Birds

Birds are an important indicator of changes in the environment. Migratory birds depend on a healthy habitat and adequate food through their entire range.

The ABQ BioPark participates in several bird conservation programs, including population programs for the Miconesian kingfisher and the Soccorro dove. Both species are extinct in the wild. Biologists hope that through the help of programs like ours, these birds may one day be reintroduced to their native habitats.

Micronesian kingfisherMicronesian Kingfisher- photo via National Zoo on Flickr

Halcyon cinnamomina cinnamomina

  • Range:  Island of Guam in the Pacific Ocean.
  • Habitat:  Mature forests, clearings and forest edges
  • Diet:  Lizards, insects, hermit crabs, young birds and mice.

By 1988, Micronesian kingfishers had been extirpated from Guam. Their disappearance was largely due to the brown tree snake, a species introduced to the island during World War II. Guam had no predatory snakes before then.  It decimated many native bird populations by preying on unwary nesting birds and their eggs.

Captive breeding program started by U.S. zoos in 1984 with 29 wild caught birds.  Today, there are around 100 birds alive in captivity, including the two males at the ABQ BioPark.  Biologists hope eventually to reintroduce the species to Guam.

Socorro DoveSocorro Dove

Zenaida Graysoni

  • Range: Socorro islands, Mexico.
  • Habitat: Forested areas.
  • Diet: Eats only fruit.

The Socorro dove, which lived exclusively on Soccorro Island in the Revillagigedo Archipelago of Mexico, is extinct in the wild. The existing captive population has descended from a group of birds collected by the California Academy of Sciences in the late 1920s. 

The Socorro Dove Project is an international endeavour of more than 25 institutions in twelve countries whose common objective is to return the rare Socorro Dove, to its ancestral home. The Socorro Dove Project began 20 years ago thanks to the efforts of the late Dr. Luis Baptista, founder of the Island Endemics Foundation.

Our Actions Matter!

Learn more about other organizations doing bird conservation and find out how you can help.