Negative population trend for Chapada Flycatchers (Suiriri islerorum) despite high apparent annual survival
Population size and trends are demographic parameters that can be used to help determine the threat of extirpation or extinction of bird populations and in determining management strategies. Chapada Flycatchers (Suiriri islerorum) are endemic to the Cerrado region of Brazil, dependent on open cerrado habitat, defend large territories, and their populations seem to be declining. From 2003 to 2007, we analyzed demographic parameters of a declining population of Chapada Flycatchers, using the rate at which territories became vacant and the size of the breeding population to ascertain the status of the population, and evaluated the relative contributions of apparent annual survival and recruitment rates to these trends. Territories became vacant at a mean rate of 13% per year, and 32% of all territories were vacated during our study. The current breeding population (20 pairs) was at least seven times smaller than the estimated carrying capacity of the reserve (141 territorial pairs). Estimated apparent annual survival probabilities (0.77 for breeders; 0.67 for nonbreeders) based on model averaging were comparable to those reported for other Neotropical passerines. Survival rates did not differ between the sexes and the estimated recruitment rate was 0.21. In many species, adult survival is the factor that most strongly influences population growth rates. However, the population of Chapada Flycatchers we studied is declining despite high annual survival rates, with low and variable breeding success probably causing the decline. Our results improve our understanding of the possible role of adult survival and breeding success in the decline of populations of small passerines in isolated reserves in the tropics.