DOI: 10.1111/acv.12927 ISSN: 1367-9430

A multiple trait assessment provides insights into the short‐time viability of a newly founded population in an endangered island passerine

Juan Carlos Illera, Alejandro Delgado, Domingo Trujillo, Luis M. Carrascal
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation
  • Ecology


Determining the effectiveness of conservation actions is a priority in conservation biology, especially in island ecosystems which can host large numbers of endemic and often threatened species. In this study, we have brought together a genetic, body condition and breeding success assessment with the aim of evaluating the viability of a newly founded population of the endangered Gran Canaria blue chaffinch (Fringilla polatzeki), the forest passerine species with the most restricted distribution in the Western Palearctic. The species occurs exclusively in the Canary pine forests (Pinus canariensis) of the island of Gran Canaria, with the Inagua nature reserve harbouring the highest number individuals. In 2010, a translocation program was initiated within the same island in the nearby pine forests of La Cumbre with the goal of establishing a viable breeding population. Genetic results revealed that La Cumbre shows genetic parameters (diversity, inbreeding, and relatedness) similar to the core source of Inagua, which contrasts with the reduced genetic diversity expected due to the small size of the newly founded population. The biometric and body condition results (wing and tarsus length, body mass, and length asymmetry of the tail feathers), together with the breeding success (nest survival and number of fledglings per successful breeding attempt), were also similar in both populations. Overall, these findings suggest that the translocation program has been successful and provide insights on the effectiveness of the actions performed. Our evaluation also delivers future avenues for the conservation planning in other upland forest endangered avian species inhabiting island ecosystems, especially those threatened by the effects of global warming.

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