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SPEA is an Environmental not-for-profit organization whose mission is to support research and conservation of wild birds and their habitats, by promoting sustainable development for the benefit of future generations.
Home  > Lands of Priolo > The Azores Bullfinch
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The Azores Bullfinch



Scientific name: Pyrrhula murina
Common name: Azores bullfinch, or Priolo locally
Family: Fringillidae
Order: Passeriforme

Description: Priolos measure between 15 and 17cm from the tip of the bill to the end of the tail and weigh about 30g. Medium-sized, plump, short-winged, long-tailed, dull coloured finch. Black cap and facial area, tail and wings. Grey lesser covert and greater covert wing-bar. Brown back. Grey nape and uppertail-coverts. Pinkish-brown underparts. Both sexes are identical. Pairs nest in Laurel forest between June and September.

Voice: The contact call is a short, flute-like and melancholic whistle phew which is very distinctive.

                                                               

Distribution: The species is endemic to São Miguel Island in the Azores, more specifically to the mountain complex of Serra da Tronqueira situated to the east of this island, (shown in green on the following map), and includes the municipalities of Nordeste and Povoação. Its estimated population is approximately 775 individuals*, limited to only a few fragments of remaining native vegetation. It is the most threatened passerine bird in all Europe, and is listed as critically endangered.

Conservation status: The Priolo is a protected species according to the European Directive on Birds and it is included in various lists of threatened animals, both at national level (Red Book of Vertebrates in Portugal) and at international level (IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals). For this reason the Special Protected Area, (SPA) of Pico da Vara / Ribeira do Guilherme, (a Natura 2000 site), was created, which includes all of the distribution area of this species, with the main purpose of its protection and conservation. BirdLife International considers the Priolo as a “critically endangered” species.

* Ceia, R. 2008. Monitorização da população de Priolo. Relatório da acção F6 do Projecto LIFE Priolo. Sociedade Portuguesa para o Estudo das Aves, Lisboa.

Learn more about the Azores Bullfinch

- BIRDLIFE Species Fact Sheet
- Teodósio J.; Ceia, R.; Costa, L. 2009. Species Action Plan for the Azores Bullfinch Pyrrhula murina in the European Union. 19.

Monitoring reports
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Scientific papers

Ceia, R. S., Ramos, J. A., Heleno, R. H., Hilton, G. M. and Marques, T. A. 2011. Status assessment of the Critically Endangered Azores Bullfinch Pyrrhula murina. Bird Conservation International 21: 477-489.

Ceia, R.; Heleno, R.; Ramos, J. A. 2009. Summer abundance and ecological distribution of passerines in native and exotic forests in São Miguel, Azores. Ardeola 56(1): 25-39.

Ceia, R.S., Sampaio, H.L., Parejo, S.H., Heleno, R.H., Arosa, M.L., Ramos, J.A. and Hilton, G.M. 2011. Throwing the baby out with the bathwater: does laurel forest restoration remove a critical winter food supply for the critically endangered Azores bullfinch? Biological Invasions 13: 93-104.

Monticelli, D.; Ceia, R.; Heleno, R.; Laborda, H.; Timóteo, S.; Jareo, D.; Hilton, G. M.; Ramos, J. A. 2010. High survival rate of a critically endangered species, the Azores Bullfinch Pyrrhula murina, as a contribution to population recovery. Journal of Ornithology 151(3): 627-636.

Ramos, J. 1995. The diet of the Azores Bullfinch Pyrrhula murina and floristic variation within its range. Biological Conservation 71: 237-249.


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