Current population status of four endemic Caribbean forest birds in Montserrat

Laura Bambini, James R. Daley, Calvin Fenton, Gerard A.L. Gray, Glenford James, Lloyd Martin, Stephen Mendes, Steffen Oppel

Abstract


Abstract Deforestation is a major cause of biodiversity loss across the world, but in the Caribbean region the fate of many forest species is poorly known despite ongoing forest loss. Bird populations in Montserrat were affected by the loss of more than 50% of the island’s forest cover since 1995 when the Soufrière Hills Volcano started erupting. Today, Montserrat’s bird populations appear to be stable but little is known about the status of many of the species. We report on the current popula­tion trajectories of four endemic Caribbean forest birds found in Montserrat: Bridled Quail-Dove (Geotrygon mystacea), Forest Thrush (Turdus lherminieri), Brown Trembler (Cinclocerthia ruficauda), and Montserrat Oriole (Icterus oberi). We estimated abun­dance from repeated count surveys around 67 sampling points during 2011–2016 using binomial mixture models and conclude that the Forest Thrush is the most common species (1,174 individuals in 2016; 95% credible interval: 624–2,178), with Bridled Quail-Dove (411; 250–853), Montserrat Oriole (323; 221–510), and Brown Trembler (246; 150–541) less common. Low precision in the estimates limits inference about population trends, but the Montserrat Oriole appears to have increased between 2011 and 2016 (trend estimate = 0.161; 0.032–0.298). We recommend that the current monitoring is continued on an annual basis to understand population trajectories of forest birds. Continued protection of the remaining forests is critical to maintain stable populations of the forest bird species in Montserrat.

Keywords forest birds, Montserrat, population trends

 

Resumen Estado poblacional actual de cuatro especies de aves de bosque endémicas del Caribe en Montserrat—La defores­tación es la causa principal de pérdida de la biodiversidad en todo el mundo; pero en la región del Caribe el destino de muchas especies forestales es poco conocido pese a la pérdida continua de bosques. Las poblaciones de aves en Montserrat fueron afectadas por la pérdida de más del 50% de la cobertura boscosa de la isla desde que en 1995 entrara en erupción el volcán Soufrière Hills. Actualmente, las poblaciones de aves de Montserrat parecen estar estables, aunque se conoce poco sobre el estado de muchas de las especies. Ampliamos la información existente sobre los estados poblacionales de cuatro especies de aves de bosque endémicas del Caribe que se encuentran en Montserrat: Geotrygon mystacea, Turdus lherminieri, Cinclocerthia ruficauda y Icterus oberi. La abundancia fue estimada a partir de conteos repetidos en 67 puntos de muestreo durante el periodo 2011–2016 usando modelos binomiales mixtos y concluimos que Turdus lherminieri es la especie más común (1.174 individuos en 2016, intervalos de confianza del 95%: 624–2.178), en cambio, Geotrygon mystacea (411; 250–853), Icterus oberi (323; 221–510) y Cinclocerthia ruficauda (246; 150–541) fueron mucho menos comunes. La baja precisión en las estimaciones limita las infe­rencias sobre las tendencias poblacionales, pero Icterus oberi parece haber aumentado entre el 2011 y el 2016 (estimación de tendencia = 0,161; 0,032–0,298). Recomendamos que el monitoreo actual se continúe anualmente para entender las tendencias poblaciones de las aves de bosque. La protección continua de los bosques remanentes es crucial para mantener estables las poblaciones de estas aves en Montserrat.

Palabras clave aves de bosque, Montserrat, tendencias poblacionales

 

