Araripe Manakin Habitat Purchase Pays Off in Nests

ABC and our Brazilian partner Aquasis have secured more than 170 acres of habitat for the critically endangered Araripe Manakin, doubling the size of the existing Araripe Oasis Reserve (which ABC had also helped create in 2014) and connecting it to the much larger Araripe National Forest.

Araripe Manakin with berry by Ciro Albano

The Araripe Manakin is one of the world's most endangered birds, numbering fewer than 1,000 individuals. Photo by Ciro Albano

This additional Araripe Manakin habitat immediately proved beneficial for the bird, with seven Araripe Manakin nests found there during the 2017/2018 breeding season. This is exciting news for a species that still numbers fewer than 1,000 birds.

“I'm quite sure there were more nests” in addition to those found, said George Barbosa, the manager at Oasis Araripe Reserve who conducted the exploration for nests. “Nest searching is difficult, and some parts of breeding areas are not accessible.”

Araripe Manakin female on nest by Fabio Arruda

Araripe Manakin camouflaged on her stream-side nest in the Oasis Araripe Reserve. Photo by Fabio Arruda.

The newer forest property includes springs and streams. These are essential elements for Araripe Manakin nesting success, since female manakins prefer to nest in low shrubs, near or even hanging over water.

“Araripe Manakin conservation will require widespread conservation efforts throughout the species' range, mostly on private land, but also intelligent forest protection and management on their reserve,” said Bennett Hennessey, ABC's Brazil Conservation Program Coordinator. “The confirmation of seven Araripe Manakin nests in Oasis Araripe Reserve is a fantastic start to the development of a protected habitat ideal for the full life-cycle of this species.”

Araripe Manakin hatchlings in nest, photographed by George Barbosa

Araripe Manakin hatchlings in nest, demonstrating the hope for the species provided by this reserve acquisition. Photo by George Barbosa

In addition to its ongoing field research to monitor Araripe Manakin recovery, Aquasis conducts conservation activities to benefit local communities as well as birds, such as water-protection projects and reforestation.