Center for Conservation
of Atlantic Rainforest
Birds

Center for Conservation
of Atlantic Rainforest
Birds

Alagoas Curassow chick (EW)

The Problem:

The birds of the Atlantic Forest face an extinction crisis, with many species teetering on the edge.

Our Mission:

To promote the conservation of birds and other species of conservation concern and reduce their risk of extinction, focusing on the Atlantic Forests of Brazil.

Vision:

Effective conservation strategies are implemented to reduce the risk of extinction of every bird species of conservation concern from the Brazilian Atlantic Forest, and conservation professionals and projects receive the support they need.

Current lines of work:

The Center’s primary conservation focus is on Critically Endangered birds: the species where actions now can make the difference between extinction and survival.

The Center works collaboratively with a number of institutions and conservation projects and executes its own field conservation projects. We provide technical expertise, facilitate strategic planning and fund crucial activities.

Some of our species and projects

The Center takes a proactive approach in identifying species and projects in need of support, and supports a number of species in various ways. Here are some of them:

The Alagoas Antwren (CR). Arthur Andrade.

Alagoas Antwren
(Myrmotherula snowi)

There are fewer than 30 individuals of this species left. It was once distributed across several sites in Pernambuco and Alagoas, but is now confined to the upland forests of Murici in Alagoas. The species has declined as a consequence of the extensive deforestation of the Pernambuco Center of Endemism. We are working with SAVE Brasil, ICMBio and federal universities to understand the species’ natural history, improve nest survival, and restore and protect habitats in the surrounding region. Following decisions taken at conservation planning workshops in 2016 and 2019, we are also developing ex situ methods with a model species with support from National Geographic, so that we can be prepared to take individuals into human care if needed.

Cherry-throated Tanager (CR). Ciro Albano.

Cherry-throated Tanager
(Nemosia rourei)

The Cherry-throated Tanager is now known from just two sites in Espirito Santo, Brazil. At each site, just one small group of birds has been sighted in recent years, and the population must be very small indeed, perhaps just 20-30. We are supporting the work of the Cherry-throated Tanager Conservation Program, which is funded by the Transmissora Caminho do Café as a requirement of state (IEMA) and federal (IBAMA) environmental bodies, and implemented by Instituto Marcos Daniel. We helped the program monitor and protect a nest of the species in 2020, from which two chicks fledged successfully, and we will facilitate a conservation planning workshop on the species, together with the IUCN SSC Center for Species Survival Brazil, in 2021.

Cherry-throated Tanager
(Nemosia rourei)

The Cherry-throated Tanager is now known from just two sites in Espirito Santo, Brazil. At each site, just one small group of birds has been sighted in recent years, and the population must be very small indeed, perhaps just 20-30. We are supporting the work of the Cherry-throated Tanager Conservation Program, which is funded by the Transmissora Caminho do Café as a requirement of state (IEMA) and federal (IBAMA) environmental bodies, and implemented by Instituto Marcos Daniel. We helped the program monitor and protect a nest of the species in 2020, from which two chicks fledged successfully, and we will facilitate a conservation planning workshop on the species, together with the IUCN SSC Center for Species Survival Brazil, in 2021.

The Alagoas Antwren (CR). Arthur Andrade.

Cherry-throated Tanager (CR). Ciro Albano.

Blue-eyed Ground-dove (CR). Ciro Albano.

Blue-eyed Ground-dove
(Columbina cyanopis)

The Blue-eyed Ground-dove was rediscovered in 2015, after having gone without any certain record for more than 70 years. SAVE Brasil acted quickly to establish a reserve to protect the species, and a State Park in the wider region. However, the known population is still very small: just 31 birds. The decision was taken at a conservation planning workshop in 2019 to establish an insurance population of the species, to guard against its extinction in the event of a catastrophic fire or other stochastic event. We are working with SAVE Brasil to develop the protocols for doing this with minimal impact on the wild population, and to be ready for the opportunistic rescue of eggs, squabs or adults, if needed.

Purple-winged Ground-dove, male and female. Illustration by Robin Aubrey.

