, see:

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Authentication

Authenticated (21/07/10) by SAVE Brasil.
http://www.savebrasil.org.br/

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Glossary

Afforestation
The establishment of forest by natural succession or by the planting of trees on land where they did not grow formerly.
Arthropods
A very diverse phylum (a major grouping of animals) that includes crustaceans, insects and arachnids. All arthropods have paired jointed limbs and a hard external skeleton (exoskeleton).
Incubate
To keep eggs warm so that development is possible.
Monogamous
Having only one mate during a breeding season, or throughout the breeding life of a pair.
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References

  1. IUCN Red List (May, 2010)
    http://www.iucnredlist.org/
  2. BirdLife International (May, 2010)
    http://www.birdlife.org/datazone/ebas/index.html?action=SpcHTMDetails.asp&sid=9259&m=0%23FurtherInfo
  3. Bauer, C., Pacheco, J.F., Venturini, A.C. and Whitney, B.M. (2000) Rediscovery of the cherry-throated tanager Nemosia rourei in southern Espírito Santo, Brazil. Birdlife International, 10: 97-108.
  4. Venturini, A.C., de Paz, P.R. and Kirwan, G.M (2005) A new locality and records of cherry-throated tanager Nemosia rourei in Espírito Santo, south-east Brazil, with fresh natural history data for the species. Cotinga, 24: 60-70.
  5. Perrins, C. (2009) The Encyclopedia of Birds. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
  6. Conservation International (May, 2010)
    http://www.conservation.org/explore/priority_areas/hotspots/south_america/Atlantic-Forest/Pages/impacts.aspx
  7. WWF (May, 2010)
    http://wwf.panda.org/about_our_earth/ecoregions/atlantic_forests.cfm
  8. BirdLife International EBA Factsheet (May, 2010)
    http://www.birdlife.org/datazone/search/ebas_search.html?action=EbaHTMDetails.asp&sid=71&m=0
  9. SAVE Brasil. (2010) Pers. comm.
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Image credit

Cherry-throated tanager perched in tree  
Cherry-throated tanager perched in tree

© Andre C. De Luca

Andre C. De Luca
Assistente de Projetos
BirdLife International / SAVE Brasil
Rua Fernão Dias, 219 Cj. 02
Pinheiros
São Paulo-SP
05427-001
Brazil
Tel: +55 (1) 13815 2862
andre.deluca@savebrasil.org.br
http://www.savebrasil.org.br/

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