Avifaunal surveys in La Visite National Park—last vestiges of montane broadleaf forest in eastern Haiti

Christopher C. Rimmer, James E. Goetz, Esteban Garrido Gomez, Jorge L. Brocca, Jean Vilmond Hilaire

Abstract


We surveyed the montane forest bird community at two sites in La Visite National Park, Haiti, during 26 January to 1 February 2005. We recorded 50 species among 182 mist net captures, 79 point count detections, and 476 incidental observations. These included 12 North American migrants and 38 permanent resident species, including 14 Hispaniolan endemics. The two sites showed similar overall diversity and abundance of birds. We confirmed the continued presence of globally endangered Black-capped Petrel (Pterodroma hasitata), locating at least four vocalizing birds during nocturnal surveys of cliffs along the Pic La Visite escarpment. We also confirmed Bicknell’s Thrush (Catharus bicknelli) at both sites, capturing seven individuals, and we mist-netted the first Swainson’s Warbler (Limnothlypis swainsonii) recorded for La Visite. We observed extensive human impacts on habitat throughout La Visite National Park. In 2009, we measured the remaining extent of the three forested fragments surveyed in 2005 and showed 19–43% losses of broadleaf forest during the 4-yr period. We believe that broadleaf forest in the park is threatened with complete disappearance, especially in light of increased human pressures following the January 2010 earthquake in Port-au-Prince, and we recommend immediate conservation measures to stop further deforestation.

 

Se muestreó la comunidad de aves del bosque montano en dos sitios en el Parque Nacional La Visite Haití, entre el 26 de enero y el 1 de febrero del 2005. Fueron registradas 50 especies a partir de 182 capturas en redes de niebla, 79 detecciones en conteos de punto y 476 observaciones incidentales. Estas incluyeron 12 migratorias norteamericanas y 38 especies residentes permanentes, que incluyen 14 endémicos de La Española. Los dos sitios mostraron similares diversidades y abundancias de aves. Se confirmó la presencia del globalmente amenazado Diablotín (Pterodroma hasitata), localizándose al menos cuatro vocalizaciones durante los muestreos nocturnos en los farallones en las escarpadas de La Visite. También fue confirmada la presencia del Zorzal de Bicknell (Catharus bicknelli) en ambos sitios, capturándose siete individuos, así como se registró la primera captura de la Cigüíta de Swainson (Limnothlypis swainsonii) para La Visite. Se observó un extenso impacto humano en los hábitats a lo largo de todo el Parque Nacional La Visite. En el 2009, se midió la extensión remanente de los tres fragmentos muestreados en el 2005, y se observó la pérdida de entre un 19–43% del bosque latifoliado en solo un periodo de cuatro años. Se piensa que estos bosques están amenazados de una total desaparición, especialmente a partir del incremento de la presión humana que siguió el terremoto de enero del 2010 en Port-au-Prince, y se recomiendan medidas de conservación inmediatas para detener la deforestación.

 

Nous avons étudié la communauté d’oiseaux des forets de montagne dans deux sites du Parc National La Visite (Haïti) entre le 26 Janvier et le 1er Février 2005. Nous avons enregistré 50 espèces dont 182 capturées dans des filets, 79 détectées lors des Points de Comptage, et 476 observées fortuitement. Ces enregistrements incluent 12 migrants Nord-Américains et 38 résidents permanents, dont 14 sont endémiques à l’Ile d’Hispaniola. Les deux sites sont globalement similaires en termes de diversité et abondance des oiseaux. Nous avons aussi confirmé la présence continue du Pétrel Diablotin (Pterodroma hasitata), une espèce d’oiseau globalement menacée d’extinction, en localisant au moins quatre de leurs vocalises au cours des contrôles nocturnes des falaises le long de l’escarpement du Pic La Visite. Nous avons également confirmé la présence de la Grive de Bicknell (Catharus bicknelli) dans les deux sites, en capturant sept individus et aussi capturée dans nos filets, la première Paruline de Swainson (Limnothlypis swainsonii) jamais enregistrée pour La Visite. Nous avons observé de vastes répercussions humaines sur les habitats des oiseaux à travers le Parc National La Visite. En 2009, nous avons mesuré la superficie restante pour les trois fragments de foret préalablement étudiés en 2005, de telles mesures ont révélé une perte entre 19 et 43% de forêts de feuillues sur une durée de 4 ans. Nous croyons que la forêt de feuillues dans le parc est menacée de disparition totale, plus particulièrement à cause de la pression démographique croissante suite au tremblement de terre du 12 Janvier 2010 à Port-au-Prince, et nous recommandons des mesures immédiates de conservation afin d’arrêter la déforestation.


Keywords


Bird conservation; Endemic birds; Haiti; Hispaniola; La Visite National Park

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