[Federal Register: November 22, 2006 (Volume 71, Number 225)]
[Proposed Rules]               
[Page 67530-67540]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 17

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Proposed Rule To 
List Six Foreign Birds as Endangered

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Proposed rule.


SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), propose to 
list six avian species, black stilt (Himantopus novaezelandiae), 
caerulean Paradise-flycatcher (Eutrichomyias rowleyi), giant ibis 
(Pseudibis gigantea), Gurney's pitta (Pitta gurneyi), Socorro 
mockingbird (Mimodes graysoni), and long-legged thicketbird 
(Trichocichla rufa) as endangered, pursuant to the Endangered Species 
Act of 1973, as amended (Act). This proposal, if made final, would 
extend the Act's protection to these species. The Service seeks data 
and comments from the public on this proposal.

DATES: We must receive comments and information from all interested 
parties by February 20, 2007. Public hearing requests must be received 
by January 8, 2007.

ADDRESSES: Submit any comments, information, and questions by mail to

[[Page 67531]]

the Chief, Division of Scientific Authority, U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service, 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, Room 750, Arlington, VA 22203; or by 
fax to 703-358-2276; by e-mail to ScientificAuthority@fws.gov or 
through the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov. 

Comments and supporting information will be available for public 
inspection, by appointment, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. 
at the above address.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Marie T. Maltese at the above address, 
or by telephone, 703-358-1708; fax, 703-358-2276; or e-mail, 



    In this proposed rule, we propose to list six foreign bird species 
as endangered, pursuant to the Act (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.). These 
species are: giant ibis (Pseudibis gigantea), black stilt (Himantopus 
novaezelandiae), Gurney's pitta (Pitta gurneyi), Socorro mockingbird 
(Mimodes graysoni), caerulean Paradise-flycatcher (Eutrichomyias 
rowleyi), and long-legged thicketbird (Trichocichla rufa).

Black stilt

    The black stilt, or kaki, was first described by Gould in 1841 
(BirdLife International 2006). A small black wading bird with long red 
legs, the species was formerly widespread across New Zealand. In 1950, 
the total population was estimated at 1,000 birds; however, within one 
decade the population decreased to fewer than 100 birds (Pierce 1996). 
When a concerted effort to manage the species began in 1981, only 23 
adults remained in the wild population (Van Heezik et al. 2005). In 
August 2000, there were 48 adults in the wild, of which 15-18 were 
females. An additional 11 male and 9 female adult black stilts are held 
in captivity (Maloney and Murray 2001). Despite the release of captive-
hatched young, by 2005, only 4-13 breeding pairs were observed in the 
wild (Van Heezik et al. 2005). The species is listed as ``Critically 
Endangered'' by the IUCN (World Conservation Union) and the New Zealand 
Department of Conservation (Maloney and Murray 2001), and is considered 
one of the most threatened shorebirds in the world (IUCN 2005).

Caerulean Paradise-flycatcher

    The caerulean Paradise-flycatcher was first recorded in 1874, and 
was not observed again until recently (Wardill and Riley 2000). It is 
only known to occur in one small, unprotected forest on the island of 
Sangihe, north of Sulawesi, Indonesia (BirdLife International 2001; 
British Broadcasting Corporation 2003). This flycatcher is a sedentary 
insectivore that prefers lower-elevation primary forest habitat; 
however, individuals have recently been found in steep, forested 
gullies (Birdlife International 2004).
    In a review of Indonesia's development, degraded rainforests, and 
decreasing biological diversity, Thompson (1996) noted that the 
Indonesian rain forests are biologically rich, with more than 10,000 
species of trees, 500 species of mammals, and 1,500 species of birds, 
all playing a vital role in regulating the ecosystem. However, 
Indonesia also has the world's longest list of species threatened with 
extinction, and in his review Thompson stated that the caerulean 
Paradise-flycatcher was believed to have become extinct during the 
1980s. There were no sightings of live caerulean Paradise-flycatchers 
during the last century, and the species was known only from the type 
specimen. Searches in 1985 and 1986 failed to locate the species, 
fueling the belief that the species was extinct. However, in 1998, a 
single female was discovered by a joint expedition of the University of 
Sam Ratulangi in Indonesia and Britain's York University. Subsequent 
expeditions located a population of at least 21 birds in 6 localities 
around the base of Gunung Sahendaruman, a mountain on the small island 
of Sangihe (Birdlife International 2004). The total caerulean Paradise-
flycatcher population is currently estimated to range from 19 to 135 
birds (BirdLife International 2005). The species is considered 
``Critically Endangered'' by the IUCN because of its low estimated 
population and extremely limited range, both which continue to undergo 
major and continuing declines (IUCN 2005).

Giant ibis

    The giant ibis is a lowland bird found in both open and forested 
wetland habitats (Collar et al. 1994). It inhabits open deciduous 
forest in extreme southern Laos and a portion of northern and eastern 
Cambodia (BirdLife International 2001). The species' range has been 
remarkably reduced, considering its historic range spanned central and 
peninsular Thailand, central and northern Cambodia, southern and 
central Laos, and southern Viet Nam (King et al. 1975, as cited in 
Collar et al. 1994). It appears that the species has always been 
uncommon and local throughout its range; sightings are extremely rare 
(Matheu and del Hoyo 1992; BirdLife International 2000). The remaining 
giant ibis population is found in Cambodia, although several sightings 
of giant ibis have been reported from southern Laos. The species is 
considered extirpated from Viet Nam and Thailand (BirdLife 
International 2000).
    The IUCN categorizes the giant ibis as a ``Critically Endangered'' 
species (IUCN 2005). The current status and trend for the giant ibis is 
described as declining (IUCN 2005). The entire giant ibis population 
was estimated at about 250 individuals in 1997, but current estimates 
put the population at fewer than 50 mature individuals (BirdLife 
International 2000).

Gurney's pitta

    The Gurney's pitta, first described by Hume in 1875, is classified 
as ``Critically Endangered'' by the IUCN, and is considered to be on 
the verge of extinction (IUCN 2005). Until recently, the species was 
known only from a single declining population in Thailand, which 
occupies an extremely small and declining range (Rose 2003). However, 
in 2003, surveys in southern Tenasserim, Myanmar, revealed a minimum of 
4 populations, although these are extremely small, numbering no more 
than 10-12 pairs at a given location (BirdLife International 2003c).
    The Gurney's pitta was formerly considered common across much of 
its range in lowland evergreen forests in peninsular Thailand and 
adjacent southern Tenasserim, Myanmar. However, the species was not 
documented in Myanmar from 1914 to 2003, and between 1952 and 1986, 
there were no reported field observations in Thailand. A few pittas 
were finally located in a small forest patch in southern Thailand with 
the help of a wildlife smuggler in Bangkok, after he was found to have 
an individual bird in his possession (Round and Gretton 1989). 
Intensive surveys since 1986 located the species in at least five 
localities, although it has since been extirpated from all but one of 
these areas (BirdLife International 2000). The remaining viable 
population is located in a 2-square-mile area of Khao Nor Chuchi (Round 
and Gretton 1989) and declined from 44-45 pairs in 1986, to 9 pairs in 
1997, most of which were located outside of protected areas (BirdLife 
International 2000). Surveys in 2000 and 2001 later estimated the total 
world population of the Gurney's pitta to be no more than 30 
individuals, with 11-12 territories located in Khao Nor Chuchi and 
another 2 at nearby Tambon Aw Tong, in Trang (Rose 2003). Field

[[Page 67532]]

surveys in Myanmar resulted in the discovery of four small populations. 
BirdLife International has begun comprehensive surveys of remaining 
populations in southern Myanmar and is working to conserve remaining 
lowland forests there (BirdLife International 2004, 2005).

