Principal researchers: Juan J. Negro, Jose H. Sarasola
The Crowned Solitary Eagle (Buteogallus coronatus) is one of the rarest and most severely threatened birds of prey in the Neotropical region. Its range extends from southern Brazil to northern Patagonia, where it inhabits a variety of forested habitats, including woodlands and other savanna-like landscapes. The species is listed as endangered under the IUCN Red List with a declining world population estimated at less than one thousand reproductive individuals. Reduced population size and range contraction of Crowned Solitary Eagles is suspected to be human induced, including habitat, electrocution, as well as shooting.
Possibly, because Crowned Solitary Eagles occurs in low densities in remote and barely explored areas, little is known about the biology of the species and no information exists on the demography and population connectivity between geographic regions. Likewise, there is a lack of knowledge on the extent to which population decline and range contraction have affected levels of genetic diversity in this species. The main goal of this project is evaluate the genetic status of Crowned Solitary Eagles. Specifically, the project focuses on::
1. Estimate the neutral genetic diversity (microsatellites) and investigate the existence of population structure between populations of this endangered species.
2. Evaluate, using historical and contemporary samples, the genetic impact of the demographic reduction experienced by the Crowned Solitary Eagle.
3. Develop monitoring protocols of the species using non-invasive techniques.