Résumé État actuel de la population de quatre espèces d’oiseaux endémiques des forêts caribéennes de Montserrat—La dé­forestation est une cause majeure de la perte de biodiversité à travers le monde, mais dans la région Caraïbe, le sort de nom­breuses espèces forestières est peu connu malgré la disparition progressive des forêts. Les populations d’oiseaux de Montserrat ont été affectées par la perte de plus de 50% de la couverture forestière de l’île depuis 1995, lorsque le volcan de la Soufrière est entré en éruption. Aujourd’hui, les populations d’oiseaux de Montserrat semblent stables, mais l’état de conservation de nombreuses espèces est peu connu. Nous présentons les tra­jectoires actuelles des populations de quatre oiseaux endé­miques des forêts caribéennes de Montserrat : la Colombe à croissants (Geotrygon mystacea), la Grive à pieds jaunes (Tur­dus lherminieri), le Trembleur brun (Cinclocerthia ruficauda), et l’Oriole de Montserrat (Icterus oberi). Nous avons estimé leur abondance en utilisant un modèle binomial mixte, à partir de comptages répétés de 2011 à 2016 autour de 67 points d’échantillonnage, et nous concluons que la Grive à pieds jaunes est l’es­pèce la plus commune (1.174 individus en 2016, intervalle de confiance à 95% : 624-2.178), suivi de la Colombe à croissants (411 ; 250-853), de l’Oriole de Montserrat (323 ; 221-510) et du Trembleur brun (246 ; 150-541) l’espèce la moins fréquente. La faible précision des valeurs estimées limite la capacité à prédire les tendances des populations, mais l’Oriole de Montserrat semble avoir augmenté entre 2011 et 2016 (estimation de la tendance = 0,161 ; 0,032-0,298). Nous recommandons que le suivi actuel se poursuive sur une base annuelle afin de comprendre l’évolution des populations d’oiseaux forestiers. La protection continue des forêts restantes est essentielle au maintien de la stabilité de l’avifaune forestière de Montserrat.

Mots clés Montserrat, oiseaux forestiers, tendances démographiques


Keywords


Forest birds; Montserrat; Population trends

Full Text:

PDF

References


Allcorn, R.I., G.M. Hilton, C. Fenton, P.W. Atkinson, C.G.R.

Bowden, G.A.L. Gray, M. Hulme, J. Madden, E.K. Mackley, and

S. Oppel. 2012. Demography and breeding ecology of the critically

endangered Montserrat Oriole. Condor 114:227–235.

Alldredge, M.W., T.R. Simons, and K.H. Pollock. 2007a. Factors

affecting aural detections of songbirds. Ecological Applications

:948–955.

Alldredge, M.W., T.R. Simons, and K.H. Pollock. 2007b. A field

evaluation of distance measurement error in auditory avian

point count surveys. Journal of Wildlife Management 71:

–2766.

Arendt, W.J. 1990. Impact of Hurricane Hugo on the Montserrat

Oriole, other forest birds, and their habitat. Unpublished report

to WWF-US, RARE Center, Montserrat Government and

National Trust, and USDA Forest Service.

Arendt, W.J., and A.I. Arendt. 1984. Distribution, population

size, status and reproductive ecology of the Montserrat Oriole

(Icterus oberi). Institute of Tropical Forestry, Forest Service,

U.S. Department of Agriculture, San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Arendt, W.J., D.W. Gibbons, and G. Gray. 1999. Status of the volcanically threatened Montserrat Oriole Icterus oberi and other

forest birds in Montserrat, West Indies. Bird Conservation International

:351–372.

Banks-Leite, C., R. Pardini, D. Boscolo, C.R. Cassano, T. Püttker,

C.S. Barros, and J. Barlow. 2014. Assessing the utility of statistical

adjustments for imperfect detection in tropical conservation

science. Journal of Applied Ecology 51:849–859.

BirdLife International. 2017a. Endemic Bird Areas factsheet:

Lesser Antilles. datazone.birdlife.org/eba/factsheet/26.

BirdLife International. 2017b. IUCN Red List for birds. datazone.

birdlife.org/species/search.

Blockstein, D.E. 1991. Population declines of the endangered

endemic birds on Grenada, West Indies. Bird Conservation International

:83–91.

Brook, B.W., N.S. Sodhi, and C.J.A. Bradshaw. 2008. Synergies

among extinction drivers under global change. Trends in Ecology

and Evolution 23:453–460.

Brooks, T.M., R.A. Mittermeier, C.G. Mittermeier, G.A.B. Da Fonseca,

A.B. Rylands, W.R. Konstant, P. Flick, J. Pilgrim, S. Oldfield,

G. Magin, and C. Hilton-Taylor. 2002. Habitat loss and extinction

in the hotspots of biodiversity. Conservation Biology

:909–923.

Butler, P. 1991. Making a move on Montserrat. RARE Center,

Philadelphia, PA.

Chandler, R.B., and D.I. King. 2011. Habitat quality and habitat

selection of Golden-winged Warblers in Costa Rica: an application

of hierarchical models for open populations. Journal of

Applied Ecology 48:1038–1047.