Socorro Mockingbird

    The Socorro mockingbird is endemic to Socorro Island in the 
Revillagigedo Islands, Mexico (BirdLife International 2000). In 1925, 
it was the most abundant land-based bird in the area and was still 
considered abundant in 1958. However, the species began to decline over 
the next 20 years, and by 1978, it was believed to be on the verge of 
extinction (BirdLife International 2000). From 1988 through 1990, an 
estimated population of 50-200 pairs of mockingbirds remained in the 
area (Castellanos and Rodriguez-Estrella 1993, as cited in BirdLife 
International 2000). By 1993-1994, an estimated 350 individuals 
remained (Mart and Curry 1996, as cited in BirdLife International 
2000), and of the 215 birds that were banded, 55 percent were subadults 
(BirdLife International 2000). The large percentage of subadults 
suggests that the number of mature individuals is quite small (IUCN 
2005). Current estimates of population size for the species range from 
50 to 249 individuals (BirdLife International 2000). The Socorro 
mockingbird is listed as ``Critically Endangered'' by the IUCN (IUCN 
    The Socorro mockingbird dwells in moist dwarf forest and ravines 
with a mixture of shrubs above 600 meters in altitude (Mart and Curry 
1996, as cited in BirdLife International 2000). Habitat vegetation is 
dominated by several tree species, including Ilex socorrensis, 
Guettarda insularis, and Oreopanax xalapensis (BirdLife International 
2000). Understory vegetation includes Triumfetta socorrensis and 
Eupatorium pacificum (BirdLife International 2000). The species is less 
common in taller forest patches and groves of fig (Ficus cotinifolia) 
at low and mid elevations, and is no longer present in areas of Croton 
masonii scrub near sea-level (Mart and Curry 1996, as cited in BirdLife 
International 2000). The species was previously widespread in all 
vegetation types on the Island, including scrub, woodland, and woodland 
edge (Cody 2005). Its current range is extremely limited and continuing 
to decline (BirdLife International 2000).

Long-Legged Thicketbird

    The long-legged thicketbird, originally described by Reichenow in 
1890, has long been considered extinct and was only recently 
rediscovered by researchers after an absence of sightings since 1894 
(BirdLife International 2003b). It is classified as ``Data Deficient'' 
by the IUCN (IUCN 2005). A taxon is designated as Data Deficient when 
there is inadequate information to make a direct, or indirect, 
assessment of its risk of extinction based on its distribution and/or 
population status. Listing of taxa in this category indicates that more 
information is required and acknowledges the possibility that future 
research will show that a threatened classification is appropriate 
(IUCN 2004). On November 28, 2003, BirdLife International announced 
that the species had been located during a survey of rare birds in 
Fiji. The long-legged thicketbird is only found in dense undergrowth on 
the mountains of Fiji. Researchers, it was reported, discovered 12 
pairs in Wabu, a remote Forest Reserve on the island of Viti Levu, in 
Fiji (BirdLife International 2003b). The Darwin Initiative funded the 
rare bird survey, which was conducted by BirdLife International, and 
the project's coordinator was the first to hear the thicketbird's song. 
It was this song that revealed the species' presence to the researchers 
as they were recording the previously undescribed and unknown song 
(BirdLife International 2003b). Nine pairs were found along a 2-km 
length of stream in dense undergrowth thickets. Researchers believe 
these 18 birds reflect a relatively high local density in this unlogged 
forest at an elevation of 800-1000 meters (BirdLife International 
2003b). Two of the pairs were accompanied by recently fledged 
juveniles. Encouraged by identifying the species' song, researchers 
plan to fully assess the population's status and develop a conservation 
plan. The local residents named the secretive thicketbird ``Manu 
Kalou,'' or ``Spirit Bird,'' during the 19th century because of its 
ethereal voice. The thicketbird is only known from four birds that were 
collected from 1890 to 1894, and unconfirmed reports of sightings in 
1967, 1973, and 1991 (BirdLife International 2000). Two individuals of 
a subspecies, Trichocichla rufa clunei, were discovered in 1974, but 
since then, there has been no evidence of its continued existence 
(BirdLife International 2003b).
    We had previously concluded from the best available scientific and 
commercial information that the long-legged thicketbird was likely to 
be extinct, and listing the species was no longer warranted. However, 
we received information in response to the Annual Notice of Findings 
indicating that the species exists, albeit in very small numbers. The 
magnitude of the threat to the species is high, and the immediacy of 
threat is imminent. Therefore, we assigned this species a listing 
priority ranking of 1 and determined that listing this species is 
warranted at this time.

Previous Federal Action

    Section 4(b)(3)(A) of the Act requires the Service to make a 
finding known as a ``90-day finding'' on whether a petition to list, 
delist, or reclassify a species has presented substantial information 
indicating that the requested action may be warranted. To the maximum 
extent practicable, the finding shall be made within 90 days following 
receipt of the petition and published promptly in the Federal Register. 
If the 90-day finding is positive (i.e., the petition has presented 
substantial information indicating that the requested action may be 
warranted), Section 4(b)(3)(A) of the Act requires the Service to 
commence a status review of the species if one has not already been 
initiated under the Service's internal candidate assessment process. In 
addition, Section 4(b)(3)(B) of the Act also requires the Service to 
make a finding within 12 months following receipt of the petition on 
whether the requested action is warranted, not warranted, or warranted 
but precluded by higher-priority listing actions (this finding is 
referred to as the ``12-month finding''). The 12-month finding is also 
to be published promptly in the Federal Register. If the listing of a 
species is found to be warranted but precluded, then the petition to 
list that species is treated as if it is a petition that is resubmitted 
on the date of the finding, and is therefore subject to a new 12-month 
finding within one year. The Service publishes an Annual Notice of 
Resubmitted Petition Findings (Annual Notice) for all foreign species 
for which listings were previously found to be warranted but precluded.
    On November 28, 1980, we received a petition (1980 petition) from 
Dr. Warren B. King, Chairman, United States Section, International 
Council for Bird Preservation (ICBP), to add 77 foreign and native bird 
species to the list of Threatened and Endangered Wildlife (CFR 17.11). 
The species covered by the 1980 petition comprised 19 native species 
and 58 foreign species, including the black stilt and long-legged 
thicketbird (or long-legged warbler, which was the common name used in 
the petition). In response to the 1980 petition, we published a Notice 
to announce a positive 90-day finding and

