IUCN Red List Assessment
Red List Category Year Assessed
Vulnerable Red List Criteria
BirdLife International Reviewer/s
Butchart, S. & Symes, A. Contributor/s
Goerck, J., Kirwan, G., Roda, S., Studer, A., Whittaker, A. & Willis, E. Justification
This species has an extremely small range which is severely fragmented and declining, and a small population which is declining as a result of habitat loss and trapping. It consequently qualifies as Vulnerable. There have been several local extinctions and many sites are highly threatened.
Classified as Vulnerable (VU) on the IUCN Red List (1), and listed on Appendix II of CITES (3).
Population estimate = 3.6-10.0 individuals/km2 x 320 km2 (20% EOO) = 1,152-3,200, but probably best placed in band 2,500-9,999 individuals as species is more common and widespread than previously thought (density range from lower quartile to median of 21 estimates for eight lowland congeners in the BirdLife Population Densities Spreadsheet).
Heavy trapping for trade results from the high prices commanded by the species's exceptional plumage. There has been massive clearance of original Atlantic forest in north-east Brazil with just 2% remaining6
, largely as a result of logging and conversion to sugarcane plantations and pastureland. None
of the remaining forest fragments is larger than 4,000 ha, with most of this still subject to selective logging and poaching6
. For example, forest at Murici reduced from 70 km2
in the 1970s, to a fragmented 30 km2
. The site is severely threatened by fires spreading from adjacent plantations and further logging, with new roads evident in January 19991,4
Encouragingly, the seven-coloured tanager was 'downlisted' from Endangered to Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List in 2004, following important recent discoveries of a number of previously-unknown populations (2) (4). Nevertheless, the bird is still in grave danger of extinction, with the small remaining population in an ongoing decline as a result of habitat loss and trapping to supply the cage-bird trade (2) (4). Just two percent of north-east Brazil's original Atlantic Forest now remains, having been cleared on a massive scale, or replaced by secondary forest without the epiphytes needed for nesting (6), largely as a result of logging and conversion to sugarcane plantations and pastureland (2). Today, just 95 square kilometres of suitable habitat remains, divided over a number of small fragments (6), and most of this is still subject to selective logging and poaching (2) (4). This vibrantly-coloured bird is in high demand for the cage-bird trade, and trapping is heavy due to the high prices commanded by the species' exceptional plumage (2) (6). Professional trappers are able to catch up to 30 seven-coloured tanagers in a single day where the species is at its most common, and law enforcement is noticeably absent, particularly in Alagoas (4). With new roads still being cut through the last remnant forest fragments, access for hunters is getting ever-easier and the chances of long-term survival for this bird look increasingly slim (6).
Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix II and protected under Brazilian law. It has been recorded in Dunas de Natal State Park6
, Charles Darwin Ecological Refuge, Mata do Pau Ferro Ecological Park6
, Serra dos Cavalos UFPE and Tapacurá Ecological Stations, and Saltinho and Pedra Talhada Biological Reserves. Significant areas are being reforested at Pedra Talhada, where protection is enforced by guards and apparently welcomed by local communities3
. The recently decreed Murici Ecological Station is still ineffectively implemented and forest loss continues through pasture encroachment and charcoal production6
. Captive birds have been confiscated and released into reserves, but this can only succeed if the protection of such areas is improved. Forestation schemes being undertaken to create new-forested areas along rivers and on steep slopes may have positive impacts owing to the ability of the species to utilise second-growth habitat6
Conservation Actions Proposed
Survey sites without recent records, especially São Miguel dos Campos, Tapacurá, Saltinho and João Pessoa, and any other remnant habitat fragments.
Pursue conservation initiatives for the most important previously unreported populations, especially Usina Serra Grande, Mata da Macambira, Usina Utinga-Leao and Usina Santo Antonio6
. Ensure the de facto
protection of the Murici biological reserve. Enforce legal measures to prevent trade.
The seven-coloured tanager is listed on CITES Appendix II, and has been protected under Brazilian law since 1965 (2) (4). The species has been recorded in Dunas de Natal State Park, Charles Darwin Ecological Refuge, Mata do Pau Ferro Ecological Park, Serra dos Cavalos UFPE, Tapacurá, and Murici Ecological Stations, and Saltinho and Pedra Talhada Biological Reserves. However, adequate protection of both the bird and its forest habitat within these 'protected areas' is often lacking on the ground, such as at the recently decreed Murici Ecological Station, where forest loss continues due to pasture encroachment and charcoal production. However, significant areas are being reforested at Pedra Talhada, where protection is effectively enforced by guards and apparently welcomed by local communities (2). Natural regeneration and forestation schemes being undertaken elsewhere in the country may benefit this species, whose ability to inhabit second-growth forest is encouraging and provides hope for its future survival (2) (4). Some captive birds are being confiscated and released back into reserves, but this will only succeed if these areas are better protected and legal measures are more strictly enforced to prevent trade (2).