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F24AS00017 - Species Conservation Catalyst Fund on Songbird Trade




August 2, 2023



December 8, 2023





Award Floor:



Match Required?





Entity Types:

Individuals, State governments, County governments, City or township governments, Nonprofits (with 501(c)(3) status), For profit organizations other than small businesses, Public & State controlled institutions of higher education

Applicants can be individuals, multi-national secretariats, foreign, national, and local government agencies, non-profit non-governmental organizations, for-profit organizations, and public and private institutions of higher education.




Source Type:


The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services (Service or FWS) mission is to work with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The International Affairs Program delivers on this mission through its technical expertise, international conservation experience, and financial assistance by supporting strategic projects that deliver measurable conservation results for priority species and their habitats around the world. The Combating Wildlife Trafficking Program supports innovative projects to reduce wildlife trafficking, a multibillion-dollar business involving the unlawful harvest and trade of animals and plants.The Combating Wildlife Trafficking Programs Species Conservation Catalyst Fund (SCCF) is an initiative that aims to reduce wildlife trafficking for selected species within the complex social-ecological systems across a species trade chain. The fund focuses on specific species or species groups primarily threatened by illegal trade and supports work that catalyzes significant and sustained change in both demand and range countries. The SCCF is envisioned as a conservation accelerator fund that enables award recipients to launch or grow projects, build skills relevant to their work, and develop networks of researchers and practitioners. In service of these holistic goals, the fund builds in support to convene and coordinate award recipients for activities like strategic planning, communications, and networking. The SCCF also advances an evidence-based approach to combating wildlife trafficking, by supporting recipients to advance an empirical understanding of trafficking contexts and contribute to a body of evidence to guide future conservation and counter-trafficking efforts.This Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) launches the SCCFs third species group, songbirds (suborder Passeri or Oscines, order Passeriformes) native to the Guiana Shield and Caribbean. In total, up to $5 million is expected to be available for the SCCF Songbird initiative through several funding opportunities over the next few years. The expected funding amount for this current NOFO is $1,400,000.Songbird Trade for Singing CompetitionsA distinct market within the widespread caged bird trade of Latin America and the Caribbean is the trade of songbirds for singing competitions. Popular in the Guiana Shield of South America and the Caribbean, this sport consists of racing male songbirds to assess which bird can sing a specific song the most in a given time. Evidence suggests that potentially 15 wild bird species native to the Guiana Shield and Caribbean primarily seed-finches, seedeaters, buntings and grosbeaks may be experiencing local or range-wide declines due to wild harvest for singing competitions. Current practices of international trade of these songbird species for singing competitions is suspected to be a primary driver of declines, in part because songbirds are typically trafficked with high mortality.This funding opportunity solicits projects to reduce the illegal, unsustainable international trade of native songbirds from the Guiana Shield and Caribbean for singing competitions. Proposals are invited for two broad Objectives: (1) addressing the illegal, unsustainable trade of songbirds or (2) convening and coordinating SCCF Songbird award recipients for projects aimed at meeting Objective 1.Objective 1. Addressing the illegal, unsustainable trade of songbirdsProposed projects contributing to this objective should implement activities that address the trade of songbirds.Outcome 1.1. System(s) for ensuring legal and biologically sustainably sourced songbirds for singing competitions are assessed, piloted, and evaluated, while supporting sustainable community livelihoods.1.1.1. Songbird supply is better understood and informed by social science research on:a. the social, cultural, economic, political, and situational factors that drive markets, human behavior, or policies related to sourcing songbirds,b. rates and trends of songbird supply,c. differences in supply for domestic versus international songbird trade, ord. barriers to having a fully legal and sustainably sourced trade system.1.1.2. The current, historical, and future effects of singing competition trade on songbird species populations, distribution, and habitat are better understood and informed by research, and used to inform sustainable sourcing and wild bird conservation and management planning.1.1.3. Wild bird conservation and management approaches are developed and implemented by or with people involved in supplying songbirds.1.1.4. Sustainable sourcing system(s) is (are) explored, studied, designed, piloted, and evaluated. Potential unintended social and ecological consequences and tradeoffs of proposed system(s) are considered.1.1.5. Songbird trade system(s) is (are) strengthened to reduce disease occurrence and ensure ethical transport and captivity conditions for birds along the trade chain.1.1.6. Songbird trade system(s) is (are) strengthened to enable economically fair livelihood benefits and culturally appropriate practices for people along the trade chain, including lower-income groups.Outcome 1.2. Demand for songbirds for singing competitions is understood and the people involved in trade reduce illegal, unsustainable trade and, as appropriate, transition to legal, sustainable trade.1.2.1. Songbird demand is better