Coccyzus rufigularis 


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Cuculiformes Cuculidae

Scientific Name: Coccyzus rufigularis
Species Authority: (Hartlaub, 1852)
Common Name(s):
English Bay-breasted Cuckoo, Rufous-breasted Cuckoo
Hyetornis rufigularis BirdLife International (2004)
Hyetornis rufigularis Sibley and Monroe (1990, 1993)
Hyetornis rufigularis Collar et al. (1994)
Hyetornis rufigularis BirdLife International (2000)
Piaya rufigularis rufigularis 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. Lynx Edicions BirdLife International.
Taxonomic Notes: Use of the genus Coccyzus follows AOU (2006).

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: 2013
Date Assessed: 2013-11-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S.
Contributor(s): Kirwan, G. & Woolaver, L.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Benstead, P., Isherwood, I., Mahood, S., Sharpe, C J, Wege, D.
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:
2012 Endangered (EN)
2008 Endangered (EN)
2004 Endangered (EN)
2000 Endangered (EN)
1996 Vulnerable (VU)
1994 Vulnerable (VU)
1988 Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Hyetornis 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 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 less 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).

Countries occurrence:
Dominican Republic
Possibly extinct:
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO): Yes
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO): No
Estimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2: 880
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
Upper elevation limit (metres): 900
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: The population is estimated to number 2,500-9,999 individuals based on an assessment of known records, descriptions of abundance and range size. This is consistent with recorded population density estimates for congeners or close relatives with a similar body size, and the fact that only a proportion of the estimated Extent of Occurrence is likely to be occupied. This estimate is equivalent to 1,667-6,666 mature individuals, rounded here to 1,500-7,000 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: 1500-7000 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

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).

Systems: Terrestrial
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, habitat degradation through high levels of grazing, hunting for food, and possibly the use of agrochemicals.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
It has occurred in four protected areas in the Dominican Republic, but there are recent records from only the Sierra de Bahoruco and Nalga de Maco National Parks (S. Latta in litt. 1998).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct a thorough, targeted survey using tape-playback throughout its potential range during the breeding season. Confirm the presence of a population at El Tetero. Effectively protect Sierra de Bahoruco and Nalga de Maco National Parks. 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.

Citation: BirdLife International. 2013. Coccyzus rufigularis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2013: e.T22684360A48137700. . Downloaded on 27 November 2015.
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