[[Page 67533]]

initiation of status review on May 12, 1981 (46 FR 26464). On January 
20, 1984 (49 FR 2485), we published a Notice of findings on pending 
petitions and description of progress in listing actions (hereafter 
referred to as a Notice of findings), but no action on the 1980 
petition was discussed. On May 10, 1985 (50 FR 19761), we published a 
Notice of findings in which we found that the listing of all 58 foreign 
bird species listed on the 1980 petition was warranted but precluded by 
higher-priority listing actions (warranted but precluded). In our next 
Notice of findings, published on January 9, 1986 (51 FR 996), we found 
that the listing of 54 species from the 1980 petition (including the 
black stilt and the long-legged thicketbird) continued to be warranted 
but precluded, whereas new information caused us to find that the 
listing of the 4 remaining species was no longer warranted. We 
published additional Notices of findings on July 7, 1988 (53 FR 25511), 
December 29, 1988 (53 FR 52746), January 6, 1989 (54 FR 554), and 
December 29, 1989 (54 FR 554) in which the listing of the black stilt 
and long-legged thicketbird remained warranted but precluded.
    On December 16, 1991, in response to a petition submitted by the 
ICBP that we received on May 6, 1991 (1991 petition), we published a 
positive 90-day finding and announced the initiation of a status review 
of 53 foreign birds (56 FR 65207). The 1991 petition included the giant 
ibis, Gurney's pitta, Socorro mockingbird, and caerulean Paradise-
flycatcher among the 53 foreign birds that the petitioner proposed to 
be added to the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife. On March 
28, 1994 (59 FR 14496), we published a Proposed rule to list 30 African 
birds from both the 1980 and 1991 petitions, but in the same Federal 
Register document we included a Notice of findings in which we 
announced our determination that listing of 38 remaining species from 
the 1991 petition was warranted but precluded. The species whose 
listing was found to be warranted but precluded included the giant 
ibis, Gurney's pitta, Socorro mockingbird, and caerulean Paradise-
flycatcher. Our most recent Annual Notice of Findings on Resubmitted 
Petitions for Foreign Species; Annual Description of Progress on 
Listing Actions (Annual Notice of Findings) was published in the 
Federal Register on May 21, 2004 (69 FR 29354). In that Annual Notice 
of Findings, based on numerical rankings and other listing priorities, 
we found that listing five of the previously petitioned species was now 
warranted. The five species included the black stilt, caerulean 
Paradise-flycatcher, giant ibis, Gurney's pitta, and Socorro 
mockingbird. We later determined that listing the long-legged 
thicketbird was warranted at this time, after information received in 
response to the Annual Notice of Findings revealed that the species 
still exists in very low numbers.

Summary of Factors Affecting the Black Stilt, Caerulean Paradise-
Flycatcher, Giant Ibis, Gurney's Pitta, Socorro Mockingbird, and Long-
Legged Thicketbird

    Section 4(a)(1) of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1533(a)(1)) and regulations 
promulgated to implement the listing provisions of the Act (50 CFR part 
424) set forth the procedures for adding species to the Federal lists. 
A species may be determined to be an endangered or threatened species 
due to one or more of the five factors described in section 4(a)(1). 
These factors and their application to the black stilt, caerulean 
Paradise-flycatcher, giant ibis, Gurney's pitta, Socorro mockingbird, 
and Long-legged thicketbird follow.

Black Stilt

    A. The present or threatened destruction, modification, or 
curtailment of the black stilt's habitat or range. Habitat loss is one 
of the primary threats to the survival of the black stilt. Although the 
black stilt was once widespread throughout the wetlands of North and 
South Islands, New Zealand, the species' current breeding range is now 
restricted to wetlands and rivers of the Upper Waitaki Valley, on the 
eastern side of the Southern Alps, in central South Island, New Zealand 
(Maloney and Murray 2001). A few black stilts winter on North Island 
(BirdLife International 2000). New Zealand's black stilt recovery team 
has determined that approximately 10 percent of the population migrates 
to post-breeding grounds in coastal Canterbury and the northern North 
Island estuaries, where it utilizes these sites from February through 
June, before returning to breeding sites in July and August (Maloney 
and Murray 2001). The black stilt requires large areas of habitat for 
feeding and nesting. Preferred habitat includes riverbanks, lakeshores, 
swamps, and shallow ponds (Maloney and Murray 2001).
    Habitat loss and degradation are largely human-induced and are the 
most difficult threats to control when undertaking the recovery of the 
species (IUCN 2005). Breeding grounds and nesting sites have been 
eliminated by drainage for agricultural purposes and diversion of 
rivers for hydroelectric development (Collar et al. 1994). Further 
habitat disruption has been attributed to overgrazing of wetlands, 
water extraction for agricultural irrigation, river channelization and 
modification for flood control schemes, and the proliferation of 
introduced weeds (Maloney and Murray 2001). Land is seldom returned to 
its original state once it has been modified for agriculture or flood-
control purposes. The lack of suitable habitat for feeding and 
successful nesting increases the species' risk of extinction.
    B. Overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or 
educational purposes. There is no known threat to the species from use 
for commercial, recreational, scientific, or educational purposes.
    C. Disease or predation. Researchers at the Auckland Zoo Wildlife 
Health and Research Centre have identified a number of ``diseases of 
concern'' for black stilts and other wading birds (Jakob-Hoff 2001). 
The diseases are considered threats to the wild population, 
particularly when releasing captive-reared birds to augment the wild 
population. These diseases include salmonellosis, yersiniosis, 
campylobacteriosis, pasteurellosis (fowl cholera), capillariasis, 
cestodiasis, trematodiasis, avian malaria, and coccidiosis (Jakob-Hoff 
2001). Often illness and mortality in captive-reared birds can be 
attributed to deficient husbandry methods; therefore, improved captive-
rearing husbandry techniques have been developed. The need for a 
surveillance program to determine the prevalence of significant disease 
outbreaks in wild black stilts, and other wading birds, has been 
recommended, so that pre-release quarantine and health-screening 
protocols for captive-reared birds can be developed to protect wild 
birds (Jakob-Hoff 2001).
    Although habitat loss is a primary threat to the survival of the 
black stilt, the other is predation by animals that have been 
introduced to New Zealand, including feral cats (Felis catus), ferrets 
(Mustelo furo), stoats (M. erminea), hedgehogs (Erinaceus europaeus), 
and brown rats (Rattus norvegicus) (BirdLife International 2001, 2005). 
In addition, populations of avian predators, such as the Australian 
harrier (Circus approximans) and kelp gull (Larus dominicanus), are 
unnaturally high because of human-induced changes, such as the 
introduction of rabbits, agricultural development, and the presence of 
rubbish dumps (Maloney and Murray 2001). Most of the predation occurs 
at sunset or sunrise (Sanders and Maloney 2002). Sanders and Maloney

[[Page 67534]]

