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Rediscovery of the Honduran Emerald Amazilia luciae in western Honduras: insights on the distribution, ecology, and conservation of a ’Critically Endangered’ hummingbird

  • DAVID L. ANDERSON (a1), PAUL HOUSE (a2), ROBERT E. HYMAN (a3), RICARDO STEINER (a4), H. ROSS HAWKINS (a5), SHERRY THORN (a2), MANUEL J. REY (a6), MARIO R. ESPINAL (a7) and LEONEL E. MARINEROS (a7)...

Summary

The Honduran Emerald Amazilia luciae is endemic to dry forests of Honduras and currently recognised as ‘Critically Endangered.’ Here we present the first modern assessment of its distribution, ecology, and conservation, based partly on our rediscovery of the species in western Honduras and on our observations in three Honduran departments. We found that dry forests inhabited by the emerald differed in structure and species composition between eastern and western Honduras, where we observed emeralds in open-canopied deciduous thorn forests and closed-canopied semi-deciduous woodlands, respectively. We interpret these differences in light of the geological and anthropogenic origins of dry forests in Honduras, and discuss the implications of such origins for the conservation of dry forests. Although our findings expand the known distribution and population size of the species, its status as ‘Critically Endangered’ is warranted due to its restricted distribution in dry forest fragments and increasing human pressures on this habitat.

El Esmeralda Hondureño Amazilia luciae es una especie endémica del bosque seco en Honduras que actualmente es considerada Criticamente Amenazada. Presentamos la primera evaluación moderna de su distribución, ecología, y estado de conservación, con base en nuestro reciente redescubrimiento de la especie en el oeste de Honduras y en nuestras observaciones en tres departamentos hondureños. Describrimos que A. luciae habita bosques distintos en el este y oeste de Honduras, con los bosques del este siendo espinosos de baja estatura y un dosel abierto, mientras en el oeste son más húmedos, altos, y con su dosel relativamente más cerrado. Damos una interpretación a esas diferencias con base en el orígen geológico y las actividades antropogénicas, y discutimos su importancia en la conservación del bosque seco. Aunque el redescrubriemento de A. luciae en el oeste de Honduras significa que la distribución y tamaño poblacional de la especie son más amplios que lo antes conocido, su estatus de amenaza como ‘Criticamente Amenazada’ es merecido porque la extensión del bosque seco en Honduras es compuesto por fragmentos aislados que sufren bastante presión de actividades humanas.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

*Author for correspondence; email danders@tigers.lsu.edu

References

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Rediscovery of the Honduran Emerald Amazilia luciae in western Honduras: insights on the distribution, ecology, and conservation of a ’Critically Endangered’ hummingbird

  • DAVID L. ANDERSON (a1), PAUL HOUSE (a2), ROBERT E. HYMAN (a3), RICARDO STEINER (a4), H. ROSS HAWKINS (a5), SHERRY THORN (a2), MANUEL J. REY (a6), MARIO R. ESPINAL (a7) and LEONEL E. MARINEROS (a7)...

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