Blue chaffinch threatened by Gran Canary fire

The pine forest habitat of the sub-species of the blue chaffinch (Fringilla teydea polatzeki), found only on Gran Canaria has been decimated by this week’s fire. Until several days ago just 250 of these birds survived on the island. 95% of these birds lived in the Pinewoods of Inagua, Ojeda y Pajonales, precisely where the blaze first broke out. In fact the first people to evacuated were the researchers studying the bird. These researchers have stressed the importance of rebuilding drinking holes. The healthier population of the blue chaffinch on Tenerife seems to be less affected. SEO and follow sub links.

Blue chaffinch photo

Blue chaffinch photo from SEO

Tellingly, the EU Action plan for the Blue chaffinch warned several years that “Forest fires have in the past played an important role in the destruction of Gran Canaria’s pinewoods. At present, a fire in one of the critical Blue Chaffinch areas could have catastrophic results due to the small areas and population involved.”

They also note “The Blue Chaffinch Fringilla teydea is endemic to the Canary Islands and comprises two subspecies, one found on Tenerife (F. t. teydea) and the other on Gran Canaria (F. t. polatzeki). Its habitat is Canary pine Pinus canariensis woodland which is listed in Annex I of the EU Habitats Directive. Although there has not been a census of the Tenerife population, its situation is thought to be stable, while the estimated population on Gran Canaria is 185–260 birds (Moreno 1991), which means that the latter subspecies is classified as Endangered both nationally and internationally.”