(2002) observed cats taking adult birds during their study in the Upper 
Waitaki Basin, South Island.
    The black stilt's life history and nesting behavior also contribute 
to heavy predation losses experienced by the species. They are solitary 
nesters, with a lengthy fledgling period, and exhibit ineffective anti-
predator behavior, all factors contributing to significant mortality of 
nestlings and fledglings (Pierce 1996). They also prefer dry, stable 
riverbank locations for nesting, which may increase their 
susceptibility to predation by mammalian predators, such as feral cats 
and ferrets, which use the banks as pathways (Pierce 1986, as cited in 
Collar et al. 1994; Maloney and Murray 2001). Despite 20 years of 
predator trapping, there is only limited evidence to suggest that 
predator trapping is beneficial to the survival of the black stilt 
(Keedwell et al. 2002).
    D. The inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms The species is 
not protected in the Appendices of the Convention on International 
Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) (CITES 
    The black stilt is a taonga species for the Ngai Tahu, the native 
tribal population in New Zealand. Taonga species are birds, plants, and 
other animals found within the Ngai Tahu Claim Area. Taonga species of 
the Ngai Tahu are legally recognized under the Ngai Tahu Claims 
Settlement Act of 1998, which requires the New Zealand Department of 
Conservation to consult with and have particular regard to the views of 
the Ngai Tahu when making management decisions concerning these species 
(Maloney and Murray 2001).
    E. Other natural or manmade factors affecting the continued 
existence of the species. Conservation efforts for the species have 
been guided by two recovery plans, the first published in 1993 and a 
second approved in 2002; the latter covers the period 2001-2011. The 
goal of the current recovery plan is to increase the black stilt 
population within the next 10 years to more than 250 breeding 
individuals, with a mean annual recruitment rate that exceeds the mean 
annual adult mortality rate (Maloney and Murray 2001). A multi-phased 
program will be used to achieve this goal. The first phase involves 
captive-rearing black stilts and releasing large numbers of young. The 
second phase will utilize scientific research to determine the primary 
causes of adult and chick mortality and develop mitigation measures to 
prevent excess mortality (Maloney and Murray 2001). It should be noted 
that all of the threats that have resulted in the decline of the 
species still exist throughout its historic range (Maloney and Murray 
    The black stilt's breeding success is very low; for example, from 
1977 to 1979, only 2 (6.1 percent) of the 33 chicks that hatched in 
unmanaged nests survived to fledge. Breeding success (nesting success 
plus breeding success) for the same period was 0.9 percent. In 1981, 
the New Zealand Department of Conservation undertook management of the 
wild black stilt population. Predator control was initiated, which 
resulted in fledging and breeding increases to 32.5 percent and 10.8 
percent, respectively. From 1992 through 1999, utilizing limited 
predator control and artificial incubation, the fledging rate for 189 
artificially incubated eggs that were starting to hatch when they were 
placed in the wild was 17 percent. Breeding success and the subsequent 
hatching rates for wild chicks was 16.5 percent. Recruitment rates are 
much lower, and the rate of natural wild recruitment is unknown because 
the population has been artificially managed for the past 23 years. The 
minimum recruitment rate (age >= 1 year) of captive-reared and released 
black stilts is 22 percent (Maloney and Murray 2001). However, during 
the period from 1992 to 1999, researchers found that only 8 of the 189 
artificially incubated chicks (4 percent) that hatched survived to 2 
years of age (Maloney and Murray 2001).
    Disturbance of breeding and nesting grounds by outdoor recreational 
users of riverine habitats is also considered to be a serious threat to 
the species. These activities include indiscriminate use of off-road 
vehicles and jet-boats, disturbance by hikers and dogs, and fishing and 
camping activities (Maloney and Murray 2001). Recreational use of 
riverbed sites disturbs nesting birds and prevents successful rearing 
of offspring (BirdLife International 2006).
    Conservation authorities and scientists cite the risk of a single 
catastrophic level event destroying most of the population as a serious 
threat, due to the species' small population size (Maloney and Murray 
2001). Finally, the dispersed nature of individual birds limits 
potential contact between possible mates, increasing the likelihood of 
hybridization (Maloney and Murray 2001). In fact, interbreeding with 
the pied stilt, or poaka (H. himantopus), has been documented as the 
population size has decreased (Pierce 1996). Excess black stilt males 
are mating with female pied stilts in the absence of black stilt 
females (Maloney and Murray 2001). Black stilt males and pied stilt 
females can produce fertile offspring, but survival to adult age is 
about 50 percent of the survival rate of offspring of pure black stilt 
pairs. The relatedness of all black stilts in the population has yet to 
be determined, but inbreeding depression is believed to be a possible 
threat (Maloney and Murray 2001).
    Based on the best available information, we find that the black 
stilt is in danger of extinction throughout its range because of 
several threats, which are not easy to manage or control. The primary 
threat to the species is loss of the extensive habitat required for 
successful reproduction of the species. Increased demand for electrical 
power to fuel growing economies has resulted in the loss of wetlands 
due to river diversions for hydroelectric power. Development of former 
breeding grounds and nesting sites, for agricultural purposes to 
provide food for rapidly increasing human populations, has further 
reduced available habitat. Furthermore, the continuing reduction and 
modification of wetland habitats severely impacts New Zealand's black 
stilt reintroduction program due to the lack of suitable available 
habitat for release sites. A number of disease organisms have been 
identified as significant threats to black stilts and other wading 
birds. This issue is most important when considering the vital 
importance of reintroduction programs utilizing captive-reared birds. A 
surveillance program to determine the prevalence of disease outbreaks 
in wild black stilts and pre-release quarantine and health-screening 
protocols for captive-reared birds would help to protect wild birds 
before reintroduction of captive-reared birds but has not yet been 
implemented. Predation is a serious threat to the species, and predator 
control has been undertaken by the New Zealand Department of 
Conservation for over 20 years, but there is little evidence that it 
has been effective in increasing fledgling survival and recruitment.

Caerulean Paradise-Flycatcher

    A. The present or threatened destruction, modification, or 
curtailment of the caerulean Paradise-flycatcher's habitat or range. 
The caerulean Paradise-flycatcher inhabits one small primary forest 
around the base of Gunung Sahendaruman, on the Island of Sangihe, 
Indonesia (BirdLife International 2001). Virtually the entire Island of 
Sangihe has been deforested and converted to agricultural use. The 
total area of forest available to the species is probably less than 8 
km2 (BirdLife International 2005). Monoculture agricultural 
practices such as commercial coconut and nutmeg plantations, clear-
cutting forests for

[[Page 67535]]

wood and paper production, and encroaching human habitation are 
responsible for the large-scale land clearances that have occurred on 
Sangihe Island (BirdLife International 2001; Thompson 1996). The 
remaining habitat that does exist for the caerulean Paradise-flycatcher 
is considered sub-optimal because the species prefers lower elevations 
(BirdLife International 2001; Thompson 1996). Deforestation activities 
and destruction of habitat is a constant and continuing problem on 
Sangihe Island (Kirby 2003; BirdLife International 2001; Thompson 
    Since 1995, this species has been included in a biodiversity 
project, Action Sampiri, which has resulted in the development of plans 
to reclassify 4 km2 of protection forest on Gunung 
Sahengbalira as a wildlife reserve, with core areas as a strict nature 
reserve (BirdLife International 2005). This conservation measure, 
however, has not yet been implemented.
    B. Overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or 
educational purposes. There is no known threat to the caerulean 
Paradise-flycatcher from use for commercial, recreational, scientific, 
or educational purposes.
    C. Disease or predation. There is no available evidence indicating 
that disease or predation have led to the decline in caerulean 
Paradise-flycatcher populations or contribute to the species' risk of 
    D. The inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms. The species is 
not protected under CITES, and according to BirdLife International 
(2003), has no legal protection nationally or internationally.
    E. Other natural or manmade factors affecting the continued 
existence of the species. The total caerulean Paradise-flycatcher 
population is currently estimated to range from 19 to 135 birds 
(BirdLife International 2005). The species is considered ``Critically 
Endangered'' by the IUCN because of its low estimated population and 
extremely limited range, both which continue to undergo major and 
continuing declines (IUCN 2005). Small populations are subject to three 
primary genetic risks: Inbreeding depression, loss of genetic 
variation, and accumulation of new mutations. Inbreeding can have 
individual and population consequences by either increasing the 
phenotypic expression of recessive, deleterious alleles (Charlesworth 
and Charlesworth 1987) or by reducing the overall fitness of 
individuals in the population.
    Stochastic events such as fire, typhoon, earthquake, tsunami, or 
other natural disasters can result in extensive mortalities, such that 
the species is unable to recover and slowly dwindles into extinction. 
The extinction of the species may even occur during a single event.
    Based on the best available information, we find that the caerulean 
Paradise-flycatcher is in danger of extinction throughout its range 
because of loss of habitat, and the diminished number of individuals 
remaining in the only extant population. The caerulean Paradise-
flycatcher is found only in a single 8 square kilometer forest on 
Sangihe Island, Indonesia. However, the forests of Sangihe Island are 
rapidly being clear-cut for wood and paper production and the 
development of monoculture agricultural practices such as commercial 
coconut and nutmeg plantations. The remaining habitat that exists for 
the caerulean Paradise-flycatcher is considered sub-optimal because the 
species prefers forested cover at lower elevations. Until 1998, when a 
single female was located, the species had been considered extinct. 
Later expeditions have located other individuals, and the current 
population is now believed to range from 19 to 135 individuals. The 
continuing threat to the species' habitat, considered in the context of 
the small number of surviving individuals is magnified and places the 
caerulean Paradise-flycatcher at risk of extinction. Other threats may 
also be affecting the species' survival, but knowledge of the species 
is limited at this time.

