Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Columbiformes Columbidae

Scientific Name: Leptotila battyi
Species Authority: Rothschild, 1901
Common Name(s):
English Brown-backed Dove, Azuero Dove
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: Leptotila battyi has been widely treated as a separate species from either L. plumbeiceps or L. rufaxilla on the basis of its distinct call and very slight plumage differences (Wetmore 1968, Ridgely & Gwynne 1989, Baptista et al. 1997, Dickinson 2003). Although Stiles & Skutch (1989) and Gibbs et al. (2001) suggest little or no difference between the voices of plumbeiceps and battyi, we provisionally accept battyi as a species pending further work to determine the relationships between these taxa, rufaxilla and pallida.

Identification information: 25 cm. Medium-sized, brown dove. Grey crown, nape and throat. Chestnut-brown upperparts. Brown wings with blackish primaries and primary coverts. Brownish tail with white tips to outer two rectrices. Vinaceous underparts becoming white on belly. Dull red legs. Similar spp. White-tipped Dove L. verreauxi lacks grey crown, less brownish appearance and more white on outer rectrices. Call has same cadence but is deeper. Voice Typically mournful two-syllable cooing whoo-oooo repeated persistently.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable B1ab(i,ii,iii,v) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2012
Date Assessed: 2012-05-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S. & Symes, A.
Contributor(s): Angehr, G.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Benstead, P., Isherwood, I., Sharpe, C J, Taylor, J.
Habitat is declining in extent, area and quality in parts of this species's very small and fragmented range. It is close to being listed as Endangered, but is known from more than five locations and consequently only qualifies as Vulnerable.

Previously published Red List assessments:
2008 Vulnerable (VU)
2004 Vulnerable (VU)
2000 Vulnerable (VU)
1994 Lower Risk/near threatened (LR/nt)
1988 Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Leptotila battyi is restricted to the Pacific coast of west Panama, on the Azuero Peninsula and the islands of Cébaco and Coiba. In the 1960s, it was common on Coiba Island and subsequent threats have been minimal (Wetmore 1968, Angehr 1993, Baptista et al. 1997). It is uncommon and likely to be declining throughout the remainder of its range (Ridgely and Gwynne 1989).

Countries occurrence:
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO): Yes
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO): No
Estimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2: 1800
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO): Yes
Extreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO): No
Number of Locations: 6-10
Continuing decline in number of locations: Unknown
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 size is preliminarily estimated to fall into the band 10,000-19,999 individuals. This equates to 6,667-13,333 mature individuals, rounded here to 6,000-15,000 mature individuals.

Trend Justification:  The species's population is suspected to be declining slowly, in line with the on-going threats of habitat destruction and hunting.
Current Population Trend: Decreasing
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals: 6000-15000 Continuing decline of mature individuals: Yes
Extreme fluctuations: No Population severely fragmented: No
No. of subpopulations: 2-100 Continuing decline in subpopulations: Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations: No All individuals in one subpopulation: No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: It inhabits high forest and wooded swamps, and is apparently restricted to hilly areas on the mainland, but not on Coiba (Wetmore 1968, G. R. Angehr in litt. 1998). This difference is possibly explained by habitat destruction in the Azuero Peninsula lowlands extirpating the species in these areas, or the lack of competitors on Coiba, allowing an expansion of its ecological niche (Ridgely and Gwynne 1989, Angehr 1993).

Systems: Terrestrial
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): Habitat destruction and fragmentation, and hunting for food threaten this species (Ridgely and Gwynne 1989, Baptista et al. 1997, G. R. Angehr in litt. 1998). On the mainland the main causes of deforestation are clearance for subsistence cultivation and for cattle pastures (G. R. Angehr in litt. 2007). Since the closure of the Coiba penal colony, areas on the island formerly maintained for cattle and agriculture have been reverting to forest, increasing the area of suitable habitat there (G. R. Angehr in litt. 2007). Away from Coiba, most lowland areas in its range have already been deforested (G. R. Angehr in litt. 1998).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
Coiba is a national park protecting nearly 30% of this species's range. On the mainland, it occurs within Cerro Hoya National Park and El Montuso Forest Reserve (Angehr and Jordán 1998).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Carry out surveys to assess numbers within protected areas and identify additional sites requiring protection. Study the species's ecological requirements (Baptista et al. 1997). Assess the extent of habitat loss within protected areas and the region as a whole. Increase the area of suitable habitat that has protected status. Raise awareness of the species and its status in an effort to reduce hunting pressure.

Citation: BirdLife International. 2012. Leptotila battyi. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2012: e.T22690868A38949181. . Downloaded on 07 October 2015.
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