Galapagos Species Checklist

Camarhynchus heliobates (Snodgras & Heller, 1901)

Pinzón de manglar, Mangrove Finch

Mangrove Finch (Camarynchus heliobates) on Isabela Island, Galapagos. Photo: Liza Díaz Lalova, CDF.
Mangrove Finch (Camarynchus heliobates) on Isabela Island, Galapagos. Photo: Liza Díaz Lalova, CDF.

Threats: The species is threatened by the loss of habitats, mangrove are very restricted habitats on the Galápagos, rats, but the main current threat is probably the introduced fly Philornis downsi that causes high chick mortality of that small clutch species. Annual survey are performed and a captive breeding program (head starting) was started to try to support the populations while control of Philornis is still not possible. “Head starting” means collecting eggs, hand rearing chicks and return them into their original habitat once independent.

Taxonomy

Domain
Eukaryota

Kingdom
Animalia

Phylum
Chordata

Class
Aves

Order
Passeriformes

Family
Thraupidae

Genus
Camarhynchus

Species
heliobates

Taxon category: Accepted

Syn.: Cactospiza heliobates (Snodgras & Heller, 1901); Geospiza heliobates Snodgras & Heller, 1901

Status

Critically endangered

Ecology

Preference for an altitude zone in Galapagos: Coastal zone

Habitat preferences: Mixed mangroves with red (Rhizophora mangle), black (Avicennia germinans) and white (Laguncularia racemosa) mangrove trees preferred for both foraging and nesting.

Feeding type: Insectivorous

Feeds on arthropods found in litter on the ground, dead wood or apical buds of red mangrove. Habitat must be rich in accumulated leaf litter as foraging is intensive.

Trophic role: Carnivorous

Reproduction mode: Exclusively sexual

Reproductive biology: Always nests in the outermost branches of the canopy of black (Avicennia germinans) and white (Laguncularia racemosa) mangrove trees and show a pronounced preference for the very high branches of black mangrove where available,. Red mangroves are an important feeding substrate but not used for nesting. Male displays in front of a dome shape nest. Once chosen, the pair either use this nest or build a new one. Only females incubate (two to three eggs), both feed the chicks. Fledglings stay for up to 6 weeks with a parent, either with the male while the female starts a new clutch, or, one with the female and the other with the male.

Distribution

Distribution: Present on Playa Tortuga Negra, Caleta Black and Cartago on Isabela Island. Extinct on Fernandina.

References

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  • Petren, K. Grant, B. & Grant, P. (1999) A phylogeny of Darwin's finches based on microsatellite DNA length variation. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B-Biological Sciences 266:321-329.
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  • Fessl, B. Loaiza, A., Tebbich, B. & Young, H. (2010) Feeding and nesting requirements of the critically endangered Mangrove Finch Camarhynchus heliobates. Journal of Ornithology.
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  • Lamichhaney, S. Berglund, J., Sällman Almén, M., Maqbool, K., Grabherr, M., Martinez-Barrio, A., Promerova, M., Rubin, C.J., Wang, C., Zamani, N., Grant, B.R., Grant, P.R., Webster, M.T., Andersson, L. (2015) Evolution of Darwin’s finches and their beaks revealed by genome sequencing Nature 518: 371-386. doi:10.1038/nature14181
  • Remsen, J.V. Areta, J.I.Jr., Cadena, C.D., Claramunt, S., Jaramillo, A., Pacheco, J.F., Pérez-Emán, J., Robbins, M.B., Stiles, F.G., Stotz, D.F., Zimmer, K. J. (2016) A Classification of the Bird Species of South America. South American Classification Committee. American Ornithologists' Union http://www.museum.lsu.edu/~Remsen/SACCBaseline.htm
  • IUCN (2017) The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species Version 2016-3. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 03 February 2017.

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