Coccyzus rufigularis 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Cuculiformes Cuculidae

Scientific Name: Coccyzus rufigularis Hartlaub, 1852
Common Name(s):
English Bay-breasted Cuckoo, Rufous-breasted Cuckoo
Hyetornis rufigularis (Hartlaub, 1852) — BirdLife International (2004)
Hyetornis rufigularis (Hartlaub, 1852) — Sibley and Monroe (1990, 1993)
Hyetornis rufigularis (Hartlaub, 1852) — Collar et al. (1994)
Hyetornis rufigularis (Hartlaub, 1852) — BirdLife International (2000)
Piaya rufigularis ssp. rufigularis (Hartlaub, 1852) — Stotz et al. (1996)
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. Volume 1: Non-passerines. Lynx Edicions BirdLife International, Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge, UK.
Identification information: 45-50 cm. Large cuckoo with heavy, curved bill and distinctive, reddish-brown throat and breast. Grey above with reddish-brown primary patch. Reddish-brown throat and breast. Ochraceous belly and undertail. Glossy black tail with broad white tips to rectrices. Female slightly larger than male. Similar spp. Hispaniolan Lizard-cuckoo Saurothera longirostris has long, straight bill, red orbital area and grey breast. Voice Various but most recognizable is a forceful cua, often followed by accelerating u-ak-u-ak-ak-ak-ak-ak-ak ak-ak. Hints Best located by call.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered B1ab(i,ii,iii,iv,v) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2017
Date Assessed: 2016-10-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S. & Symes, A.
Contributor(s): Kirwan, G., Woolaver, L., Latta, S. & Rothman, A.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Benstead, P., Isherwood, I., Mahood, S., Sharpe, C J, Wege, D. & Wheatley, H.
This species is considered Endangered because it has recently been recorded from only two small areas where there is ongoing habitat loss and hunting. Conservation action is urgently required to effectively protect known locations and locate additional populations.

Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Coccyzus rufigularis occurs in Hispaniola (Haiti and the Dominican Republic), and apparently suffered a dramatic decline in range and numbers during the 20th century. It is considered extremely rare, if not extinct, in Haiti, and has already been extirpated from Gonâve Island. There are two known sites that support breeding populations, near the village of Puerto Escondido on the northern slope of Sierra de Bahorucos (in Loma Charco Azul Biological Reserve and Sierra de Bahoruco National Park), and near the village of Rio Limpio at the base of Nalga de Maco National Park on the lower northern slope of the Cordillera Central (L. Woolaver in litt. 2007). Both known populations are very small (likely to be fewer than 50 pairs at each site) (L. Woolaver in litt. 2007). Based on current knowledge, it is extremely localised, but there may still be other populations throughout the island, such as at El Tetero on the lower southern slope of the Cordillera Central on the edge of José del Carmen Ramírez National Park, where there have been convincing local reports (L. Woolaver in litt. 2007). Recently there have been records of individuals in the Anacaona National Park and in Sierra de Neiba National Park (Miguel Landestoy, pers. obs, 2014, A. Rothman in litt. 2016) and it is likely that small breeding populations remain at these sites (A. Rothman in litt. 2016).

Countries occurrence:
Dominican Republic
Possibly extinct:
Additional data:
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):Yes
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO):NoEstimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:880
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):YesExtreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO):No
Number of Locations:11-100Continuing decline in number of locations:Yes
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations:No
Upper elevation limit (metres):900
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:According to the species's 'Conservation Management Plan', if the localities at Rio Limpio and Puerto Escondido hold the only remaining populations, the total population can be estimated at no more than c.120-150 pairs.  This estimate could be increased to 335-400 pairs if expanded to include potential habitat along the northern slope of the Sierra de Bahorucos, and increased to 1100-1450 pairs if all historical localities have retained viable populations.  The population is therefore estimated at 120-1450 pairs, which equates to 360-4350 individuals and 240-2900 mature individuals (Woolaver 2008). Since there have been reliable but unconfirmed records outside the Rio Limpio and Puerto Excondido populations, it is considered unlikely that the actual figure lies at the lower end of this band, so the population has been set to 300-2900 mature individuals.