understood and informed by social science research on:a. the social, cultural, economic, political, and situational factors that drive markets, human behavior, policies, or practices related to consumer demand for songbirds,b. rates and trends of songbird demand, orc. differences in demand for domestic versus international songbird trade.1.2.2. Effective strategies to reduce illegal, sustainable trade (and as appropriate, transition to legal, sustainable trade) are developed and implemented by or with songbird keepers and buyers/sellers.1.2.3. Songbird keepers and buyers/sellers have increased understanding, capacity, and motivation to reduce demand for trafficked birds and/or advocate for and comply with laws, policies, and practices that lower barriers to legal, sustainable trade.1.2.4. Songbird keepers and buyers/sellers have increased understanding, capacity, and motivation to develop and follow ethical handling and transport practices that ensure healthy, disease-free songbirds in captivity and the wild.Outcome 1.3. Local, national, and international authority capacity is strengthened to protect birds and regulate songbird trade.1.3.1. Robust and practical laws, policies, and systems are established or strengthened to regulate and encourage compliance with legal, sustainable songbird trade for singing competitions.1.3.2. Regulatory, law enforcement, and judiciary needs (e.g., resources, training, community monitoring) are identified and addressed to strengthen capacity to manage songbird trade.1.3.3. Communication, coordination, and opportunities for learning exchanges among authorities within and between source and demand countries are established and maintained.Objective 2. Convening and coordinating SCCF Songbird award recipientsThe Service aims to ensure that SCCF Songbird Objective 1 award recipients (hereafter referred to as award recipients) work in collaboration and/or coordination to ensure their collective efforts achieve effective, sustainable reductions in the illegal, unsustainable trade of songbirds for singing competitions.The Service invites proposals for a single cooperative agreement award that would provide support to award recipients to convene, exchange information, develop skills, and build partner networks to help meet the goals of the SCCF Songbird initiative. Proposals should plan and budget activities to include several key personnel from each award recipient.Projects must achieve both Outcome 2.1 and 2.2 (including all sub-outcomes) and may additionally include Outcome 2.3 or any sub-outcomes of Outcome 2.3.Outcome 2.1. SCCF Songbird award recipients share a common vision for reducing illegal, unsustainable songbird trade for singing competitions.2.1.1. Recipients collaboratively build a model for systems thinking by developing a theory of change and indicators of success that capture how projects advance outcomes from Objective Recipients pursue synergies and avoid duplication in projects by coordinating on project progress and identifying opportunities for complementing other songbird trade or conservation projects and initiatives.Outcome 2.2. SCCF Songbird award recipients strengthen their skills and capacity to advance effectiveness and enable long-term sustainability.2.2.1. Recipients engage in a community of practice by sharing resources and supporting co-learning.2.2.2. Recipients collectively advance relevant skills to improve project implementation by receiving trainings and other capacity-building activities.Outcome 2.3. SCCF Songbird award recipients inform and engage appropriate audiences to reduce illegal, unsustainable international songbird trade.2.3.1. Recipients collaboratively develop a communications plan and outreach materials to strategically raise awareness about the songbird trade problem and solutions.2.3.2. Recipients strategize on the appropriate need and timing for broader regional/global coordination with other songbird trade and conservation actors.General guidanceTrade focus: Projects must ultimately aim to impact the international songbird trade for singing competitions (i.e., not focus on trade in songbirds for the caged bird trade generally). Activities may also help combat the illegal, unsustainable trade of birds or wildlife more broadly, but projects must primarily benefit the trade of songbirds sourced from the Guiana Shield and Caribbean for singing competitions. Projects may focus on the domestic trade (whereby birds are sourced from the wild and sold to an end-user within the same country) if activities are clearly linked to reducing the illegal, unsustainable international trade (whereby birds are sourced from the wild in a different country than where they are sold to an end-user).SCCF Songbird Priority Species: Project activities should benefit one or more of the following 15 species of songbirds:Chestnut-bellied seedeater (Sporophila castaneiventris)Chestnut-bellied seed-finch (Sporophila angolensis)Cuban bullfinch (Melopyrrha nigra)Great-billed seed-finch (Sporophila maximiliani)Grey seedeater (Sporophila intermedia)Large-billed seed-finch (Sporophila crassirostris)Lined seedeater (Sporophila lineola)Painted bunting (Passerina ciris)Plumbeous seedeater (Sporophila plumbea)Red siskin (Spinus cucullatus)Rose-breasted grosbeak (Pheucticus ludovicianus)Ruddy-breasted seedeater (Sporophila minuta)Slate-colored seedeater (Sporophila schistacea)Wing-barred seedeater (Sporophila americana)Yellow-bellied seedeater (Sporophila nigricollis)Priority geographic areas: Project activities should take place in:Guiana Shield and Caribbean range countries for priority songbird species, including Guyana, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, and Brazil, and/orTransit or consumer demand countries where priority songbird species are being traded for singing competitions, including Guyana, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Brazil, the United States, Canada, and the Netherlands. Please review the full NOFO Description file in Related Documents for complete details.

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