Efforts to Aid the Endangered Black-hooded Red Siskin

Stephen H. Amos


Dear Sheldon:

The Aug./Sept. '85 A.F.A. Watchbird magazine interview with Patricia Demko on the the black-hooded red siskin ( Carduelis cucullata) has prompted me to write this letter.

The Venezuelan population of these rare birds, according to local Audubon Society officials, has been drastically reduced to critically low levels. Populations formerly thought safe on several Caribbean islands have been discovered by illegal traffikers and have been systematically decimated. The plight of the endangered red siskin is bleak, at best, in the wild.

An effort is presently being made to census captive populations worldwide. Collators in North America, South America, Europe, and other regions are attempting this analysis, whose aim is to assess the numbers and success rates, and to compile data on techniques adopted by aviculturists in the management of this endangered species. This information could then be shared with aviculturists to increase the breeding potential of the species. Already information has been received from Italy, South Africa, England, Venezuela, and the U.S.

Appreciation is noted for the work involved. To enable the project to gain as much information as possible it is asked that details be provided under the headings listed below. The information should then be forwarded to the relevant collator as soon as possible to be included in the project's findings.

Name of aviculturist Address

How long have you kept the Hooded Siskin?

History of stock (where purchased; age; whether captive bred; previous nesting attempts)

Identification features (ring number) Description of Accommodation (size of cage or aviary; location; how furnished; whether heated)

Breeding (age of birds; display; mating; nest receptical; material used; clutch size; incubation period; which sex(s) incubated; time until fledged and to independence; additional foods offered)

Hand-rearing (methods and diet employed)

Fostering (species involved and at what stage did fostering take place) Ailments (main ailments; medication; postmortem findings) Longevity (known age of a deceased or surviving bird)


Europe: Bryan Reed, 4 St. Andrews Drive, Tividale, Warley, West Midland, B69 IPR England

North America: Stephen H. Amos, National Aquarium in Baltimore, Pier 3, 501 East Pratt Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21202, USA


South America: Mary Goodwin, Sociedad Conservacionista Audubon de Venezuela, Apartado 80450, Caracas 108, Venezuela

Other regions: David Coles, Windsor Forest Stud, Mill ride, Ascot, Berkshire SL5 8LT England

Editor's Note: Any APA member who bas or knows of any captive blackhooded red siskins should respond as thoroughly and quickly as possible to the above survey. The APA is extremely interested in the conservation of wild populations of birds and this is a viable effort that can have a very positive impact on the future of the wild as well as captive populations of this wonderful but heavily exploited little bird. •


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