Mangrove Finch Conservation Project
The Mangrove Finch (Camarynchus heliobates) is one of 14 species of Darwin finches that only live in the Galapagos Islands. It is the rarest bird in the archipelago with an estimated population of 80 individuals, inhabiting just 30ha at two sites on Isabela Island. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species classes the Mangrove Finch as Critically Endangered. Main known threats are the introduced parasitic fly, Philornis downsi and the introduced black rat (Rattus rattus).
Since 2006 our Mangrove Finch Project team has conducted breeding season surveys to determine nest success, population size and territories. Our researchers carry out introduced predator control and monitoring, in a bi-institutional collaboration with the Galapagos National Park. In 2014, for the first time in Galapagos, a head-starting program started, to increase the population size and range of the mangrove finch. In the first season alone, the Mangrove Finch team increased fledging success by rearing and releasing 15 fledglings back in to the wild. The “head-starting” program is now being repeated for the 2014/2015 breeding season.
Collaborators: Galapagos National Park, San Diego Zoo Global, Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust
Funders: Galapagos Conservation Trust, The Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund, Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, International Community Foundation (with a grant awarded by The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust), Galapagos Conservancy, and The British Embassy in Ecuador
Featured news articles:
- For the second year running, mangrove finches are born at the Charles Darwin Research Station!
- Mangrove Finches: from captivity back to their natural habitat
- World’s first Mangrove Finch hatches in captivity
- Funding offers new hope for Galapagos land birds!
Published literature: Head-starting photo journal