ABSTRACT

Basic population information is often lacking for recently recognized species, yet such information is essential for conservation and management. This study provides a detailed assessment of population size and habitat association in the Madeira Firecrest (Regulus madeirensis). Species abundance and habitat data were collected using a point transect distance sampling method. Estimates of density per habitat type were made, in conjunction with presence and absence data derived from the Madeira bird atlas, to estimate population size and habitat associations. We estimate the population size of the Madeira Firecrest to be 698,300 (95% CI: 523,540–869,960), which greatly exceeds the 10,000 individuals threshold for the IUCN “Vulnerable” category. Distribution and abundance were strongly associated with laurel and heath forest, with 56% of the population found in these 2 habitats. Historically, much of the native laurel and heath forest was lost on Madeira, but these remnant native forest habitats are now protected. Based on the large population size and successful management of the laurel forest habitat, our results suggest there is no immediate risk of a change in conservation status for the Madeira Firecrest.

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