Birds are in danger of extinction because of… wrong love

Loài chim có nguy cơ tuyệt chủng vì... yêu nhầm - Ảnh 1.

A purebred black-eared blackbird in Victoria – Photo: Murraylands and Riverland Landscape Board

The black-eared blackbird mainly resides in some green areas in the states of South Australia and Victoria (Australia), and is often sought after by bird-of-prey enthusiasts.

The special facial features make them look like masked superheroes in cartoons. Their bright orange-yellow beak stands out, contrasting with their light gray plumage.

However, according to Australian scientists, finding a genetically pure black-eared black-eared blackbird is increasingly difficult, even in places like “finding a needle in a haystack”.

An ambitious project funded by the federal government is currently underway to protect the endangered black-eared starling.

Project leader Dr. Wendy Stubbs and her ecological research team explain why they are threatened: The vegetation in the area has changed for agricultural purposes. Dams were built, herds of cattle and many species of birds “encroached deeply” into forests where they had rarely appeared before…

As a result, the black-eared starling’s habitat is “divided into pieces” with many animals such as goats, rabbits, and kangaroos from households. There is also a yellow-billed starling.

Unlike the black-eared starling, the yellow-billed starling has long been accustomed to living with many other species. When black-eared starlings and yellow-billed starlings live closer together, they are more likely to misbreed.

Hybrids of these two species are increasing in significant numbers, leading to a serious decline in purebred black-eared starlings.

Loài chim có nguy cơ tuyệt chủng vì... yêu nhầm - Ảnh 2.

Black-eared black-eared blackbird “hybrid” – Photo: Sandy Horne

Dr. Stubbs’s research team will survey 200 favorite habitats of black-eared starlings in South Australia and Victoria to collect genetic samples for analysis. From there, the team will calculate the level of interbreeding taking place between the two species and come up with ways to identify purebred birds.

In the near future, Dr. Stubbs will also use “strategic removal” of key yellow-billed starlings from the black-eared starling’s habitat to reduce the rate of mistaken “befriending” between them. .

“That means we can keep black-eared starlings in our ecosystem,” Dr. Stubbs said.

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