Stresemann's Bristlefront—a unique bird that nests in underground tunnels—went unrecorded for 50 years. Then, in 1995, it was rediscovered in Brazil's Bahia state, in the northwest Atlantic Forest.
Twenty years later, the species is thought to number fewer than 15. Victims of habitat loss, the birds have the misfortune to live in one of the most endangered forests in the world and are themselves among the species most likely to become extinct without intensive conservation action.
Five hundred years ago, the Atlantic Forest extended along the coast of Brazil into Paraguay and northern Argentina. Today, it has been reduced to less than 10 percent of original extent due to logging and conversion to agriculture and pasture.
Stresemann's Bristlefront is only one of the many bird species at risk as the Atlantic Forest disappears. More than 150 bird species found nowhere else on Earth make their home here, including Saffron Toucanet, Gilt-edged Tanager, Pin-tailed Manakin, and Hooded Berryeater.
One of our critical objectives is to prevent the loss of bird species in the Western Hemisphere. We call it “safeguarding the rarest.”
In the case of the bristlefront, we work closely with Fundação Biodiversitas to protect and acquire habitat for the species. Together, we created the 1,500-acre Stresemann's Bristlefront Reserve in 2007, which is an Alliance for Zero Extinction conservation priority. There are encouraging signs that this habitat protection is working, including the 2013 discovery of an active Stresemann's Bristlefront nest.
In other good news, in April 2016, a new global initiative was announced that will bring more resources to bristlefront conservation. Supported by the Global Environment Facility and United Nations Environment Programme, the initiative will mobilize $6.7 million to deliver a project entitled, “Alliance for Zero Extinction (AZE): Conserving Earth's Most Irreplaceable Sites for Endangered Biodiversity.”
The effort will prevent species extinctions by identifying and safeguarding the places where Endangered or Critically Endangered species are restricted to single remaining sites.
We welcome all and every effort to help us "bring back the birds." If you would like to make a donation, please click here. Or visit our Get Involved page to learn more about how you can help. Together, we can make a difference for this special bird.