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ABA Introduced Species Question (1 Viewer)

lgonz1008

Well-known member
United States
This is mostly for fellow American birders, but any input would be appreciated. Recently in Central Florida in an eBird hotspot called Belle Glade Marina & Torry Island birders have reported a number of Florida rarities like Vermilion Flycatcher, Tropical Kingbird and out of season Dicksissels. However, there has also been reports of a small flock of some birds that I could only consider escapees which are Tricolored Munia, beautiful finchlike bird from Asia that's known to have some feral populations around Central America, the Caribbean and Northern South America.

My question is the following, why is this species considered countable by ABA on the ground of vagrant birds from Cuba found in Florida are "wild birds"? How can they tell if it's vagrant or escaped and why is the ABA allowing such a species in the countable exotics lists, but not some birds that have been breeding within the ABA for decades?

Would love to get some input on this, since eBird has also blown up the past few weeks with dozens of birders going to see these birds, would any of you consider these birds worth the chase or would it be best to treat them like the introduced exotic waterfowl we see in city ponds and lakes around the world?
 

Mysticete

Well-known member
United States
IIRC, this is the only vagrant species on the ABA list from a non-native population...am I correct?

I think the fact that their are multiple records from the Dry Tortugas, which does regularly get strays from other Caribbean islands, while also being remote enough to make an escapee bird feel...not likely? would be the main reason the bird at all is considered valid for the ABA checklist/Florida checklist inclusion. It's an odd case for sure

As for the ABA, the "rules" are basically as long as its on the checklist, its totally up to your discretion to count it. I would probably, if I was in the area, go and see them, not lying. Hell I twitched the Winnebago Shelduck. I certainly went after the munias for my fantasy ABA checklist a short time ago. So it's really just down to a personal choice.
 

lgonz1008

Well-known member
United States
IIRC, this is the only vagrant species on the ABA list from a non-native population...am I correct?

I think the fact that their are multiple records from the Dry Tortugas, which does regularly get strays from other Caribbean islands, while also being remote enough to make an escapee bird feel...not likely? would be the main reason the bird at all is considered valid for the ABA checklist/Florida checklist inclusion. It's an odd case for sure

As for the ABA, the "rules" are basically as long as its on the checklist, its totally up to your discretion to count it. I would probably, if I was in the area, go and see them, not lying. Hell I twitched the Winnebago Shelduck. I certainly went after the munias for my fantasy ABA checklist a short time ago. So it's really just down to a personal choice.
Thanks for the input, I decided to might as well go for it since the hotspot also had a lot of other cool year birds/Florida rarities like Vermillion Flycatcher, Tropical Kingbird, Dickcissel and a Indigo x Painted Bunting (hybrid).

In the end, I got my first lifer of the year, but it feels a bit wrong still to get a plastic as said lifer.
 

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Mysticete

Well-known member
United States
Thanks for the input, I decided to might as well go for it since the hotspot also had a lot of other cool year birds/Florida rarities like Vermillion Flycatcher, Tropical Kingbird, Dickcissel and a Indigo x Painted Bunting (hybrid).

In the end, I got my first lifer of the year, but it feels a bit wrong still to get a plastic as said lifer.
Hey, I spent my last full day in California searching for whydahs and white-eyes, so who am I to judge :p
 

Maroon Jay

Airborne
Canada
From what I have read, a species is counted if it has a self-sustaining population and has been around for several years, but not birds that have escaped or been released recently and may not survive in the wild.
 

