Antwren, Myrmotherula snowi, Murici, Alagoas, Brazil - March 2004
The Alagoas Antwren is endemic to a very small area of north-east
Brazil. It is known only from Atlantic Rain Forest remnants at Murici,
Alagoas and Jaqueira, Pernambuco. It is classified as Critically
Endangered by Birdlife International who describe it as being "on
the brink of extinction".
The male, shown here, is generally grey with an indistinct black
patch on the throat. The female, which we didn't see unfortunately,
is fulvous-brown above with a russet tail, rufous-buff underparts
and a white throat.
It is very similar to Unicoloured Antwren M. unicolor but has a
shorter tail and a longer bill as well as a different voice.
Conservation Project, Brazil -
The Murici reserve is a 3,000
hectare patch of remnant Atlantic Forest in the north-east
Brazil state of Alagoas.
Brazil's Atlantic Forests have been reduced to less than 5%
of their former extent,
and nowhere is the damage more severe than in the area surrounding
Although called a reserve, the area is privately owned and
is still being cleared at a
n accelerated rate for sugar cane and pastureland.
Despite only having 3,000 hectares of forest, Murici is home
to two bird species that occur
nowhere else on earth, the Alagoas Foliage-Gleaner and the
Twelve other globally threatened species occur in this forest
including the Golden-tailed Parrotlet
and the Plain Spinetail - the latter species may also already
be extinct throughout the rest of its former range. The area
also has a population of the spectacular Seven-colored Tanager
a major draw for birders. Acre for acre, the Murici forest
may be the most important on earth for
endangered birds, and an international project to save the
forest is underway.