Giant Ibis

    A. The present or threatened destruction, modification, or 
curtailment of the giant ibis' habitat or range. The giant ibis' 
historic range extended from central and peninsular Thailand, through 
central and northern Cambodia, southern and central Laos, and southern 
Viet Nam (King et al. 1975, as cited in N.J. Collar et al. 1994). 
Although never believed to be a common bird species, its range has been 
reduced, with only a few birds remaining in open deciduous forest 
habitat in extreme southern Laos and a portion of northern and eastern 
Cambodia (BirdLife International 2001). The species is considered to be 
extirpated from Viet Nam and Thailand (BirdLife International 2000).
    This lowland wading bird prefers open and forested wetland 
habitats, which have become increasingly rare in its remaining range 
(N.J. Collar et al. 1994). Although little is known of its breeding 
biology, the giant ibis is believed to nest in trees. Deforestation has 
reduced the number of nesting sites available to the species (BirdLife 
International 2005). The giant ibis also inhabits lakes, swamps, 
seasonally flooded marshes, paddy fields, open wooded plains, humid 
clearings, and pools in deep forest (Matheu and del Hoyo 1992). During 
drought conditions, the species congregates at permanent water holes 
(Matheu and del Hoyo 1992). However, the habitat loss through wetland 
drainage for agricultural purposes has reduced foraging and roosting 
areas (BirdLife International 2005).
    B. Overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or 
educational purposes. We are unaware of any threats to the giant ibis 
from overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or 
educational purposes.
    C. Disease or predation. There is no available information 
indicating that disease or predation are threats to the species.
    D. The inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms. The species is 
not protected under CITES. It occurs seasonally in the Xe Pian National 
Biodiversity Conservation Area (NBCA) and the Dong Khanthung proposed 
NBCA, Laos, where the species is marginally protected by the NBCA 
designation for a portion of each year. The giant ibis also occurs in 
land set aside as the Lomphat Wildlife Sanctuary (Sanctuary), Cambodia, 
which is considered to be one of the most important areas for wildlife 
in Cambodia. In 2003 and 2004, the Service's Rhino and Tiger 
Conservation Fund supported the Lomphat Conservation Project (LCP), 
which has a long-term goal of assisting rangers and field staff in the 
conservation of the Sanctuary's living resources. The LCP had three 
goals: (1) Train and equip sufficient park rangers to prevent poaching 
and illegal take of wildlife and forest products; (2) community 
outreach and education; and (3) wildlife monitoring. Six teams of 
rangers were trained during the duration of the LCP and at that time, 
the Sanctuary had instituted patrols no less than 15 days per month. 
The rangers have been extremely efficient in locating poachers, illegal 
loggers, and entire camps set aside for poachers. The rangers have been 
assisted by local villagers who are quite interested in offering 
information to protect their resources. The relationship between the 
local community and the rangers was developed using extensive public 
outreach and education which has improved conservation awareness 
throughout the Sanctuary and around its borders. Educational materials 
were developed and tailored to the villagers' after a socio-economic 
assessment was

[[Page 67536]]

completed to determine how the villagers used the local resources 
(WildAid 2003).
    Unregulated hunting is believed to be a primary factor in the 
species' decline, particularly when the birds flock around waterholes 
during the dry season (BirdLife International 2005). The species' large 
size probably makes it vulnerable to hunting for subsistence purposes. 
Furthermore, nearly continuous war during much of the previous century 
throughout much of the species' range has likely contributed to the 
decline of the species (Matheu and del Hoyo 1992). A public-awareness 
campaign to reduce hunting of large waterbirds in Laos and Cambodia 
uses the giant ibis as a symbol to depict all threatened waterbirds on 
the campaign's posters and books (BirdLife International 2003). The 
materials are produced and distributed by The Wildlife Conservation 
Society in Laos and Cambodia's Wildlife Protection Office distributes 
information in an effort to reduce hunting of waterbirds (IUCN 2006). 
We are not aware of any national protective legislation.
    E. Other natural or manmade factors affecting the continued 
existence of the species. The entire giant ibis population was 
estimated at 250 individuals in 1997 (Rose and Scott 1997, as cited in 
BirdLife International 2006). The most recent estimate indicates a 
total world-wide population ranging from 50 to 249 birds (BirdLife 
International 2006). The species occurs over a wide range and is highly 
sensitive to disturbance by humans. Considering the limited number of 
mature adults believed to be remaining in the population, the potential 
exists for a reduction in genetic variation. When a species becomes 
significantly reduced in number, the loss of genetic variation can 
result in inbreeding depression and an increase in the expression of 
deleterious alleles. Furthermore, small populations are more 
susceptible to stochastic events, such as severe weather, fires, and 
other natural disasters, which could severely reduce or eradicate the 
entire species in a single event. These factors contribute to an 
increased likelihood of extinction of the species.
    We are unaware of any other natural or manmade factors affecting 
the continued existence of this species.
    Based on the best available information, we find that the giant 
ibis is in danger of extinction throughout its range because of loss of 
habitat and hunting. Never a common species, the giant ibis now 
occupies a much reduced range than it did historically. Range reduction 
has occurred over the last century during the nearly continuous periods 
of armed conflict and war. Hunting has also been a major threat to the 
species. However, habitat loss and degradation, and decreased 
availability of nesting sites, are the largest threats to the species. 
Much of the species' former habitat has been drained, cut, irrigated, 
and plowed for agricultural uses.

