The Noronha Elaenia is a small species of bird native to the main island of the archipelago of Fernando de Noronha which is part of the country of Brazil, in South America.
Adults average approximately 6.7 in (17 cm) in length. Their backs and wings are typically a dull brown in color and the belly is generally a pale yellow or off-white in color.
The species is extremely rare, and estimates place the number of adult Noronha Elaenia at no more than 500 individuals. Though its numbers are quite low, the population appears to be relatively stable within the Marine National Park. Active conservation efforts are underway to protect and preserve the species.
Noronha Elaenia Distribution, Habitat and Breeding
The Noronha Elaenia is strictly confined to its archipelago. Aside from the main island, only a few individuals are found on one other island, Ilha Rata. There are only three species of birds endemic to the archipelago and the Noronha Elaenia is by far the least numerous of the three.
Within its zone of habitation, this bird typically inhabits woodland, scrub, and man-made gardens. Their diet consists primarily of insects and small fruits. The breeding season runs from February to May.
The birds are extremely selective of the material they use for their nests and they also will build their nests in only one of three species of tree.
Noronha Elaenia Threats
The Noronha Elaenia once existed in far greater numbers within its territory. Since the discovery of the islands in 1503, human habitation, unfortunately, has felled virtually all larger trees. Since the species uses a very selective material for nesting, this presented an impediment to reproduction.
Additionally, humans have eliminated the majority of the supporting vegetation as well.
The birds have also suffered from increased predation. Humans again introduced a number of non-native invasive species to the region. These predators include cats and rats. In addition, fire is a credible threat.