Proposal (#360) to South American Classification Committee
Add Crested Myna Acridotheres cristatellus from the Hypothetical List to the Main List
SACC Background: Acridotheres cristatellus is currently placed on the Hypothetical List with the comment "Breeding reported in Buenos Aires area of Argentina (Di Giacomo et al. 1993, Mazar Barnett & Pearman 2001)."
History of Acridotheres cristatellus in Argentina: A. cristatellus was first reported in Argentina by the observation of a single bird at Punta Lara reserve, near the city of La Plata, Buenos Aires province, on 14 August 1982 (Moschione 1989); 58 km south-east of Buenos Aires city. Just three years later, in 1985, Crested Myna had been discovered in large numbers in La Plata (Saidon et al. 1988). Thereafter, an expansion into suburbs to the north-west and south of La Plata and Buenos Aires cities appears to have been rapid with flocks of up to 30 reported in the departments of Bernal, Berazategui, Florencio Varela, San Isidro, Quilmes, Hudson, Ribera Norte and Los Talas although simultaneously the species was discovered some 320 km southwards at the coastal town of Santa Clara del Mar, in the partido of Mar Chiquita where, by January 1991, a flock of 120 was reported (Di Giacomo et al. 1993, Chiurla & Martinez 1995, view recent photographs at http://www.avespampa.com.ar/Sturnidae.htm). Between 1991 and 1993, flocks of over 100 were reported from the nearby coastal towns of Mar de Cobo and Villa Mar Chiquita (Chiurla & Martinez 1995). Surveys conducted in August 1998 showed that the species was widespread in at least ten coastal towns and in nearby estancias in south-east Buenos Aires between Mar Chiquita and Mar del Plata with a population which was then considered to number 1000 individuals in that area alone (Zelaya et al. 2001).
Breeding in Argentina: Nest construction has been reported in November and December, eggs have been reported in December, nestlings in December and January and dependent juveniles in November and December (Chiurla 1999, Chiurla & Martinez 1995, pers. obs.).
Recent expansion: In addition to the published reports cited here, P. Grilli (in litt. to MP, June 2008) reported the discovery of a population in the city of Azul, central Buenos Aires province. Until now, populations of A. cristatellus have been restricted to areas close to the R’o de la Plata estuary and in coastal Atlantic towns. However, Azul is far inland, being located 300 km south-west of Buenos Aires city and 280 km west of the Atlantic coast, meaning that there has been another unprecedented expansion.
Conclusion and recommendation: The above synthesis is likely to be a gross underestimate of the current distribution of Acridotheres cristatellus in Argentina which is now a firmly established breeding resident in eastern Buenos Aires province, since its first detection almost 26 years ago. A "Yes" vote would include the species on the Main List and remove it from the Hypothetical List. A "No" vote would retain the species on the Hypothetical List. In the event of a decline due to disease or human intervention, the SACC species status should be reviewed.
CHIURLA, E.H. 1999. Nidificaci—n del Estornino Crestado (Acridotheres cristatellus) en el sudeste de la provincia de Buenos Aires, Argentina. Nuestras Aves 39: 6.
CHIURLA, E.H. & M.M. MARTINEZ. 1995. Observaciones sobre el Estornino Crestado (Acridotheres cristatellus) en el sudeste de la provincia de Buenos Aires. Nuestras Aves 31: 24-25.
DI GIACOMO, A.G., A.S. DI GIACOMO & M. BABARSKAS. 1993. Nuevos registros de Sturnus vulgaris y Acridotheres cristatellus en Buenos Aires. Nuestras Aves 29: 32-33.
MOSCHIONE, F. 1989. Nuevas aves para la Reserva de Punta Lara. Garganchillo 10: 7-11.
SAIDON, M., I. BARRIOS & C. GOMEZ. 1988. Estornino Crestado asilvestrado en Plaza Paso, La Plata. Garganchillo 5: 11-12.
ZELAYA, D., D. FORCELLI, S. GOLDFEDER, D. RAMADORI, M. SILVA CROOME & P. BELLAGAMBA. 2001. El Estornino Crestado (Acridotheres cristatellus) en el sudeste de la provincia de Buenos Aires, Argentina. Nuestras Aves 42: 26-27.
Mark Pearman (Buenos Aires, June 2008)
Comments from Nores: "YES. No hay dudas que la especie est‡ establecida en el este de Buenos Aires. Nicol‡s Rey (com. pers.) tambiŽn observ— una bandada de unos 30 individuos en Santa Clara del Mar (Buenos Aires) en agosto de 1999. Yo he observado tambiŽn a esta especie en Catamarca durante tres a–os seguidos (1982-1984), probablemente el mismo ejemplar, y en la ciudad de C—rdoba en algunas oportunidades, pero pienso que deben ser ejemplares solitarios escapados de cautiverio y no parejas nidificantes."
Comments from Zimmer: "YES. Evidence presented appears to confirm a population that is expanding both geographically and on the local level. And, for the record, this is more inspiring than Graylag Goose!"
Comments from Stotz: "YES. Evidence of establishment seems good. The only nagging issue is that this species was "established" in British Colombia and is now extirpated there. However, this looks like a more certain establishment than the relatively limited geographic area the British Colombia birds occupied."
Comments from Schulenberg: "YES. It would have nice to have kept South America sturnid-free, but I guess it was inevitable that we'd lose the fight."
Comments from Jaramillo: "YES - Solid data on populations and increases."
Comments from Stiles: "YES. By any criterion, this species also seems to qualify for "established" status. Just for curiosity, were there any attempts (fortunately unsuccessful if so) to introduce Sturnus vulgaris into South America?"
Comments from Pacheco: "YES. Um sim inequ’voco. PopulaŤ‹o residente, est‡vel e em expans‹o."