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Barnett J.M.,Aves Argentinas Asociacion Ornitologica del Plata | Roesler I.,University of Buenos Aires
Bird Conservation International | Year: 2014

Summary We present the results of searches for the Austral Rail Rallus antarcticus in Argentine and Chilean Patagonia between January 1998 and February 2006 and from subsequent visits. We surveyed 58 localities and found the rail in 22, which collectively cover approximately 85 km2 of habitat. A maximum of 175 individuals were detected. This poorly known species was rediscovered in 1998; since then, it has been found in 18 additional localities, providing further data on distribution, habitat and seasonal movements. During the searches, we found that the species faces different threats, such as reduction of wetlands due to cattle grazing, burning and abnormal water management, but also the presence of American mink Neovison vison. However, due to the lack of prior information we conclude that the species should be maintained as Vulnerable. © BirdLife International 2013.

Facchinetti C.,University of Buenos Aires | Mahler B.,University of Buenos Aires | Di Giacomo A.G.,Aves Argentinas Asociacion Ornitologica del Plata | Reboreda J.C.,University of Buenos Aires
Condor | Year: 2011

In some sexually dichromatic passerines, juvenile males retain a plumage similar to that of adult females through their first year or longer (delayed plumage maturation). The Tawny-bellied Seedeater (Sporophila hypoxantha) is a sexually dichromatic species in which, to the human eye, the juveniles look like females. We analyzed the species' stages of plumage maturation by reflectance spectrometry and a visual model of color discrimination on captive individuals of known ages. We found that males retain a plumage different from that of adult males through their first breeding season. By the time males passed the age of 1 year, their color did not differ from that of adult males in any region of the body except the crown. Spectrophotometry also revealed differences between the plumage color of juvenile males and females, and the color-discrimination model implies that the birds should be able to detect these differences. Thus juvenile males of the Tawny-bellied Seedeater acquire adult plumage after their first breeding season but are already dichromatic during the first year. How this pattern of plumage development affects the species' reproductive or other social behavior deserves further study. © The Cooper Ornithological Society 2011.

Di Giacomo A.S.,University of Buenos Aires | Di Giacomo A.G.,Aves Argentinas Asociacion Ornitologica del Plata | Kliger R.,University of Buenos Aires | Reboreda J.C.,University of Buenos Aires | And 2 more authors.
Bird Conservation International | Year: 2015

The Strange-tailed Tyrant Alectrurus risora (Aves: Tyrannidae) is an endemic species of southern South American grasslands that suffered a 90% reduction of its original distribution due to habitat transformation. This has led the species to be classified as globally Vulnerable. By the beginning of the last century, populations were partially migratory and moved south during the breeding season. Currently, the main breeding population inhabits the Iberá wetlands in the province of Corrientes, north-east Argentina, where it is resident all year round. There are two remaining small populations in the province of Formosa, north-east Argentina, and in southern Paraguay, which are separated from the main population by the Parana-Paraguay River and its continuous riverine forest habitat. The populations of Corrientes and Formosa are separated by 300 km and the grasslands between populations are non-continuous due to habitat transformation. We used mtDNA sequences and eight microsatellite loci to test if there were evidences of genetic isolation between Argentinean populations. We found no evidence of genetic structure between populations (ΦST = 0.004, P = 0.32; Fst = 0.01, P = 0.06), which can be explained by either retained ancestral polymorphism or by dispersal between populations. We found no evidence for a recent demographic bottleneck in nuclear loci. Our results indicate that these populations could be managed as a single conservation unit on a regional scale. Conservation actions should be focused on preserving the remaining network of areas with natural grasslands to guarantee reproduction, dispersal and prevent further decline of populations. © 2014 BirdLife International.

Di Giacomo A.G.,Aves Argentinas Asociacion Ornitologica del Plata | Di Giacomo A.S.,Genetica y Evolucion | Reboreda J.C.,Genetica y Evolucion
Bird Conservation International | Year: 2011

The north-east of Argentina contains a high number of globally threatened grassland birds and is increasingly managed for livestock, with annual burning in remaining natural grasslands. The Strange-tailed Tyrant Alectrurus risora, a globally threatened grassland specialist, has suffered a 90% contraction in its original range. From 1996 to 2008 we monitored a breeding population in Formosa, north-east Argentina, and explored the effect on breeding of four accidental and one prescribed fires. The plant most frequently used for nesting was Imperata brasiliensis, but the frequency of use was lower after a fire than before. In years with a fire, the height of the plant used for nesting and the height of the nest were lower than in those without a fire. Females avoided nesting in the burned plot in the breeding season immediately after the prescribed fire, but they started to return to the burned plot by the second breeding season and did not discriminate between plots by the third breeding season after the fire. Movements of females after the prescribed fire did not affect nest survival, clutch size, hatchability or chick survival indicating this species was adapted to regular fires. However, our results also show that annual burning in the grassland negatively affects the settlement for reproduction of Strange-tailed Tyrants and that the intervals between burns in the same grassland should be longer than two years. © 2011 BirdLife International.

Di Giacomo A.S.,University of Buenos Aires | Di Giacomo A.G.,Aves Argentinas Asociacion Ornitologica del Plata | Reboreda J.C.,University of Buenos Aires
Condor | Year: 2011

The Strange-tailed Tyrant (Alectrurus risora) is an endangered obligate grassland bird that inhabits savannas, wet grasslands and marshes in southern Paraguay and northeastern Argentina. We evaluated the extent of social polygyny, main measures of reproduction (clutch size, hatching success, and chick survival), and factors that influence nest success in this species. We also estimated the reproductive success of females and males by measuring the number and fate of nesting attempts by banded females and the number of females per a male's territory. More than 80% of the males were polygynous. Males defended contiguous territories of 2-2.5 ha that included the territories of up to four females. Females built the nest, incubated the eggs, and brooded and fed the chicks. On average, successful nests fledged 2.3 chicks. Nest survival over the entire cycle was 0.23 and decreased with nest age and time of breeding. Most females made two or three nesting attempts per breeding season and bred in the same area for 2 or 3 consecutive years. In contrast, males rarely were seen in the same area more than 1 year, suggesting sexual differences in mortality. As a result of this, the reproductive succcess of females and males was similar. Our findings indicate that although males are highly polygynous and nest success is low, the high turnover of males in successive breeding seasons and the high probability of females' renesting within and in successive breeding seasons reduce the variance in reproductive success of both sexes. © The Cooper Ornithological Society 2011.

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