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Dr. Mark Hulme

Dr. Mark Hulme
University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago

Conserving the critically endangered Pawi (Trinidad Piping Guan, Pipile pipile)

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The critically endangered Trinidad Piping Guan or Pawi is the only species of bird endemic to the island of Trinidad. Restricted to moist forested habitat, the population has been estimated between 70 and 200 individuals – and the estimate is suspect as it is based on old (nearly 20 years old), sparse data and a methodology not suited to this arboreal bird. There is an urgent requirement for a more up-to-date and accurate distribution assessment.

Pawi are difficult to visually detect and live in challenging forest terrain to survey. However, the Pawi has a distinctive piping call and wing drumming behavior. For the first time ever in the Northern Range forests of Trinidad and Tobago, Dr. Mark Hulme and his researchers will use audio recordings to survey the distribution of this elusive species. The recordings will be analyzed using Wildlife Acoustics’ Kaleidoscope Pro 5 software.

The results will form the basis of an expansion of the Pawi survey from estimating the current distribution in the Northern Range to a preliminary abundance estimate and eventually a full population estimate once all suitable habitat on the island have been covered.

It is hoped that this research will inform and inspire similar methodologies for this bird and other cryptic Galliformes in Latin America and the rest of the world.