Trend Justification:  There are no new data on population trends; however, the species is likely to have undergone a rapid decline over the last ten years, owing to habitat loss and hunting. This decline may slow over the next ten years.
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals:300-2900Continuing decline of mature individuals:Yes
Extreme fluctuations:NoPopulation severely fragmented:Yes
No. of subpopulations:2-100Continuing decline in subpopulations:Yes
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations:NoAll individuals in one subpopulation:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:It is found from the lowlands to 900 m, and sometimes higher (Payne 1997). Its preferred habitat appears to be the narrow transition zone between dry forest and moist broadleaf forest, but it has also been reported from the arid lowlands, mixed pine and broadleaf forest, montane rainforest and even overgrown pasture in agricultural areas. It feeds primarily on lizards and insects (L. Woolaver in litt. 2007). Birds have a very short breeding season which appears to be closely tied to the onset of the wet season and a bloom of cicadas, which is by far the most abundant food item fed to nestlings (L. Woolaver in litt. 2007). Loose stick nests are built (3-11 m above the ground) in trees that have concealing epiphytes or leaves, and are active in May-April. Clutches of two eggs, greyish with a chalky white coating, are most common although a clutch of three has been recorded (L. Woolaver in litt. 2007).

Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Yes
Generation Length (years):3.8
Movement patterns:Not a Migrant

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Its decline is probably associated with deforestation for agriculture and charcoal production, habitat degradation through high levels of grazing, hunting for food, and possibly the use of agrochemicals. Habitat loss in the Sierra de Bahoruco has accelerated due to the development of commercial-scale agriculture (S. C. Latta in litt. 2016).  Climate change is likely to be impacting on moisture regimes in areas where the bird is found (A. Rothman in litt. 2016). Natural and human-caused fire is a threat to habitat in Sierra de Bahoruco, Loma Charco Azul and Nalga de Maco (A. Rothman in litt. 2016).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
It occurs in the Sierra de Bahoruco and Nalga de Maco National Parks (S. Latta in litt. 1998) and the Loma Charco Azul Biological Reserve (created in 2009) (A. Rothman in litt. 2016). It may also breed in the newly created (2012) Anacaona National Park (Ministerio de Ambiente y Recursos Naturales, 2014) and in Sierra de Neiba National Park (A. Rothman in litt. 2016). After the designation of Loma Charco Azul Biological Reserve in 2009 there has been natural regeneration and recuperation of habitat in areas where the species is found. This regeneration may provide additional habitat for population expansion. Additionally, improved patrolling and presence of park guards in the areas have reduced the threat of habitat loss from previous levels (A. Rothman in litt. 2016). A programme is underway to provide additional infrastructure, supplies and staff to improve management of Sierra de Bahoruco National Park and Loma Charco Azul Biological Reserve (A. Rothman in litt. 2016).  Around these reserves community education and awareness programs have begun, fire control infrastructure and planning has been improved, and guide training, tourism promotion and infrastructure development has occurred (A. Rothman in litt. 2016). 

Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct a thorough, targeted survey using tape-playback throughout its potential range during the breeding season. Confirm the presence of populations at El Tetero, Anacaona National Park and Sierra de Neiba National Park. Effectively protect Sierra de Bahoruco, Nalga de Maco and Anacaona National Parks and Loma Charco Azul Biological Reserve. 
Develop and implement improved agricultural practices in buffer zones to reduce pressure on protected area resources. In the Rio Limpio Area of Nalgo de Maco National Park a land tenure study has been proposed to understand current ownership and use of lands that may contain Bay-breasted Cuckoo habitat. Promote bird and nature tourism to areas where species is found as economic alternative. 
Assess the impact of habitat modification, hunting and agrochemicals. Initiate a community education and awareness programme in communities near remaining known populations. Continue research on the basic ecology of the species and determine territory sizes so as to more accurately estimate population sizes for this species and consider establishing a captive population for future reintroduction and supplementation efforts.

Amended [top]

Amended reason: Altered threat coding table.

Citation: BirdLife International. 2017. Coccyzus rufigularis (amended version of 2016 assessment). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T22684360A119421716. . Downloaded on 24 April 2018.
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