Gurney's Pitta

    A. The present or threatened destruction, modification, or 
curtailment of the Gurney's pitta's habitat or range. Gurney's pitta 
prefers secondary, lowland semi-evergreen forest, usually 160 meters 
(m) or less in elevation. The species nests in understory Salacca palms 
during the wet season, from April through October. Territories contain 
access to water and are located in forest edge habitat near gully 
systems where moist conditions remain year-round (BirdLife 
International 2000). The primary cause for the species' decline is the 
nearly total clearance of lowland forest habitat in southern Myanmar 
and peninsular Thailand (BirdLife International 2000). The lowland 
forests have been clear-cut for timber and conversion to croplands, 
fruit orchards, and coffee, rubber, and oil-palm plantations. By 1987, 
only 20-50 km2 of forest below 100 m remained in peninsular 
Thailand, and available habitat in this area continues to decline 
(BirdLife International 2000).
    Attempts to census the species are difficult because the Gurney's 
pitta is shy, secretive, and relatively silent (WCMC 2004). To date, 
only three Gurney's pitta's nests have been found and monitored. The 
fledging rate from those nests was 27.3 percent (Rose 2003). Because of 
the difficulty in locating the bird, until surveys were conducted in 
1986-1989, habitat requirements were poorly understood.
    Following the rediscovery of Gurney's pitta at Khao Nor Chuchi in 
Myanmar in 1986, a non-hunting area was established in 1987. This area 
was upgraded to a wildlife sanctuary in 1993; however, the most 
important and extensive areas of lowland forest have not been protected 
due to the presence of the local human population (Round 1999).
    Although there is a substantial conservation effort involving 
adoption of sustainable agriculture methods around the Khao Nor Chuchi 
protected area, illegal forest clearance persists. Moreover, the recent 
practice of planting oil palms (Elaeis guineensis) on illegally cleared 
forest patches, which are more profitable than rubber plantations, 
removes the natural ground cover used for feeding and concealment by 
the ground-dwelling pitta (Rose 2003).
    Until 2003, ornithologists believed approximately 20 Gurney's 
pittas had survived in the wild. However, in 2003, a population of 10-
20 pairs were observed at one lowland forest site in Myanmar, and in 
2004, about 150 birds were identified in the 50,000-ha Ngawun Reserve 
Forest, the largest remaining contiguous lowland forest in southern 
Myanmar (BirdLife International 2003c, 2004). However, the habitat is 
largely unprotected.
    B. Overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or 
educational purposes. Gurney's pitta was formerly popular in the pet 
trade and was overutilized for this purpose by local snare-trappers 
(Rose 2003; BirdLife International 2005). Trapping for the caged-bird 
trade continued to be a serious threat until the early 1990s. Although 
trapping appears to have ceased as the result of few available 
individuals, some hunting and trapping continues in the Khao Nor Chuchi 
protected area (Rose 2003). There is no information indicating that 
scientific or educational uses of the species are a threat.
    C. Disease or predation. There is no information that indicates any 
threats to the species from disease or predation.
    D. The inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms. The species 
was listed in CITES Appendix III by Thailand in 1987 (CITES 2006), 
which required that exports be accompanied by an export permit. The 
species was listed in CITES Appendix I in 1990, which prohibited 
further international trade for commercial purposes, and also required 
that any trade be legal and not detrimental to the survival of wild 
populations. As discussed under Factor A, one of the few remaining 
populations exists in Khao Nor Chuchi Wildlife Sanctuary, but nearby 
areas important to the species are not protected (Round 1999; BirdLife 
International 2000). In 1990, the Khao Nor Chuchi Lowland Forest 
Project was established to engage the local community in management, 
education programs, and ecotourism, to reduce pressure on the remaining 
forest habitat. This project, however, has been met with only limited 
success as economic incentives continue to govern land-use decisions 
(BirdLife International 2000). A survey in 2001 confirmed that 
protection and law enforcement at Khao Nor Chuchi is essentially 
nonexistent (Rose 2003).
    E. Other natural or manmade factors affecting the continued 
existence of the species. We are unaware of any other specific natural 
or manmade factors

[[Page 67537]]

affecting the continued existence of this species.
    Based on the best available information, we find that the Gurney's 
pitta is in danger of extinction throughout its range because of loss 
of habitat and overharvest for the caged bird trade, especially prior 
to 1990. The lowland forest habitat that is preferred by the Gurney's 
pitta has been nearly totally cleared in southern Myanmar and 
peninsular Thailand. These lowland forests have been clear-cut for 
timber and conversion to croplands, fruit orchards, and monoculture 
coffee, rubber, and oil-palm plantations. Gurney's pitta was popular in 
the pet bird trade until fewer and fewer individuals could be located 
during the 1980s. By 1990, the species had been transferred from CITES 
Appendix III to Appendix I, which prohibits commercial trade in the 
species. However, the previous large-scale snaring of birds for the 
trade had already reduced the population to such a small number of 
individuals that the species has become in danger of extinction. 
Additionally, the remaining small populations are susceptible to the 
three genetic risks discussed earlier: inbreeding depression, loss of 
genetic variation, and accumulation of new deleterious mutations.

Socorro mockingbird

    A. The present or threatened destruction, modification, or 
curtailment of Socorro mockingbird's habitat or range. The Socorro 
mockingbird's habitat and range have been severely degraded and reduced 
due to intensive grazing by introduced domestic sheep (BirdLife 
International 2000). Rabbits and pigs that were also introduced in the 
area have destroyed habitat by preventing woodland regeneration (Cody 
2005). Prior to widespread unchecked grazing, the species was 
distributed in all vegetation types on the island including scrub, 
woodland, and woodland edge (Cody 2005). This species is also absent in 
degraded habitat where hop bush (Dodonaea viscose) has replaced the 
original understory (Mart[iacute]nez-G[oacute]mez et al. 2001). It is 
now restricted to mixed open woodland and wooded canyons at higher 
elevations and is most common in undisturbed habitat (Cody 2005). 
Grazing has completely extirpated the species from the southern portion 
of the island. Reduction of habitat is considered the primary cause of 
population and range declines of the Socorro mockingbird (BirdLife 
International 2000; IUCN 2005).
    B. Overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or 
educational purposes. There is no available information indicating that 
the Socorro mockingbird has been overutilized for commercial, 
recreational, scientific, or educational purposes.
    C. Disease or predation. During the early 1970s, cats were 
introduced to the islands, and predation by feral cats was initially 
considered a factor contributing to the species' decline (BirdLife 
International 2000). However, recent examinations of feral cat stomach 
contents and scat have not provided substantive evidence of feral cat 
predation as a significant factor in the decline of the Socorro 
mockingbird (J. Martinez in litt., as cited in BirdLife International 
2000). Nonetheless, plans to eradicate feral cats and introduced sheep 
from Socorro were put forward as early as 1999 (B. Tershy and B. Keitt 
in litt. 1999 as cited in BirdLife International 2000). In 2001, Grupo 
de Ecolog[iacute]a y Conservaci[oacute]n de Islas, A.C., (GECI) 
received a North American Wetlands Conservation Act grant to initiate 
the eradication of cats and sheep from Socorro Island (USFWS 2006). We 
are not aware of any disease concerns that may have led to the decline 
of Socorro mockingbird species.
    D. The inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms. The species is 
not protected under CITES (CITES 2006). Although the Revillagigedo 
Islands were declared a biosphere reserve in 1994, this does not confer 
protection upon the Islands (Rodriguez-Estrella et al. 1996, as cited 
in BirdLife International 2000). We are unaware of any further 
protection for the species.
    E. Other natural or manmade factors affecting the continued 
existence of the species. In 1925, the Socorro mockingbird was the most 
abundant land-based bird on Socorro Island, and it was still considered 
plentiful in 1958. However, within the next 20 years, the species began 
to decline, and by 1978 it was feared to be on the verge of extinction 
(BirdLife International 2000). Field surveys conducted from 1988 
through 1990 yielded population estimates of 50-200 remaining pairs 
(Castellanos and Rodr 1993 as cited in BirdLife International 2000). 
Further surveys carried out in 1993-1994 resulted in a population 
estimate of 350 individuals inhabiting the island (MartGand Curry 1996 
as cited in BirdLife International 2000). During the survey, 215 birds 
were banded and 55 percent of the total was found to be subadults 
(BirdLife International 2000). The large percentage of subadults 
suggests that the current number of mature birds is quite small (IUCN 
2003). Population estimates in 2000 ranged from 50 to 249 individual 
Socorro mockingbirds (BirdLife International 2000). The IUCN lists the 
species as Critically Endangered because of loss of habitat and the 
small remaining number of mature adults (IUCN 2006). Considering the 
limited number of mature adults believed to be remaining in the 
population, the potential exists for a reduction in genetic variation. 
When a species becomes significantly reduced in number, the loss of 
genetic variation can result in inbreeding depression and an increase 
in the expression of deleterious alleles. Furthermore, small 
populations are more susceptible to stochastic events, such as severe 
weather, fires, and other natural disasters, which could severely 
reduce or eradicate the entire species in a single event. These factors 
contribute to an increased likelihood of extinction of the species.
    We are unaware of any other specific natural or manmade factors 
affecting the continued existence of this species.
    Based on the best available information, we find that the Socorro 
mockingbird is in danger of extinction throughout its range because of 
loss of habitat. The primary cause of habitat loss and range 
contraction is overgrazing due to the introduction of domestic sheep. 
Introduced rabbits and pigs have also destroyed habitat by preventing 
woodland regeneration, thus forcing the complete extirpation of the 
Socorro mockingbird from most of its former range.