Purple-winged Ground-dove
(Claravis geoffroyi)

The Purple-winged Ground-dove is very important to Instituto Claravis: we owe to it our existence, and our name! It is, or was, a forest dove, whose ecology was tightly linked to the masting of Atlantic Rainforest bamboos. The species was probably nomadic, following masting events over large distances – some of the bamboo species only produce flowers and seeds at intervals of around 30 years. Bird breeders built up a captive population in the 1970s and 1980s, but unfortunately these efforts were dissolved by the 1990s after new legislation was introduced, and we lost perhaps our best chance to save the species from extinction. Although the species is listed “possibly extinct” on the Brazilian National Red List, we have not given up! There have been some reported sightings in recent years, which although lacking concrete evidence such as photos or sound recordings, give some hope that the species might still persist. We have also managed to find an old video from one of the bird breeders, Carlos Keller, and with the help of a bioacoustics expert, Carlos de Araújo, we now have a sound recording of the bird’s call that can help us to search for it. We will continue the search with autonomous sound recorders and camera traps, during Guadua bamboo flowering in the Iguaçu region in 2021.

Purple-winged Ground-dove
(Claravis geoffroyi)

The Purple-winged Ground-dove is very important to Instituto Claravis: we owe to it our existence, and our name! It is, or was, a forest dove, whose ecology was tightly linked to the masting of Atlantic Rainforest bamboos. The species was probably nomadic, following masting events over large distances – some of the bamboo species only produce flowers and seeds at intervals of around 30 years. Bird breeders built up a captive population in the 1970s and 1980s, but unfortunately these efforts were dissolved by the 1990s after new legislation was introduced, and we lost perhaps our best chance to save the species from extinction. Although the species is listed “possibly extinct” on the Brazilian National Red List, we have not given up! There have been some reported sightings in recent years, which although lacking concrete evidence such as photos or sound recordings, give some hope that the species might still persist. We have also managed to find an old video from one of the bird breeders, Carlos Keller, and with the help of a bioacoustics expert, Carlos de Araújo, we now have a sound recording of the bird’s call that can help us to search for it. We will continue the search with autonomous sound recorders and camera traps, during Guadua bamboo flowering in the Iguaçu region in 2021.

Purple-winged Ground-dove, male and female. Illustration by Robin Aubrey.

Red-browed Amazon (VU). Parque das Aves.

Red-browed Amazon
(Amazona rhodocorytha)

The Red-browed Amazon is a threatened parrot found in the Atlantic Rainforests close to the coast. Parque das Aves established the Red-browed Amazon project in 2016, and together with Instituto Claravis continues to work to improve the conservation status of this species. It is threatened by illegal trade and habitat loss. We work with local communities in Águas Formosas, Minas Gerais, to raise the profile of the species and to change the culture that results in illegal trade. We have also contributed to a better understanding of the distribution and ecology of the species.

Read the report from a workshop we organized in 2018: “Ex situ Assessment of the Integrated Conservation of National Action Plan Parrots and Grey-Breasted Parakeet in Brazil”.

Turquoise-fronted Amazon (NT).

Turquoise-fronted Amazon
(Amazona aestiva)

The Turquoise-fronted Amazon, or Blue-fronted Amazon, is the most-trafficked parrot species in Brazil, with many thousands of nestlings taken illegally from the wild each year. The Blue-fronted Amazon project was established by Gláucia Seixas in 1997, with help from Parque das Aves. Gláucia and her team work to monitor the species in the Pantanal and Atlantic Rainforest, and to work with young people and local communities to tackle the problem of illegal trade. We are very grateful for additional support to the project from the Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens.

Turquoise-fronted Amazon
(Amazona aestiva)

The Turquoise-fronted Amazon, or Blue-fronted Amazon, is the most-trafficked parrot species in Brazil, with many thousands of nestlings taken illegally from the wild each year. The Blue-fronted Amazon project was established by Gláucia Seixas in 1997, with help from Parque das Aves. Gláucia and her team work to monitor the species in the Pantanal and Atlantic Rainforest, and to work with young people and local communities to tackle the problem of illegal trade. We are very grateful for additional support to the project from the Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens.

Turquoise-fronted Amazon (NT).

Iguassu Falls. Peter Marting.

Aves do Iguaçu

We work with our neighbours in the Iguaçu National Park to improve knowledge of the avifauna of the park, and to provide the information needed for ecological restoration. As a result of past expeditions and fieldwork, we now have a good understanding of what birds are present in the national park, but there are still large areas that have been virtually unexplored, and there are surely new discoveries to be made. Our current priorities are to encourage and enable greater participation in bird watching by the local community, to carry out focused surveys such as our surveys for Purple-winged Ground-dove, and to collect the information needed to inform decisions about possible future reintroductions of native species.

Our Partners

Species conservation works best when many partners work together across many years. For this reason, Instituto Claravis convenes multi-stakeholder workshops to create strategic plans to save species, and the Center for Conservation of Atlantic Rainforest Birds follows an actively collaborative approach as a matter of policy.

