Colaptes fernandinae 


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Piciformes Picidae

Scientific Name: Colaptes fernandinae
Species Authority: Vigors, 1827
Common Name(s):
English Fernandina's Flicker, Cuban Flicker
Taxonomic Source(s): del Hoyo, J., Collar, N.J., Christie, D.A., Elliott, A. and Fishpool, L.D.C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Lynx Edicions BirdLife International.
Identification information: 30 cm. Medium-sized, long-billed and heavily barred woodpecker. Upperparts and wings brown-black barred yellowish, below yellowish barred brown-black, crown with cinnamon wash, ear-coverts yellower. Long, narrow and decurved bill. Male has black moustache, heavily mottled in female. Similar spp Cuban race of Northern Flicker C. auratus chrysocaulosus is more strikingly marked and more arboreal. Voice Variable, including a descending peah and a kind of Krrr, resembling that of the West Indian Woodpecker Melanerpes superciliaris. Often quiet. Hints Check areas of palms in open country and woodland edge. Often feeds on ground.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable A2c+3c+4c;B1ab(i,ii,iii,iv,v);C2a(i);D1 ver 3.1
Year Published: 2012
Date Assessed: 2012-05-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S. & Symes, A.
Contributor(s): Jackson, J., Kirkconnell, A., Kirwan, G. & Mitchell, A.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Benstead, P., Harding, M., Isherwood, I., Mahood, S., Sharpe, C J, Wege, D.
This species is classified as Vulnerable because although it has a very small population, which is severely fragmented and rapidly declining, the largest subpopulation in Zapata is too large for the species to qualify as Endangered.

Previously published Red List assessments:
2008 Vulnerable (VU)
2005 Vulnerable (VU)
2004 Endangered (EN)
2000 Endangered (EN)
1996 Endangered (EN)
1994 Endangered (EN)
1988 Threatened (T)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Colaptes fernandinae was once widespread but never abundant on Cuba, and is now rare and localised; there are probably fewer than 900 individuals in total. It is currently known from Soroa, Mil Cumbres, Nortey, and Loma del Taburete in Pinar del Río province; the Zapata Swamp in Matanzas province (from at least twelve localities); Monte Ramonal, near Corralillo, El Dorado, and Isabela de Sagua in northern Villa Clara province; Aguada de Pasajeros and Rodas in Cienfuegos province; near Gibara (in the Campos de Veloso) and near Velazco (El Recreo), in Holguín province; Jobabo in Las Tunas province; Cienaga de Birama in Granma Province; and Sierra de Najasa (at La Belén and El Chorrillo) in Camagüey province (Mitchell 1998, A. Mitchell in litt. 1998, G. Kirwan in litt. 2005, A. Kirkconnell in litt. 2005). There are also recent records from eight localities in Santiago de Cuba province, where the most important locality is La Tabla (Mitchell et al. 2000, A. Kirkconnell in litt. 2005). The largest population persists in the Zapata Swamp, where total numbers were estimated at 300-400 pairs in 1998 (A. Mitchell in litt. 1998, A. Kirkconnell in litt. 1999), falling to 250-300 in 2007 (A. Mitchell in litt. 2007). Even within Zapata Swamp it continues to decline, for instance, in Bermeja in the early 90's there were between 60 to 80 pairs, in 2007 this had dropped to between 14 to 18 pairs (A. Mitchell in litt. 2007).

Countries occurrence:
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO): Yes
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO): No
Estimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2: 7300
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO): Yes
Extreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO): No
Number of Locations: 11-100
Continuing decline in number of locations: Yes
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations: No
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: The population is estimated to number 600-800 individuals (A. Mitchell in litt. 1998, A. Kirkconnell in litt. 1999). This roughly equates to 400-530 mature individuals.

Trend Justification:  There are no new data on population trends, but on-going habitat loss is suspected to be causing a moderately rapid to rapid decline.
Current Population Trend: Decreasing
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals: 400-530 Continuing decline of mature individuals: Yes
Extreme fluctuations: No Population severely fragmented: Yes
No. of subpopulations: 2-100 Continuing decline in subpopulations: Yes
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations: No All individuals in one subpopulation: No
No. of individuals in largest subpopulation: 1-94

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: It breeds in palm-savannah, where it nests in dead and live palm trees, especially Palma cana (Mitchell and Wells 1997, J. A. Jackson in litt. 1999), and also inhabits pastures, swamps, forest edge and dense woodland (Winkler et al. 1995). Coiurtship takes place in late December and January, and nest excavation begins in February or March; breeding takes place in March-June (Winkler et al. 1995), and loose "colonies" have occasionally been found at Bermeja in the Zapata Swamp (Wells and Mitchell 1995, Mitchell 1998, A. Mitchell in litt. 1998, 2007). However, it is mostly solitary, and aggression between conspecifics is common (Wells and Mitchell 1995). There may be an association with palms used as a source of thatch, because fungus invades such trees making them more suitable for nesting (J. A. Jackson in litt. 1999).

Systems: Terrestrial; Freshwater
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat: Yes
Generation Length (years): 4.3
Movement patterns: Not a Migrant

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Logging and clearance for agriculture are severe threats. Nest-trees are often shared with the Cuban Parrot Amazona leucocephala, and trappers frequently topple the trees to collect young parrots, causing both the loss of the woodpecker's brood and the permanent destruction of the nest-site (Mitchell and Wells 1997). Community members will often fell a tree containing a woodpecker nest hole just to check if there is a parrot present, or even fell trees with woodpecker nests when there are clearly no parrots present, presumably to eat the eggs or nestlings (A. Mitchell in litt. 2007). Hurricanes have a devastating impact on the dead palm trees, as evidenced at Bermeja after Hurricane Lilli in 1996 (Mitchell 1998, A. Mitchell in litt. 1998), and have recently hit the species's stronghold in Zapata, causing significant destruction (A. Mitchell in litt. 2005). West Indian Woodpeckers Melanerpes superciliaris have been observed to prey on the eggs and chicks (Wells and Mitchell 1995).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
The entire Zapata Swamp is a reserve, but there are no available resources to effectively police the area (Mitchell et al. 2000).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Continue to monitor population trends. Monitor rates of habitat loss and degradation. Design and distribute posters in villages around the Zapata Swamp to raise awareness of the importance and vulnerability of this species and others such as A. leucocephala (Mitchell et al. 2000). Fit nest-boxes to live palms within and around present nesting areas (Mitchell et al. 2000). Consider controlling West Indian Woodpeckers at key sites to reduce competition for nest sites (A. Mitchell in litt. 2007).

Citation: BirdLife International. 2012. Colaptes fernandinae. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2012: e.T22681293A38323211. . Downloaded on 29 November 2015.
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