With fewer than 15 remaining, the Stresemann’s Bristlefront is one of the most endangered species on Earth. It clings to life in an ecosystem almost as endangered as the bird itself—the Atlantic Forest of Brazil.
The Atlantic Forest is famous for its rare species, but few are as endangered as the Stresemann’s Bristlefront, an unusual burrow-nesting songbird.
Stretching along the Brazilian coastline from the state of Rio Grande do Norte south to Rio Grande do Sul, remnants of Atlantic Forest reach inland as far as Paraguay in the south. Coinciding with dense human development, the Atlantic Forest has been reduced to less than 8 percent of its former extent; what remains is in fragmented patches.
In some places the forest has almost disappeared completely, and in those places, untold plants and animals have gone as well.
Amazingly, the Atlantic Forest is still a place where one can observe thousands of unusual plants and animals—species uniquely adapted to this ecosystem and found nowhere else on Earth.
The list of endemic species is extensive and includes birds such as the Saffron Toucanet, Gilt-edged Tanager, Pin-tailed Manakin, and Hooded Berryeater. The presence of many rare species makes the Atlantic Forest a special priority for bird conservation.
In a bid to prevent the extinction of the Stresemann’s Bristlefront, Brazilian conservation group Fundação Biodiversitas created the “Songbird Forest Reserve” (or Reserva Mata do Passarinho, as it’s called in Portuguese), in 2007 with ABC support. In 2015, the reserve was increased to more than 2,300 acres, helping to protect one of the last patches of forest in northern Minas Gerais and southern Bahia states.
Numerous endangered species shelter here in addition to the bristlefront, including the Banded Cotinga, Brown-backed Parrotlet, Red-browed Parrot, Hook-billed Hermit, and Bahia Tyrannulet. Rare mammals, including the critically endangered yellow-breasted capuchin monkey and the endangered maned three-toed sloth, also find refuge here.
Our conservation efforts were boosted in 2016 by a new global initiative supported by the Global Environment Facility and the United Nations Environment Programme that will mobilize $6.7 million to help save Earth’s most irreplaceable sites for endangered biodiversity, including the habitat of Stresemann’s Bristlefront.
Biodiversitas recently created a field station that accommodates visiting birders and researchers.
Staff are currently investing in additional infrastructure that will facilitate reserve management and monitoring, as well as opportunities for environmental education and nature tourism.
The Minas Gerais state government identified the Mata do Passarinho forest area as a priority for urgent conservation. ABC provides financial and technical support to Biodiversitas to manage the reserve, expand the reserve through land acquisition, and conduct restoration where needed.
By making a donation to Biodiversitas through ABC you are helping protect this special place. We are actively fundraising to purchase a 958-acre property to expand this reserve. To support this expansion, please visit our Donate page or email our staff.