Dave Ball

Well-known member
From what I have read, a species is counted if it has a self-sustaining population and has been around for several years, but not birds that have escaped or been released recently and may not survive in the wild.
Yes, this is how it normally works. The interesting question raised by the Munia is the status of a bird with an established population in a neighbouring country which then occurs as a vagrant. The British List actually has a(n empty) category for this, C5 - from the BOU:

  • C5 – Vagrant naturalized species – species from established naturalized populations abroad, e.g. possibly some Ruddy Shelducks Tadorna ferruginea occurring in Britain. There are currently no species in category C5.
Quite a lot of Ruddy Shelducks have turned up in Britain in recent years, they are almost certainly from established populations on the near continent (edit: rather than local escapees), but this is not yet officially recognised, though inevitably it eventually will be ;)
 

raymie

Well-known member
United States
From what I have read, a species is counted if it has a self-sustaining population and has been around for several years, but not birds that have escaped or been released recently and may not survive in the wild.
That's the rules on paper, but there are multiple species that meet all of the requirements but aren't considered countable for some reason.
 

lgonz1008

Well-known member
United States
That's the rules on paper, but there are multiple species that meet all of the requirements but aren't considered countable for some reason.
In Miami alone, Common Hill Myna, Chestnut-fronted Macaw, Red-masked Parakeet and Orange-winged Parrot all fall in this category. Self-sustaining sadly doesn't mean approved unless a study is done and most times, studies are given to the natives since those are the ones that can/should be given protection.
 

MJB

Well-known member
In Miami alone, Common Hill Myna, Chestnut-fronted Macaw, Red-masked Parakeet and Orange-winged Parrot all fall in this category. Self-sustaining sadly doesn't mean approved unless a study is done and most times, studies are given to the natives since those are the ones that can/should be given protection.
But to define what protection is needed, it should contain data on any risk to native species from introduced species, whose status can be established only by introduced species first being studied...⭕⭕⭕🔄🔄🔄
MJB
 

raymie

Well-known member
United States
I would absolutely counts these munias, it's no different than seeing a Eurasian Tree Sparrow in Michigan, for example, where it would be a vagrant from the St. Louis area and people would still count it.
 

lgonz1008

Well-known member
United States
But to define what protection is needed, it should contain data on any risk to native species from introduced species, whose status can be established only by introduced species first being studied...⭕⭕⭕🔄🔄🔄
MJB
It's been confirmed that at least from the exotics found in Florida, only the Gray-headed Swamphen, Monk Parakeet and European Starling pose an actual threat to native ecosystems or damage to manmade structures/agriculture. But understandably, these species can't be protected since they aren't native, which is why in Miami, there's a woman trying to pass a law to at least forbid the bird trapping using cruel methods (sticky traps for parrots and macaws that hurt the birds feet or cutting down nesting holes).

The confusion continues thanks to the fact that some natural colonizers are not protected, best examples being Cattle Egret and Smooth-billed Ani, both species that colonized Florida in the 1900s, but they are not protected like a Bald Eagle or even a Wood Thrush is, which resulted in the extirpation of the Ani from the state. Another example is the American Flamingo that was a previously breeding bird in the Southern Everglades and the Florida Keys, but the birds are not being given any protection right, even though species like Aplomado Falcon have had many reintroduction attempts in the US.
 

Mysticete

Well-known member
United States
I would absolutely counts these munias, it's no different than seeing a Eurasian Tree Sparrow in Michigan, for example, where it would be a vagrant from the St. Louis area and people would still count it.
I think the concern is that due to the active trade in songbirds, it's not clear if these are "natural" vagrants or if they represent some recently released birds. Not that this is some sort of new concern, plenty of potential vagrants are dismissed on the same grounds, to the point where it sometimes just boggles my mind. (the original Hooded crane situation, the early Steller's Sea Eagle chatter, San Diego's Gray Thrasher...etc)
 

raymie

Well-known member
United States
I think the concern is that due to the active trade in songbirds, it's not clear if these are "natural" vagrants or if they represent some recently released birds. Not that this is some sort of new concern, plenty of potential vagrants are dismissed on the same grounds, to the point where it sometimes just boggles my mind. (the original Hooded crane situation, the early Steller's Sea Eagle chatter, San Diego's Gray Thrasher...etc)
Eurasian Tree Sparrows are also in the private trade and yet no one questions their prevalence - but the Tricolored Munias have never been accepted? I think it's just because they cross international borders.

Hooded Crane, Steller's Sea Eagle, and Gray Thrasher are not privately traded at all I believe (and if they are it's extremely rare and/or illegal). It sometimes seems like people go out of their way not to count some birds.
 

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