RFCG to collaborate with BirdLife South Africa on new conservation project

9 Jan
Orange-breasted waxbill ( Amandava sublava ) Photo Chris Krog

Orange-breasted waxbill ( Amandava sublava ) Photo Chris Krog


Over the past few months a number of our blogs have made reference to the decline in reporting numbers of the little Orange-breasted waxbill. Today the Rare Finch Conservation Group is proud to announce that it will now be collaborating with BirdLife South Africa to try and establish why the species is becoming so scarce in certain parts of its natural habitat

The BirdLife International Preventing Extinctions Programme focuses on preventing the extinction of all bird species. The emphasis is largely on threatened species in urgent need of intervention, and placed in the categories of globally Vulnerable , Endangered or Critically Endangered.What is less well known is that BirdLife International also includes its work to be with common and widespread species. Conservation work is often a very costly program and early prevention is a far more effective and economical way to save a species from extinction.

The Orange-breasted Waxbill is a wetland and grassland specialist. While at this stage it still is not listed as threatened, the possible decline in numbers and decline in range suggest further study is needed as part of one of BirdLife International’s global programmes Keeping Common Birds Common . More about the BirdLife International programme can be read on http://www.birdlife.org/datazone/sowb/casestudy/62 and http://www.birdlife.org/europe-and-central-asia/keeping common-birds-common

This is what Dr. Hanneline Smit-Robinson , Terrestrial Bird Conservation Manager at BirdLife South Africa, had to say about the species  “ The Orange-breasted Waxbill will be a good flagship sentinel species for other grassland and wetland specialists, endemics, threatened and or/common species.”

The work required will be divided into two Phases. Phase 1 will require extensive desktop analyses where population trends of the species need to be determined using all the current data available. This data will help to illustrate the dramatic changes in distribution of the species over the years. All of the RFCG members will bring together our different professional skills to the desktop study which will last about one year.

Once this is completed academic involvement for the second phase will be included using either an MSc or PhD student through the Percy FitzPatrick Institute from the University of Cape Town. Point and transect counts will be done, and density estimates will be calculated in optimal habitats, to improve our current knowledge on the abundance of this species. More about this new conservation project can be read on our RFCG website http://www.rarefinch.org.

The Rare Finch Conservation Group is a registered non-profit organisation and is totally dependent on donors and sponsors to carry out its conservation work on finches in the wild. For more info visit http://www.rarefinch.org or write to the secretary at editor@avitalk.co.za



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