Roberta Manacero, MSc

Coordinator
Wild Fauna Support Center (CAFS)

Roberta has a Bachelor's Degree in Veterinary Medicine, Post-graduate Degree in Wild Animals Medicine and Master's Degree in Medicine and Animal Welfare. She was a Resident at the Animal Behavioral Enrichment Program at São Paulo Zoo for three years, member of the Animal Welfare Department of the São Paulo Association of Zoos and Aquariums for four years and took professional courses on training wild animals using operant conditioning in the United States, England and Mexico. She is a professional member of IAATE - International Association of Avian Trainers and Educators - and Studbook Keeper of the grey-breasted parakeet (Pyrrhura griseipectus). Her work is focused on animal records keeping, husbandry and welfare, as she is currently the Animal Curator of Parque das Aves and Coordinator of the Center for Rescue and Rehabilitation of Birds of the Atlantic Rainforest (CAFS Aves da Mata Atlântica) at Instituto Claravis.

Caio Prates

Assistant
Blue-fronted Amazon Project
Center for Conservation of Atlantic Rainforest Birds

Caio was born and raised in Ivinhema, in Mato Grosso do Sul, where he gained a degree in Biological Sciences at the State University of Mato Grosso do Sul, graduating in December 2017. He got to know the Blue-fronted Amazon Project in mid-2018, when he served as a volunteer on two field expeditions. That experience left him keen to join the Project team to contribute to the conservation of the species and help combat illegal trade in parrot chicks. In August 2019 he was hired as a Research Assistant for the Blue-fronted Amazon Project for Instituto Claravis. His salary is kindly funded by Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens, Florida, USA. Caio assists the Project coordinator, Gláucia Seixas in monitoring nests and delivering environmental education activities in local communities.

Tony Bichinski, MSc

Conservation Assistant
Center for Conservation of Atlantic Rainforest Birds

Tony graduated in Forestry Engineering from the Latin American Union of Technology, and received a Master's degree in Natural Resources from the Federal University of Roraima. Since childhood, he has been interested in the reproductive cycle of birds and he started to collect data on the breeding biology of Brazilian species from the age of 13. Over 20 years of field research, he has visited different habitats in all the biomes of the country, collecting detailed and unique data on more than 400 species, adding up to a total of more than 7000 nests with information collected in the wild. Currently, he is an Environmental and Forestry Consultant for several companies. His work with Instituto Claravis focuses on integrated conservation of threatened birds, with a focus on the Atlantic Rainforest, including the Alagoas Antwren, Black-fronted Piping-guan, and Blue-eyed Ground Dove.

Dr Eugenia Cordero Schmidt

Officer
IUCN SSC Centre for Species Survival Brazil

Eugenia is a Costa Rican biologist, who received her Bachelor's degree at Universidad de Costa Rica and Master's and Doctoral degrees in Ecology at the Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte. She has worked for the past eleven years with bats. Her most recent research has focused on the interactions between nectar-feeding bats and plants in the threatened Caatinga. She has also worked with ecology and conservation projects in Costa Rica and northeastern Brazil and participated in bat conservation strategies in Central America, using environmental education and communication as essential tools. Her work now is focused on planning for species conservation and communication where her creativity and ability to adapt are put into practice every day.

Rosana Subira

Red List Officer
IUCN SSC Centre for Species Survival Brazil

Rosana is a biologist with a Master's Degree in Ecology from the University of Brasília. She has worked for almost 20 years in public administration roles related to wildlife conservation. Her experience includes project management and coordination of multidisciplinary teams in the implementation of work on a national scale, biodiversity risk assessment in terrestrial and marine environments, conservation planning and proposing and implementing measures to address impacts on biodiversity. Through these activities she has developed a network of contacts with people from the most diverse sectors and interests, including researchers, community members and public administrators from various regions of Brazil, and has developed skills in conflict management and constructing collective agreements. She started her career working with primates, but her interests soon expanded to the entire fauna.

Dr Gláucia Seixas

Coordinator
Blue-fronted Amazon Project
Center for Conservation of Atlantic Rainforest Birds

Gláucia is a Zootechnician with a Master’s and Doctorate in Ecology and Nature Conservation, and for the last 30 years has dedicated herself to nature conservation. In 1997, while working at a Center for Rehabilitation of Fauna in Mato Grosso do Sul, she founded the Blue-fronted Amazon Project. With the support of Parque das Aves, Naples Zoo and Fundação Neotrópica, she and her team work in the conservation of the Blue-fronted Amazon and its habitat, as well as in the fight against illegal trade, in Mato Grosso do Sul and beyond. For 20 years field activities were concentrated in the Pantanal of Mato Grosso do Sul and in 2015 they were expanded to the Atlantic Forest and Cerrado of Mato Grosso do Sul.

