A new beginning for the Raso Lark in Cabo Verde

Raso Lark (Alauda razae) is one of the rarest birds in the world and its present status is “Critically Endangered”. The species has been progressively confined to the Raso Islet in Cabo Verde and became extinct in the neighbouring islands mainly because of the human introduction of invasive predators.

Following several years of research and planning supported by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) and the Critical Ecosystems Partnership Fund (CEPF), the reintroduction of Raso Larks in the island of S. Luzia was possible. With the support from MAVA, in April 2018, SPEA (BirdLife Portugal), Biosfera 1 (Cabo Verdean NGO) and DNA (Cabo Verde government) translocated more than 30 Raso Larks from the Raso Islet to the nature reserve of Santa Luzia.

After the first rains of 2018, in June and July, the characteristic mating flights of the Raso Larks were observed in S. Luzia, and in August 2018, a first juvenile was observed.

This first juvenile born on the island since many decades, probably centuries, was seen flying alongside its parents and being fed by one of them. In addition to this first juvenile Raso Lark born outside of the Raso Islet, two other pairs of Raso Larks have been observed performing mating flights. The translocation was a success and becomes an important landmark in the conservation of this endemic species!

The birth of more birds in S. Luzia gives this threatened species a chance. The expansion of the population to new breeding areas will increase the species’ resilience to long periods of drought, bound to increase with global climate change.

It is now of utmost importance to create sustainable dynamics with the local partners involved in this project to enable the effective management of S. Luzia Reserve and the long-term conservation of biodiversity in Cabo Verde one of MAVA’s priorities in West Africa. Read more about our action plans in the region here: sea birds & sea turtles.

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