Dalsgaard, B., G.M. Hilton, G.A.L. Gray, L. Aymer, J. Boatswain,

J. Daley, C. Fenton, J. Martin, L. Martin, P. Murrain, W.J. Arendt,

D.W. Gibbons, and J.M. Olesen. 2007. Impacts of a volcanic

eruption on the forest bird community of Montserrat,

Lesser Antilles. Ibis 149:298–312.

Dawson, J., S. Oppel, R.J. Cuthbert, N. Holmes, J.P. Bird, S.H.M.

Butchart, D.R. Spatz, and B. Tershy. 2015. Prioritizing islands

for the eradication of invasive vertebrates in the United Kingdom

Overseas Territories. Conservation Biology 29:143–153.

Dirzo, R., H.S. Young, M. Galetti, G. Ceballos, N.J.B. Isaac, and

B. Collen. 2014. Defaunation in the Anthropocene. Science

:401–406.

Gelman, A., J.B. Carlin, H.S. Stern, and D.B. Rubin. 2004. Bayesian

Data Analysis. Chapman & Hall/CRC, Boca Raton, FL.

Hilton, G.M. 2008. Birds of the Centre Hills. Pp. 100–129 in A

Biodiversity Assessment of the Centre Hills, Montserrat (R.P.

Young, ed.). Durrell Conservation Monograph No. 1. Durrell

Wildlife Conservation Trust, Jersey, Channel Islands.

Hilton, G., P. Atkinson, G. Gray, W. Arendt, and D. Gibbons. 2003.

Rapid decline of the volcanically threatened Montserrat oriole.

Biological Conservation 111:79–89.

Hilton, G., L. Martin, J. Daley, and R. Allcorn. 2008. Montserrat.

Pp. 230–236 in Important Bird Areas in the Caribbean: Key

Sites for Conservation (D.C. Wege and V. Anadón-Irizarry,

eds.). BirdLife International, Cambridge, UK.

Johnson, A.B., and K. Winker. 2010. Short-term hurricane impacts

on a Neotropical community of marked birds and implications

for early-stage community resilience. PLoS ONE

:e15109.

Kéry, M. 2008. Estimating abundance from bird counts: binomial

mixture models uncover complex covariate relationships. Auk

:336–345.

Kéry, M., R.M. Dorazio, L. Soldaat, A. van Strien, A. Zuiderwijk,

and J.A. Royle. 2009. Trend estimation in populations with imperfect

detection. Journal of Applied Ecology 46:1163–1172.

Kéry, M., J.A. Royle, and H. Schmid. 2005. Modeling avian abundance

from replicated counts using binomial mixture models.

Ecological Applications 15:1450–1461.

Kéry, M., and M. Schaub. 2012. Bayesian Population Analysis Using

WinBUGS. Academic Press, Oxford, UK.

Laurance, W.F., J.L.C. Camargo, R.C.C. Luizão, S.G. Laurance,

S.L. Pimm, E.M. Bruna, P.C. Stouffer, G.B. Williamson, J. Benítez-

Malvido, H.L. Vasconcelos, K.S. Van Houtan, C.E. Zartman,

S.A. Boyle, R.K. Didham, A. Andrade, and T.E. Lovejoy.

The fate of Amazonian forest fragments: a 32-year investigation.

Biological Conservation 144:56–67.

Lepage, D. 2005. Avibase bird checklists of the world: Montserrat.

avibase.bsc-eoc.org/checklist.jsp?region=MS.

Lugo, A.E. 2008. Visible and invisible effects of hurricanes on

forest ecosystems: an international review. Austral Ecology

:368–398.

Marske, K.A. 2004. Effects of Volcanic Ash on the Insect Food of

the Montserrat Oriole Icterus oberi Lawrence 1880. M.S. Thesis.

Montana State University, Bozeman, MT.

Myers, N., R.A. Mittermeier, C.G. Mittermeier, G.A.B. da Fonseca,

and J. Kent. 2000. Biodiversity hotspots for conservation

priorities. Nature 403:853–858.

Oppel, S., A. Cassini, C. Fenton, J. Daley, and G. Gray. 2014a. Population

status and trend of the Critically Endangered Montserrat

Oriole. Bird Conservation International 24:252–261.

Oppel, S., G. Gray, J. Daley, S. Mendes, C. Fenton, G. Galbraith,

S. Daniel, and J. Millett. 2015. Montserrat. British Birds 108:

–96.