Dr Fabiana Lopes Rocha

Coordinator
IUCN SSC Centre for Species Survival Brazil

Fabiana is a wildlife veterinarian and ecologist, and received her Master's degree from Federal University of Mato Grosso do Sul and Doctoral degree from Oswaldo Cruz Foundation. She is an advisor in Ecology, environmental monitoring and Zoology at the Federal University of Paraiba (UFPB). Her academic interest is in the areas of ecology, parasitology, and conservation of wild mammals, with an emphasis on carnivores and One Health. She is the convenor of the Conservation Planning Specialist Group - CPSG Brasil and member of the Cerrado´s mammal conservation program, Conservation Medicine Brazilian Institute and researcher of Laboratory of mammals and evolution (UFPB). Her work now focuses on bringing global standards, global connectivity and improved capacity for regional efforts for species assessment, planning and action within governments and NGOs as well as other relevant stakeholders to prevent species extinctions.

Dr Ben Phalan

Director
Center for Conservation of Atlantic Rainforest Birds

Ben is an ornithologist and conservation biologist, who received his Bachelor's degree at Trinity College Dublin and Doctoral degree from the University of Cambridge. He has worked over the years for BirdWatch Ireland, British Antarctic Survey, Oregon State University and the Federal University of Bahia. His research has focused primarily on how to reconcile food production and other human demands with biodiversity conservation. He published the first full empirical assessment of the land sparing/sharing framework, based on fieldwork in Ghana. He led an expedition to Liberia in search of the Liberian Greenbul, a "lost", Critically Endangered West African endemic, helping to confirm that it had never been a valid species. His work now is focused on planning, implementing and supporting actions to protect and restore populations of the most imperilled bird species of the Brazilian Atlantic Forest.

Paloma Bosso, MSc

Superintendent
Instituto Claravis

Paloma is a veterinarian and received her Master's Degree in Veterinary Science, at the Animal Welfare Laboratory of the Federal University of Paraná. She also has a specialization (lato sensu) in Wild Animal Husbandry (in situ e ex situ) from the Catholic Pontifical University from Belo Horizonte and participated in the Professional Development Program of São Paulo Zoo in their Animal Behavioral Enrichment Sector. She is a specialist in animal behaviour and welfare and Paloma's principal passions are overseeing high standards of welfare, integrated conservation and conservation contributions of ex-situ populations of threatened species. Paloma is co-founder of the Center for Conservation of Atlantic Rainforest Birds, IUCN SSC Center for Species Survival and Claravis Institute and established the Wild Fauna Support Center (CAFS) "Aves da Mata Atlântica" in 2021. She has been the Technical Director of Parque das Aves since 2017. She has overseen Parque das Aves' institutional transformation to focus on birds of the Atlantic Rainforest. She is a member of the Welfare Committee of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA), and an accreditation inspector at the Latin American Association of Zoos and Aquaria (ALPZA). She was a member of the Ethics, Bioethics and Animal Welfare Commission of the Federal Veterinary Council in Brazil, and Executive Director of the Brazilian Association of Zoos and Aquaria (AZAB).

Dr Carmel Croukamp

President
Instituto Claravis

Carmel received her Bachelors and Doctoral degrees at the University of Oxford. She is the daughter of the founders of Parque das Aves, and took over the running of Parque das Aves as CEO in 2014. In 2016, Carmel came to understand that a species of her backyard, the forests of Iguaçu, named Claravis geoffroy, had likely gone extinct, and that the extinction of Claravis was part of a wave of extinctions starting to sweep through the birds of the Atlantic Rainforest. As a result, Parque das Aves underwent an institutional change in order to focus on conservation of birds of the Atlantic Rainforest. The Center for Conservation of Atlantic Rainforest Birds and the IUCN SSC Center for Species Survival as well as Instituto Claravis itself were founded as part of this initiative. Carmel sits on the Technical Advisory Board of the Brazilian Government's National Action Plan for the Birds of the Atlantic Rainforest (ICMBio PAN Aves da Mata Atlântica), on the Board of Directors of Global Conservation Network (GCN) which oversees the IUCN SSC Conservation Planning Specialist Group and the Amphibian Ark institute, is a member of the Conservation Committee of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums and a councillor of the Iguaçu National Park, amongst other board memberships and directorships.