Cameras oversee parrots birth and development
Thursday, February 7, 2013 at 14:41
City Parrots in Amazona brasiliensis - Red-tailed Amazon, Conservation, Nest box, Research

Cameras were installed in nests of Red-tailed Amazon parrot (Amazona brasiliensis) to monitor birth and development of their offspring (Photo: Rafael Rivera / SPVS)The parrots, that nests on islands off the coast of Paraná, are monitored during the breeding period, from September to March.

Cameras, installed in their nests, will monitor hatching and development of the Red-tailed Amazon chicks. The cameras will also record interactions between other birds on Rasa Island, off the coast of Paraná. Filming is done during the breeding season. The film crew is part of a project team for the conservation of the Red-tailed Amazons and is supported by Vida Selvagem e Educação Ambiental (SPVS).

Maria Cecilia Abbud, the projects technician, explains that form September 2011 to March 2012 they conducted a test run with nest cameras. The equipment was placed in two nests but only one was actually used by the parrots. This year they will only be installing cameras in previously occupied nests.

“We come at the very start of the breeding season when pairs are choosing where to nest, days before the female actually start laying eggs. The clutch is not completed immediately, on average, eggs are laid every two days. Last year three eggs were laid. The first chick hatched on November 3, 2012, the second on November 5 and the last on November 8,” Maria Cecilia explains.  

Camera placed in the nest of Red-tailed Amazons do not hinder the development of chicks (Photo: Rafael Rivera / SPVS)According to SPVS, the cameras, similar to security cameras, are positioned in- and outside the nest, quietly, as not to disturb the pair or their offspring. The idea is to record the parental care at all stages of development, from egg to fledging.

Maria Cecilia says that the youngest of the 3 2012 chicks died at about 40 days old. "A few days before we checked up on them. We found it to be much weaker than the others." The first chick left the nest on the 10th of January, quickly followed by its sibling. According to Maria Cecilia, they kept close to the nest for a few days, but then flew away.

Red-tailed Amazon chick monitored during the 2012 breeding season, which runs from September to March (Photo: Rafael Rivera / SPVS)At Risk

Red-tailed Amazons are endangered. There are about 5,500 left in Parana state of Brazil, says Maria Cecilia. The countries total is approximately 6,700. The coast of Paraná, the southern coast of São Paulo state and the north coast of Santa Catarina state are the species mainstay.

"With this work, we develop an understanding of the species' breeding behavior and parental care. Our focus is on conservation. By understanding their reproductive biology, we gain deeper understanding of the species as a whole.

The project has been monitoring Red-tailed Amazon nests on Paraná coastal islands since 1998. Since 2003 artificial nests supplements replace natural cavities that were lost over time. Currently, more than 100 nests – both natural and artificial - are being monitored.

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