Hylocichla mustelina 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Passeriformes Turdidae

Scientific Name: Hylocichla mustelina
Species Authority: (Gmelin, 1789)
Common Name(s):
English Wood Thrush
Catharus mustelinus mustelinus Sibley and Monroe (1990, 1993)
Taxonomic Source(s): SACC. 2006. A classification of the bird species of South America. Available at: #

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): Cheskey, T.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Butchart, S., Ekstrom, J., Symes, A. & Taylor, J.
This species has been uplisted to Near Threatened on the basis of evidence that it has undergone a moderately rapid population decline over the past three generations.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Hylocichla mustelina is a widespread breeding visitor to the eastern USA and south-eastern Canada, wintering in southern Mexico and Central America, south to Panama.
Countries occurrence:
Belize; Canada; Colombia; Costa Rica; Cuba; El Salvador; Guatemala; Honduras; Mexico; Nicaragua; Panama; United States
Bahamas; Bermuda; Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba; Cayman Islands; Curaçao; Dominican Republic; Falkland Islands (Malvinas); Haiti; Iceland; Jamaica; Portugal; Puerto Rico; Saint Pierre and Miquelon; Sint Maarten (Dutch part); Turks and Caicos Islands; United Kingdom
Additional data:
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO):NoEstimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:1710000
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):UnknownExtreme 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):600
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:This species is characterised as common.

Trend Justification:  

Survey data obtained in the species’s breeding range indicate that its population is in decline. Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) data yield an average survey-wide yearly trend of -2.71% between 1999 and 2011, decreasing from an abundance index of 4.08 birds/route in 1999 to 2.86 birds/route in 2011 (Sauer et al. 2012). These results imply that the species underwent a c.30% decline over those 12 years (estimate of three generations). The trend between 1999 and 2011 appears to be part of a longer term negative trend overall, stretching back to 1966 at least, when the annual index was 8.03 birds/route (Sauer et al. 2012). The average survey-wide yearly trend from 1966 to 2011 is -2.22%. As with any broad-scale analysis of population trends, there are inherent uncertainties in the BBS trend data and analyses (Sauer et al. 2012), and given that the results imply a rate of decline that may just meet the threshold of a 30% decline over a three-generation period that does not equate to the past three generations (which would be 2001-2013), it is thought appropriate to estimate the overall rate of decline at 25-29% over the past 12 years until further evidence is obtained.

Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Continuing 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:This species breeds in the interior and edge of a variety of deciduous and mixed forest communities, preferring those with a moderate shrub/subcanopy layer and fairly open forest floor, shade, moist soil and decaying leaf litter (del Hoyo et al. 2005). On passage, the species frequents secondary growth and forest edge. In its non-breeding range, it occupies the interior understorey of humid to semi-humid broad-leaved evergreen and semi-deciduous forest and mixed palm forest, also occurring in secondary growth, low-stature forest, thickets and plantations. It feeds mainly on soil-dwelling invertebrates, and takes fruit from late summer to early spring. It breeds from early May to late August, with pairs typically raising two broods. It is predominantly monogamous, with rare instances of polygyny. Pairs bonds usually last for a single season. It is a long-distance nocturnal migrant, leaving its breeding areas in mid-August to mid-September and crossing the Gulf of Mexico on a broad front from Texas to Florida, and making landfall from Veracruz, Mexico to Costa Rica (del Hoyo et al. 2005).
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Unknown
Generation Length (years):4.1
Movement patterns:Full Migrant

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The primary threat to the species is likely to be the clearance and fragmentation of forests in both its breeding and non-breeding ranges, with pairs breeding in fragmented habitat suffering higher levels of nest predation and brood parasitism (del Hoyo et al. 2005). Acid rain is also thought to impact breeding success by leaching calcium out of the soil, which is necessary for healthy egg production (del Hoyo et al. 2005).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
This species has been the subject of targeted research and its population trends are captured through established survey programmes.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Continue to monitor population trends through established citizen science programmes. Investigate the possible causes of the decline. Carry out habitat restoration for the species. Increase the area of suitable habitat that receives formal and effective protection in both its breeding and non-breeding ranges.

Citation: BirdLife International. 2016. Hylocichla mustelina. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T22708670A94171564. . Downloaded on 24 February 2017.
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