Azure-rumped Tanager Tangara cabanisi

  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Thraupidae
  • Monotypic
  • Authors: Knut Eisermann


Conservation Status

The Azure-rumped Tanager has a small geographic distribution, which makes the species vulnerable to habitat loss and other threats. The total extent of occurrence (minimum convex polygon encompassing all sites of occurrence) in Chiapas and Guatemala is estimated to be 2500 km2 (Eisermann et al. 2011a). Although locally common, the tanager faces an ongoing threat from habitat loss. The conversion of broadleaf forests to coffee plantation is the main threat (BirdLife International 2008). In Guatemala habitat availability has been quantified recently. Only 21% or 250 km2 of the potential area of distribution are covered with broadleaf forest, the tanager’s prime habitat. Most of the potential area of distribution is covered with coffee plantation (800 km2 or 68%) (Eisermann et al. 2011a). Within the potential area of distribution in Guatemala, only 138 km2 (55%) of the remaining broadleaf forest in this area are legally protected, but none of the reserves is a strictly protected area in IUCN (1994) categories I or II (Eisermann et al. 2011a). Efficient conservation of habitat cannot be guaranteed in the short term in any of the reserves (Eisermann et al. 2011a). For Chiapas no current evaluation of the status of Azure-rumped Tanagers and its habitat is available. The extent of remaining habitat there was estimated to be 1120 km2 in the 1980s (Heath and Long 1991), but can be expected to be much smaller now due to a growing human population (1.6% annual growth rate from 2000 to 2005; INEGI 2008) and increased pressure by agricultural activities (Richter 2000). Eisermann et al. (2011a) conclude that the maintenance of the Red List status of "Endangered" is justified based on the IUCN (2001) Red List criteria EN B1a+b(ii,iii,v).

The long-term conservation of Azure-rumped Tanager requires the protection of natural habitat and habitat restoration in and outside of protected areas. Conservation efforts in the human-used landscape are needed, which has been recognized during the identification of Important Bird Areas in Guatemala (Eisermann and Avendaño 2007b, 2009a,b), and it has also been recognized on a regional level in Mesoamerica (Harvey et al. 2008, Chazdon et al. 2009, Gardner et al. 2009). The following conservation measures are recommended: 1) protection of existing broadleaf forest in the potential area of distribution, 2) reforestation with local broadleaf tree species, 3) enhancement of the structural complexity of intensive coffee plantations by planting trees, 4) recruitment of more landowners into non-intensive coffee-growing schemes, and 5) avoidance of the conversion of shaded to unshaded coffee plantations (Eisermann et al. 2011a,b).

Effects of human activity on populations

Agriculture has reduced considerably the range of the Azure-rumped Tanager in the last two centuries, and is still one of the main threats because the distribution range is located in a zone especially favorable for agriculture, except for the steepest canyons and mountain slopes (Eisermann et al. 2011a). The establishment of private protected areas and the promotion of birdwatching tourism has raised much awareness of the Azure-rumped Tanager and encouraged small-scale habitat protection (Eisermann 2011).

Recommended Citation

Eisermann, K. 2011. Azure-rumped Tanager (Tangara cabanisi), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.