Long-Legged Thicketbird

    A. The present or threatened destruction, modification, or 
curtailment of the long-legged thicketbird's habitat or range. Much of 
the forest habitat the long-legged thicketbird inhabits is unprotected 
in Fiji and there is a high probability that it will be logged and 
converted to plantations for big-leaf mahogany (Swietenia macrophylla) 
in the near future (BirdLife International 2003b). Converting forest 
habitat to mahogany plantations produces unsuitable habitat for this 
species and is a putative factor in the species' decline.
    B. Overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or 
educational purposes. We are unaware of any threat to the species from 
overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or 
educational purposes.
    C. Disease or predation. Mongooses were introduced in 1883 to Fiji 
to kill rats (IUCN et al 2006). However, they are considered a serious 
predatory threat because they also prey on ground-dwelling forest 
birds, such as the long-legged thicketbird (BirdLife International 
2005). The mongoose is

[[Page 67538]]

responsible for the local extirpation of all of the ground-nesting 
birds on the main Fijian islands (BirdLife International 2004). It is 
likely that mongoose predation has contributed to the decline of the 
long-legged thicketbird, given that the species is ground-dwelling and 
currently restricted to rainforests in the mountainous regions of the 
Fijian Islands.
    D. The inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms. The forest 
habitat of the long-legged thicketbird is unprotected in Fiji (BirdLife 
International 2004). We are not aware of any existing regulatory 
mechanisms for the conservation of the species. The species is not 
protected under CITES (CITES 2006).
    E. Other natural or manmade factors affecting the continued 
existence of the species. The long-legged thicketbird is a reclusive 
island endemic, found only in the mountain forests of Fiji, which are 
rapidly being destroyed by logging and development of bigleaf mahogany 
plantations. Previously believed to be extinct, the species was 
rediscovered in 2004, and only a small number of individuals have been 
located at this time. Researchers discovered 12 pairs of long-legged 
thicketbirds in Wabu, a remote Forest Reserve on the island of Viti 
Levu, Fiji (BirdLife International 2003). The survey coordinator was 
the first to notice a previously unknown bird song on Viti Levu while 
field personnel were recording other species' songs in the area. 
Recognition of the unknown bird song finally led the team to nine pairs 
of long-legged thicketbirds inhabiting in dense undergrowth thickets 
along a 2-km reach of stream at an elevation of 800-1000 meters 
(BirdLife International 2003). Field personnel believe that the 
discovery of 18 birds living in such a limited area of old-growth 
forest reflects a relatively high local density (BirdLife International 
2003). Two pairs of the birds were accompanied by recently fledged 
juveniles. Additional birds have been located during recent surveys, 
and the population is now believed to range from 50 to 249 individuals, 
with a stable trend (BirdLife International 2006). The IUCN categorizes 
the species as Endangered (IUCN 2006). Little is known about the 
species' life history, except that it prefers old-growth forest, which 
is rapidly disappearing in the area. Similar to other species with 
small population numbers, the thicketbird may have experienced a 
reduction in genetic variation. When a species becomes significantly 
reduced in number, the loss of genetic variation can result in 
inbreeding depression and an increase in the expression of deleterious 
alleles. Furthermore, small populations are more susceptible to 
stochastic events, such as severe weather, fires, and other natural 
disasters, which could significantly reduce or eradicate the entire 
species in a single event. These factors contribute to an increased 
likelihood of extinction of the species.
    Based on the best available information, we find that the long-
legged thicketbird is in danger of extinction throughout its range 
because the species is an island endemic found in extremely limited 
habitat. Other threats include loss of habitat and predation. Degraded 
forest habitat is unsuitable for the species and is believed to be a 
factor in the species' decline. Predation by introduced mongoose is 
likely also a threat to the species, as they have been the cause of 
extirpation of many other ground-dwelling bird species in the Fijian 

Available Conservation Measures

    Conservation measures provided to species listed as endangered or 
threatened under the Act include recognition, recovery actions, 
requirements for Federal protection, and prohibitions against certain 
practices. Recognition through listing results in public awareness, and 
encourages and results in conservation actions by Federal and State 
governments, private agencies and groups, and individuals.
    Section 7(a) of the Act, as amended, and as implemented by 
regulations at 50 CFR part 402, requires Federal agencies to evaluate 
their actions within the United States or on the high seas with respect 
to any species that is proposed or listed as endangered or threatened, 
and with respect to its critical habitat, if any is being designated. 
However, given that the black stilt, caerulean Paradise-flycatcher, 
giant ibis, Gurney's pitta, Socorro mockingbird, and long-legged 
thicketbird are not native to the United States, no critical habitat is 
being proposed for designation with this rule.
    Section 8(a) of the Act authorizes the provision of limited 
financial assistance for the development and management of programs 
that the Secretary of the Interior determines to be necessary or useful 
for the conservation of endangered species in foreign countries. 
Sections 8(b) and 8(c) of the Act authorize the Secretary to encourage 
conservation programs for foreign endangered species and to provide 
assistance for such programs in the form of personnel and the training 
of personnel.
    The Act and its implementing regulations set forth a series of 
general prohibitions and exceptions that apply to all endangered 
wildlife. As such, these prohibitions would be applicable to the black 
stilt, caerulean Paradise-flycatcher, giant ibis, Gurney's pitta, 
Socorro mockingbird, and long-legged thicketbird. These prohibitions, 
pursuant to 50 CFR 17.21, in part, make it illegal for any person 
subject to the jurisdiction of the United States to ``take'' (includes 
harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or to 
attempt any of these) within the United States or upon the high seas; 
import or export; deliver, receive, carry, transport, or ship in 
interstate or foreign commerce in the course of commercial activity; or 
sell or offer for sale in interstate or foreign commerce any endangered 
wildlife species. It also is illegal to possess, sell, deliver, carry, 
transport, or ship any such wildlife that has been taken in violation 
of the Act. Certain exceptions apply to agents of the Service and State 
conservation agencies.
    Permits may be issued to carry out otherwise prohibited activities 
involving endangered wildlife species under certain circumstances. 
Regulations governing permits are codified at 50 CFR 17.22. With regard 
to endangered wildlife, a permit may be issued for the following 
purposes: For scientific purposes, to enhance the propagation or 
survival of the species, and for incidental take in connection with 
otherwise lawful activities.

