Endangered West Indian Birds

birds
Photograph: William K. Hayes (www.williamkhayes.com)

Because of their elegance, beauty, and the emotional response they evoke, endangered birds are hailed by conservationists as ideal “flagship” species for rallying high-profile efforts to save threatened habitats. For many decades only three bird species were believed to be endemic to the Bahamas (found nowhere else). However, our taxonomic studies have identified previously unrecognized diversity, adding up to five newly-recognized species—all globally endangered. Our population surveys reveal that as few as 300 individuals remain for some of these species, including the Bahama Nuthatch and Bahama Oriole. We have even named two new parrot species in the Bahamas! In addition to our taxonomic work, we have studied the ecology and population status of numerous seabird species. Seabirds are in dire trouble, having declined 90-95% since the arrival of humans to the region.

West Indian Birds

Conservation Taxonomy and Ecology of West Indian Landbirds
Key components: continued taxonomic work; ecological studies of Bahama Oriole, with possible translocation project; population surveys; conservation education
Project duration: 10 years
Estimated cost: $100,000 (excluding salaries)

Ecology and Conservation of Bahama Seabirds
Key components: continued population surveys; radiotelemetry studies of ecology
Project duration: 10 years
Estimated cost: $100,000 (excluding salaries)