Oppel, S., G.M. Hilton, R. Allcorn, C. Fenton, A.J. Matthews, and

D. Gibbons. 2013. The effects of rainfall on different components

of seasonal fecundity in a tropical forest passerine. Ibis

:464–475.

Oppel, S., G.M. Hilton, N. Ratcliffe, C. Fenton, J. Daley, G. Gray,

J.A. Vickery, and D. Gibbons. 2014b. Assessing population viability

while accounting for demographic and environmental

uncertainty. Ecology 95:1809–1818.

Parashuram, D., S. Oppel, C. Fenton, G. James, J. Daley, G. Gray,

N.J. Collar, and P.M. Dolman. 2015. The Forest Thrush Turdus

lherminieri prefers mature mesic forest with dense canopy.

Bird Conservation International 25:503–513.

Pedersen, S.C., T.E. Popowics, G.G. Kwiecinski, and D.E.B. Knudsen.

Sublethal pathology in bats associated with stress

and volcanic activity on Montserrat, West Indies. Journal of

Mammalogy 93:1380–1392.

Plummer, M. 2012. JAGS, version 3.3.0. sourceforge.net/projects/

mcmc-jags/files/JAGS/3.x/Windows.

R Core Team. 2016. R: a language and environment for statistical

computing. R Foundation for Statistical Computing, Vienna,

Austria. www.R-project.org.

Rivera-Milán, F.F., P. Bertuol, F. Simal, and B.L. Rusk. 2015. Distance

sampling survey and abundance estimation of the critically

endangered Grenada Dove (Leptotila wellsi). Condor

:87–93.

Rotenberry, J.T. 1980. Dietary relationships among shrubsteppe

passerine birds: competition or opportunism in a variable environment?

Ecological Monographs 50:93–110.

Royle, J.A., and J.D. Nichols. 2003. Estimating abundance from

repeated presence-absence data or point counts. Ecology

:777–790.

Royle, J.A., J.D. Nichols, and M. Kéry. 2005. Modelling occurrence

and abundance of species when detection is imperfect.

Oikos 110:353–359.

Schmidt, J.H., C.L. McIntyre, and M.C. MacCluskie. 2013. Accounting

for incomplete detection: what are we estimating

and how might it affect long-term passerine monitoring programs?

Biological Conservation 160:130–139.

Scientific Advisory Committee. 2017. Assessment of the hazards

and risks associated with the Soufrière Hills Volcano, Montserrat.

st Report of the Scientific Advisory Committee on

Montserrat Volcanic Activity. Montserrat Volcano Observatory,

Flemmings, Montserrat.

Tanner, E.V.J., V. Kapos, and J.R. Healey. 1991. Hurricane effects

on forest ecosystems in the Caribbean. Biotropica 23:513–521.

Terborgh, J., J. Faaborg, and H.J. Brockmann. 1978. Island colonization

by Lesser Antillean birds. Auk 95:59–72.

Waide, R.B. 1991. The effect of Hurricane Hugo on bird populations

in the Luquillo Experimental Forest, Puerto Rico. Biotropica

:475–480.

Wiley, J.W., and J.M. Wunderle, Jr. 1993. The effects of hurricanes

on birds, with special reference to Caribbean islands.

Bird Conservation International 3:319–349.

Wunderle, J.M., Jr. 1994. Census methods for Caribbean land

birds. Technical report to the United States Department of Agriculture,

Forest Service, New Orleans, LA.

Wunderle, J. 2005. Hurricanes and the fate of Caribbean birds—

what do we know, what do we need to know, who is vulnerable,

how can we prepare, what can we do, and what are

the management options? Journal of Caribbean Ornithology

:94–96.

Yamaura, Y., M. Kéry, and A.J. Royle. 2016. Study of biological

communities subject to imperfect detection: bias and

precision of community N-mixture abundance models in

small-sample situations. Ecological Research 31:289–305.

Young, R.P. (ed.). 2008. A Biodiversity Assessment of the Centre

Hills, Montserrat. Durrell Conservation Monograph No. 1.

Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, Jersey, Channel Islands.

Zuccon, D. 2011. A new name for the Montserrat Forest Thrush.

Bulletin of the British Ornithological Club 131:199–200.


Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Questions, comments, or problems with the website?  Please contact Jason Townsend: townsend.jason.m@gmail.com