Public Comments Solicited

    The Service intends that any final action resulting from this 
proposal will be as accurate and as effective as possible. Therefore, 
comments or suggestions from the public, other concerned governmental 
agencies, the scientific community, industry, or any other interested 
party concerning this proposed rule are hereby solicited. Comments 
particularly are sought concerning biological information, population 
status, commercial trade, or other relevant data concerning any threat 
(or lack thereof) to these species.
    Our practice is to make comments, including names and home 
addresses of respondents, available for public review during regular 
business hours. Individuals may request that we withhold their home 
addresses, which we will honor to the extent allowable by law. In some 
circumstances, we may also withhold an individual's identity, as 
allowable by law. If you wish us to withhold your name or address, you 
must state this request prominently at the beginning of your comment. 
However, we will not consider anonymous comments. To the extent 
consistent with applicable law, we will

[[Page 67539]]

make all submissions from organizations or businesses, and from 
individuals identifying themselves as representatives or officials of 
organizations or businesses, available for public inspection in their 
entirety. Comments and materials received will be available for public 
inspection, by appointment, during normal business hours at the address 
listed in the ADDRESSES section.
    Final promulgation of the regulations concerning the listing of 
these species will take into consideration all comments and additional 
information received by the Service, and such communications may lead 
to a final regulation that differs from this proposal.
    The Act provides for one or more public hearings on this proposal, 
if requested. Requests must be received within 45 days of the date of 
the publication of the proposal in the Federal Register. Such requests 
must be made in writing and be addressed to the Chief of the Division 
of Scientific Authority (see ADDRESSES section).

Peer Review

    In accordance with our policy, ``Notice of Interagency Cooperative 
Policy for Peer Review in Endangered Species Act Activities,'' that was 
published on July 1, 1994 (59 FR 34270), we will seek the expert 
opinion of at least three appropriate independent specialists regarding 
this proposed rule. The purpose of such review is to ensure listing 
decisions are based on scientifically sound data, assumptions, and 
analysis. We will send copies of this proposed rule to the peer 
reviewers immediately following publication in the Federal Register.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    This proposed rule does not contain any new collections of 
information that require approval by the Office of Management and 
Budget (OMB) under 44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq. The regulation will not 
impose new recordkeeping or reporting requirements on State or local 
governments, individuals, businesses, or organizations. We may not 
conduct or sponsor and you are not required to respond to a collection 
of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number.

National Environmental Policy Act

    We have determined that Environmental Assessments and Environmental 
Impact Statements, as defined under the authority of the National 
Environmental Policy Act of 1969, need not be prepared in connection 
with regulations adopted pursuant to section 4(a) of the Act. A notice 
outlining our reasons for this determination was published in the 
Federal Register on October 25, 1983 (48 FR 49244).

Clarity of This Regulation

    Executive Order 12866 requires each agency to write regulations 
that are easy to understand. We invite your comments on how to make 
this proposed rule easier to understand, including answers to questions 
such as the following: (1) Are the requirements in the proposed rule 
clearly stated? (2) Does the proposed rule contain technical language 
or jargon that interferes with its clarity? (3) Does the format of the 
proposed rule (groupings and order of sections, use of headings, 
paragraphing, etc.) aid or reduce its clarity? (4) Would the rule be 
easier to understand if it were divided into more (but shorter) 
sections? (5) Is the description of the proposed rule in the 
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of the preamble helpful in 
understanding the proposed rule? What else could we do to make the 
proposed rule easier to understand? Send a copy of any comments that 
concern how we could make this rule easier to understand to the Office 
of Regulatory Affairs, Department of the Interior, Room 7229, 1849 C 
Street, NW., Washington, DC 20240. You also may e-mail comments to 

References Cited

    A list of the references used to develop this proposed rule is 
available upon request (see ADDRESSES section).


    The primary author of this notice is Marie T. Maltese, Division of 
Scientific Authority, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (see ADDRESSES 

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 17

    Endangered and threatened species, Exports, Imports, Reporting and 
recordkeeping requirements, Transportation.

Proposed Regulation Promulgation

    Accordingly, we propose to amend part 17, subchapter B of chapter 
I, title 50 of the Code of Federal Regulations, as follows:


    1. The authority citation for part 17 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1361-1407; 16 U.S.C. 1531-1544; 16 U.S.C. 
4201-4245; Pub. L. 99-625, 100 Stat. 3500; unless otherwise noted.

    2. Amend 17.11(h) by adding new entries for ``Ibis, giant,'' 
``Mockingbird, Socorro,'' ``Paradise-flycatcher, caerulean,'' ``Pitta, 
Gurney's,'' ``Stilt, black,'' and ``Thicketbird, Long-legged'' in 
alphabetical order under Birds, to the List of Endangered and 
Threatened Wildlife as follows:

Sec.  17.11  Endangered and threatened wildlife.

* * * * *
    (h) * * *

                          Species                                                  Vertebrate population
-----------------------------------------------------------     Historic range      where endangered or     Status       When      Critical     Special
            Common name                 Scientific name                                  threatened                     listed      habitat      rules

                                                                      * * * * * * *

                                                                      * * * * * * *
Ibis, giant........................  Pseudibis gigantea...  Cambodia, Laos,        Entire...............          E   ..........         NA          NA
                                                             Thailand, Viet Nam.

                                                                      * * * * * * *
Mockingbird, Socorro...............  Mimodes graysoni.....  Mexico...............  Entire...............          E   ..........         NA          NA

                                                                      * * * * * * *
Paradise-flycatcher, caerulean.....  Eutrichomyias rowleyi  Indonesia............  Entire...............          E   ..........         NA          NA

[[Page 67540]]

                                                                      * * * * * * *
Pitta, Gurney's....................  Pitta gurneyi........  Myanmar, Thailand....  Entire...............          E   ..........         NA          NA

                                                                      * * * * * * *
Stilt, black.......................  Himantopus             New Zealand..........  Entire...............          E   ..........         NA          NA

                                                                      * * * * * * *
Thicketbird, long-legged...........  Trichocichla rufa....  Fiji.................  Entire...............          E   ..........         NA          NA

                                                                      * * * * * * *

    Dated: November 6, 2006.
H. Dale Hall,
Director, Fish and Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. E6-19721 Filed 11-21-06; 8:45 am]