Mellisuga helenae 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Caprimulgiformes Trochilidae

Scientific Name: Mellisuga helenae (Lembeye, 1850)
Common Name(s):
English Bee Hummingbird
Calypte helenae helenae Collar et al. (1994)
Calypte helenae helenae BirdLife International (2000)
Calypte helenae helenae Stotz et al. (1996)
Calypte helenae helenae Collar and Andrew (1988)
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.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2016-10-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S. & Symes, A.
Contributor(s): Dalsgaard, B.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Benstead, P., Capper, D., Mahood, S., Sharpe, C J & Wheatley, H.
This species is classified as Near Threatened because it has a moderately small population that is declining moderately rapidly as a result of forest loss and degradation.

Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Mellisuga helenae is endemic to Cuba, with a patchy distribution including Habana, Sierra de Anafe, Guanahacabibes Peninsula, Zapata Swamp, Jucaro, Moa, Cuchillas del Toa, Sierra Cristal, Mayarí and the coast of Guantánamo (Raffaele et al. 1998, Garrido and Kirkconnell 2000) and formerly Isla de la Juventud. Although previously common and widespread, it is now rare and localised (Raffaele et al. 1998).

Countries occurrence:
Additional data:
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):Yes
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO):NoEstimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:218000
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):YesExtreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO):No
Continuing decline in number of locations:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations:No
Upper elevation limit (metres):1200
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:The global population size has not been quantified, but this species is described as 'uncommon' (Stotz et al. 1996).

Trend Justification:  There are no data on population trends; however, the species is suspected to be declining at a slow to moderate rate, as a result of forest degradation and destruction.
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals:UnknownContinuing decline of mature individuals:Yes
Extreme fluctuations:NoPopulation severely fragmented:No
Continuing decline in subpopulations:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations:NoAll individuals in one subpopulation:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:It is found primarily in dense forests and edge of woodlands with plenty of bushes (Raffaele et al. 1998, Garrido and Kirkconnell 2000). It feeds on relatively small specialized flowers (Dalsgaard et al. 2012). Nesting takes place between April and June (Garrido and Kirkconnell 2000).

Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Yes
Generation Length (years):4.2
Movement patterns:Not a Migrant

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The historic decline is principally the result of habitat modification and destruction (Raffaele et al. 1998). Much of Cuba's natural vegetation has been converted to cultivation and pasture for cattle, with only 15-20% of land remaining in its natural state (Perera and Rosabal 1986). The recent expansion of cacao, coffee and tobacco production poses a further serious threat (Dinerstein et al. 1995).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix II.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Enforce the protection afforded to the species by protected areas. Discourage further clearance of forest for agriculture, using the species as a figurehead. Monitor key populations.

Citation: BirdLife International. 2016. Mellisuga helenae. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T22688214A93187682. . Downloaded on 23 June 2018.
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