SPECIES

Cherry-throated Tanager Nemosia rourei Scientific name definitions

Benjamin T. Phalan, Gustavo R. Magnago, and Steven Hilty
Version: 2.0 — Published February 9, 2024

Conservation and Management

CRITICALLY ENDANGERED at both the global and national levels (28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33). Restricted-range species: present in Atlantic Forest Lowlands Endemic Bird Area (34). Rare and poorly known, with no records for more than 100 years between the late 19th and late 20th centuries, despite a few targeted surveys as early as the 1920s (35), and some authorities had speculated that the species might be extinct (36) prior to its rediscovery. The global population has been estimated at fewer than 50 mature individuals (32), or at less than 250 individuals (33). Given a known population at the end of 2023 of just 20 individuals, the paucity of suitable habitat, and extensive recent field surveys, it appears unlikely that the global population reaches 50 birds (see Population Status). Inferred to be declining, and has certainly decreased historically as a result of habitat loss, but likely as a consequence of conservation efforts, including intensive nest monitoring and protection, the known population has grown from 10 birds in 2020 to 20 in 2023 (27). Now known to occur at only two sites (Mata de Caetés and the Augusto Ruschi Biological Reserve in Santa Teresa), having disappeared from three others where it had been recorded in the 20th and 21st centuries (for further details, see Distribution and Demography and Populations: Population Status).

Effects of Human Activity

The major threat to this species is forest loss, degradation, and fragmentation. The small areas of suitable forest habitat that remain are isolated within a matrix of largely deforested land. Associated threats include real estate speculation, quarrying for limestone, granite, and marble (including the use of explosives), illegal palm-heart extraction, expansion of coffee and Eucalyptus plantations and other crops, small-scale firewood-cutting, and larger-scale timber-cutting, including for charcoal production. Other potential threats include uncontrolled use of pesticides, climate change, excessive use of playback, and a lack of awareness and support for conservation of the species locally (26).

Management

Protected by the Augusto Ruschi Biological Reserve (IUCN Cat. Ia; 35.6 km2) in Santa Teresa. Parts of the Mata de Caetés site are protected within two private nature reserves: Águia Branca Private Nature Reserve in Vargem Alta, and Reserva Kaetés, established in Castelo in 2021. Mata de Caetés is included in the Pedra Azul–Forno Grande ecological corridor, considered by the state government as a priority area for forest protection and recovery actions. Starting in 2020, the Cherry-throated Tanager Conservation Program, developed by Instituto Marcos Daniel, has been monitoring the population in the Mata de Caetés region, surveying other sites, finding and protecting nests, managing Reserva Kaetés, and undertaking a campaign of environmental education and engagement with local communities (26). These efforts have been successful in preventing the predation of several nests (further details will be published elsewhere). A species action plan was produced in 2021 (26). Cherry-throated Tanager is included in the National Action Plan for Conservation of Birds of the Atlantic Rainforest and is considered Critically Endangered at the national level in Brazil, as well as in the states of Espírito Santo and Minas Gerais (31). Surveys of former and potential sites continue, including with the use of autonomous sound recorders (23).

Recommended Citation

Phalan, B. T., G. R. Magnago, and S. Hilty (2024). Cherry-throated Tanager (Nemosia rourei), version 2.0. In Birds of the World (G. M. Kirwan, B. K. Keeney, and N. D. Sly, Editors). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow.chttan1.02